While my father used his paternal advantage against his easily-embarrassed offspring, my mother provided more than enough unintentional retribution for anything he ever did (and will do in the future, for that matter). The following tale takes place in 2003, at a time when I was becoming less ashamed of, and thereby more amused by, my parents’ shenanigans.
After coming home from my first trip to New England, I was greeted by my father’s alarmed announcement that my mother intended to hang a burning pentagram under the carport.
“It is not,” my mother protested. “My friend brought it back from The Philippines.” Her tone suggested that we ought to have been mollified by this fact.
“Was it a gift?” my father asked.
“I paid fifty bucks.”
My father was aghast. “You paid for that?”
By now, I had grown impatient to see what the fuss was about. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when my mother returned with a giant package that contained the infamous star. I wasn’t amused, either. It looked like a giant, fuzzy pentagram with tassels. We lived in a religious neighborhood.
“You can’t hang this outside,” I said.
Annoyed, my mother insisted that we were overreacting. She explained that the star, called “Parol”, symbolized the Star of Bethlehem. It was meant to be hung inside a church above the altar near a window, so that the light from above would shine through the Parol and onto the altar.
“You hung that in a church??” My father had heard everything now.
“Yes!” my mother said. “Now help me put it up!”
Knowing he was not going to win this battle, my father sighed and brought out a chair for my mother to stand on but offered no additional assistance. I helped by snapping the following photograph:
Moments later, my mother flipped a switch, and the Parol lit up with orange flickering lights. The three of us stood back and reflected upon the sight of it, my mother proud of her handiwork and probably reminiscing about the altar of her hometown church bathed in the light of God streaming through a Filipino Star. My father and I, on the other hand, were left wondering how we were going to explain this to our friends and neighbors.
Happy 2019, everyone!