Blushes of Cool Cucumber


Last Sunday was travel with 10-year-old grandson Xian Bengwayan, son of Baguio City Secretary Atty. Brenner Bengwayan, to Buguias Municipality for the youngster to compete in the Japan Karate Association (JKA) tournament, held at Loo National High School.

Xian’s mom, uncles and aunties were left at home scratching their eyes, biting their nails, chewing their lips and wondering if the kid had the grit to do it. Xian successfully broke through the tournament, snatching two bronze medals.

It was also an opportunity brushing shoulders with mayor Ruben Tindaan of Buguias. There was also Danny Maliones, from La Trinidad, Benguet, who served as one of the tournament’s judges.

One trait separates mortals like Caesar Kapawen, head of JKA, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Baguio, mayor Tindaan and Danny Maliones.

For most of their lives, they possess a dedicated zeal of instilling good manners and right conduct to countless young people, who would have otherwise strayed off to obstinate paths have they not been guided.

One can easily discern from Caesar Kapawen, mayor Tindaan and Danny Maliones, their being tempered with good humor, happy temperament, warm heart and cool head.

It’s been said, any mortal who can cause a single blade of grass to grow where none grew before, is a public benefactor. Very much entitled, this honorable distinction, to the three, who sow the seed and gather a perfect harvest of good and upright people.

Delving into these good traits, one can’t help thinking if we can’t attain these qualities, we might as well be “cool as cucumber” or blush for not being cool.

Talking about blushing, what a mysterious thing this blush is.

Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.

That single word, a look or a thought should send the inimitable red tinge over the cheek, like the soft tints of a Cordillera summer sunset!

Strange, too, that it’s only the face – the human face –  be it handsome, beautiful or homely, that’s capable of blushing. Why the Almighty willed it so, we gotta pray and seek for his answer. For it’s said, “seek, and we shall find.”

When God answers, saying, “You foolish mortals, you esking toooo many questions,” we pester him still, foolish mortals that we are, ‘til He gets tired of our pestering and blush in the face to answer our query.

Only humans blush. It requires an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to make us believe that any animal could blush.

But you ask: do old folks blush?  Well, it’s said the young blush more freely than the old. So what does that mean? It means old people – forgetful that we are –  have simply forgotten how to blush.

Women blush more than men, and not nearly so rare to see an old woman blushing.

But it’s rare to see old men blush. Mebbe old men get red in the ears for angriness, instead of being cool as cucumber. But blushing old men? Very doubtful.

Now, you ask questions again. Do politicians blush? Do politicians ever experience blushing? For Christ’s sake!  Why ask me those? Ah Kong ain’t no politician Mebbe we better direct such questions to my manong, Baguio City mayor Mauricio Domogan.

As if you’re asking, do priests blush, too? That, we direct the question to Fr. Alejandro Abad.

Ay-yay, yay! You really esking tooo many questions!

The hand, foot or neck doesn’t turn red with shame or modesty, any more than a glove, sock or scarf which covers it.

Could we say then, it’s the face which is the heaven of the soul? Well, we could. Since in the face maybe traced the intellectual phenomena, with a confidence amounting to a moral certainty.

So, if we can’t blush, we may as well be “cool as cucumber.”

Look at the cucumber. However much this curiously constructed plant is neglected to be explained, it’s otherwise digested as food. That cucumbers rise in judgement for those who voraciously devour them, cannot be denied.

Ladies are known to eat them with more sweetness than other fruits, and every bite they take, seems to increase the zest.

Cucumbers are like us. The grow and expand in the sunshine of their exuberance, and turn, in well-rounded periods, at every point.

Considerable interest is connected with how cucumbers grow; for, while they are unlike most of their garden companions, they resemble them in a like fondness of hiding in ambush till they are revealed, temptingly not to be gathered yet, while possessing a bloom to be coveted.

Temper of the cucumber is of the most amiable kind, inasmuch as they are united with all sorts of vegetable and fruits. It softens the acerbity of the satiric vinegar, gives an essence of utility to salt, and appropriately receive the spicy spots of pepper, without being exasperated into passion, unlike many of us who often explode to anger.

Cucumbers are cool creatures under the sun. One can compare a cucumber with Manong Reynaldo Yawan, a government retiree, from Baguio City, devout church-goer and likes a clean joke.

“Rey,” as fondly called,” may not be able to blush. But without batting an eyelid, and cool as cucumber, he has commandments for husbands to must follow if we are to win the words “public benefactor” and blush like maidens.

First commandment: Thou shalt have no other wife but one – and only one.

Second: Thou shalt not take into thy house any beautiful brazen image of a woman, to bow down to her and serve her, for thy wife is a jealous wife, etc., etc…

Three: Thou shalt not take the name of thy wife in vain.

Four: Remember to keep thy wife respectably.

Five: Honor thy wife’s mother and father.

Six: Thou shalt not fret.

Seven: Thou shalt not find fault with thy wife, for the breakfast, lunch or supper.

Eight: Thou shalt not smoke or chew tobacco, or chew momma.

Nine: Thou shalt not be behind thy neighbor.

Ten: Thou shalt not visit any public drinking tavern, and covet thy tavern’s rum, whisky, gin, beer, brandy, or any kind of alcoholic drink.

Eleven: Thou shalt not visit any billiard hall.

Twelve: Thou shalt not stray into any bawdy dance hall.

Thirteen: Thou shalt not stray in any gambling dens and covet the heaps of money or thirty pieces of silver.

And, last commandment: Thou shalt not stay out later than 9 o’clock at night, without valid reason.

Cool as cucumber, one who has the proper command of himself/herself, who can keep down the fires of his/her disposition and converse coolly with others, when others are irritated, is your true philosopher.

Like many of us, a cucumber sometimes runs out of belief. But like a healthy child after a good night sleep, it is the fresher when taken out of bed, or from the refrigerator. Nothing so welcome, so inviting to peel and munch –  when the spirits are uninspired –  as a cool cucumber.

To the young, particularly those who are entering upon the threshold of existence and who know little of the thousand perplexities of human life, we would advise, keep a strict watch over your passions.

What a blessing it is when we can regulate our temper.

How many animosities and heart burnings would it save us; how many friendships would be preserved and what a deal of fellowship, that is now wasted, might be concentrated and gathered in a worldly comfort.