'EMMA' and remembering a horse called 'Furioso'

Buddy Gomez -- Cyberbuddy

Posted at Dec 29 2017 05:11 AM

First, it is time to say goodbye and time for hello!  

Another year gone by. A new one, a peek-a-boo away. It will do some good to look back before plunging into the challenges of 2018. Are we ready to part with what is past? Have we prepared for a new beginning?

“Out with the Old.”  Reflect. Rethink. Contemplate. Meditate. Plan. Promise. Resolve. These are the words commonly associated with and used during the remaining hours of an older year passing on. 2017. Followed by “In with the New.”  Resolve. Promise. Do Better. All in connection with every human endeavor and emotion that defined you yesterday and will inspire and prod you for 2018’s 365 days….and nights! 

Pastors, pundits, parents and playmates never run out of ideas and suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, there are dozens of lists to pick from. 

But old folks have a popular and common nostrum about looking back: “Ang hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paruru-onan!” ( He who knows not to look from whence he came will not make it to his destination!)  Reasonably contrarian that I tend to be, I say: “Ang laging nakatingin sa pinanggalingan, karaniwan ay nadadapa!” (He who always looks backwards, usually fall flat on his face!”)

What this twin seeming conundrum’s messages really mean is a useful year-round advice. Never let absolutes rule your day. Always leave an opening for possible beneficial alterations to life’s tempo. Develop a mindset that is prepared to change gears anytime called for. It has nothing to do with a propensity to be fickle-minded. It has all to do with being realistic. In other words, never say “never,”  because if there is something certain in life, it is “change.” Simply put: “Huwag matigas ang ulo!”  (Do not be hardheaded!”)

Here is list of what I have been able to cull (which I have also found useful in my past.)

1. Find a phrase that best describes, for you, the year just past.

2. What was the best thing you learned in tandem with what you will try not to let happen again?

3. What was the best use of your time in tandem with the most waste of time?

4. What was the best single happening in tandem with most infuriating event?

5. Do you have space for emotional, spiritual and physical growth. Think. Repeat. Resolve.

6. Set reasonable material goals.  Goal setting is a guide with periodic reviews.

7. Reflect on all of the above. No need to genuflect!

Furious becomes pleasant!

Unsolicited advice is usually cheap. Mine is inexpensive and I will not be hurt if unheeded. As an Octogenarian, I am still able to take pride in not having lost the gait, poise and balance of  my exuberant youth.  Nonetheless, I remind myself  daily that my days of good posture, perky stride and wiry disposition are now numbered.  There is nothing vain about an  attempt to prolong good health. A universal  recommendation for a life of moderation and a diet of veggies with lots of fiber is never hurtful. Most important of all is to  ever be  mindful that our mind is functioning at good tilt and speed. “Alz” in old age is a frightful prospect. The thought of dementia is dreadful. Alive but without memory is already a frightening absence of life while still breathing!  Is avoidance possible?  Postponement, in the least!  There are legions who do not descend to an abyss of extreme memory loss, you know! We can all achieve conscious alertness. We can be alive, kicking and thinking till we draw last gasp!

Let me share with you a formula I call EMMA! My EMMA is an ‘exercise in memory and mental association!’  Here is an illustration of a real happening just a few days ago.

I was furious! Furious as in  really angry. Angry at Donald Trump. Angrier at Duterte. The word  ‘furious’  (I read it used in an opinion piece and was yet fresh) turned into a memory about “Furioso.” That was easy enough. I was reminded of a  horse named “Furioso,” in a movie I saw in the long past but whose title I no longer recall.

Almost instinctively, I associated  “Furioso” with a mustachioed Hollywood star named Don Ameche, all in my mind’s eye!  But beyond remembering a movie I was brought along to see when I was just beginning to be consciously remembering--the beginnings of being impressionable, that was all. It was an air-conditioned theatre, I wore a sweater. I must have been 5 or 6, in pre-WW II Manila. That was all that I could remember! Impressionable I must have been, remembering a horse called Furioso! And just because I was furious!

Now an inveterate ‘googler,’ I consulted cyberspace and typed in “ Furioso” and out came photos of race horses. No soap!  I added “Don Ameche,”  and voila!--the movie:  “Down Argentine Way.” Starring Don Ameche, with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda.  Now, I remember even more!

By association, I remembered an old friend (bless her) Guada Robbins, from my Ayala days. She was one of the original Flight Attendants of Philippine Air Lines. She married an airline pilot, had a daughter, Marissa, who I met in San Francisco in the early1980s. Guada ran a successful travel agency before Martial Law. That was when I associated with her. See how my mind is trending?

And why do I bring these up? Because when Guada was much, much younger and known as Guadalupe Renteria (her maiden name), she briefly appeared in “stage shows” – vaudeville, during the Japanese occupation. She was billed as the Philippine version of “Carmen Miranda.” There you go! 

Already as an adult, I had read about it in old  wartime Manila newspapers. I don’t think Guada performed her “Carmen Miranda” at the Avenue theatre along Avenida Rizal where Lamberto Avellana produced his “Jamboree” series. Then I thought of the other movie house that staged Vaudevilles. Was it the Savoy or the Strand (same theatre) at the foot of Sta. Cruz (now MacArthur) bridge. By association, I remember that moviehouse  was later called “Cine Bataan” until it became Clover of recent memory. This moviehouse has had the most number of name changes!   

That was where I saw “You are Always in my Heart” starring Gloria Warren, then a teenage singing heartthrob. I can even hear the melody as I write. (You see how remembering by association makes the mind work?)  BTW, the theme song was a very popular hit in Manila during the late 40s.

You see what I mean? Give it a shot, folks.

Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year to y’all!!!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.