LAS VEGAS: It may look incongruous but Christmas is well celebrated in this Sin City although it’s noticeably more on the material side.
Christmas is a national holiday in the United States although there’s an increasing number of Americans who don’t want religion to make any incursions in national affairs. I was in Jacksonville, Florida more than a year ago when somebody filed a petition before the courts seeking to stop the conducting by a pastor of prayers before the start of classes every Monday.
Choirs of public schools in Nevada and, I believe, elsewhere in the US, are prohibited from singing Christmas carols or holding Christmas concerts. The cross in public cemeteries is no longer allowed. Yet, for all the seemingly “politically correct” stance on religion, Christmas in the Sin City remains a season for giving and sharing.
There are sales galore here although the post-Christmas sales could rival the Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving Day. I’m among the lucky ones for my daughter Irene, a registered pharmacist working at Walgreen, gifted me with a brand new IPhone6 plus. My niece Edna Pascua, a nurse working in New York who‘s vacationing here, gave me an Otter case for my IPhone cell phone. I should be very happy but the fact is, I’m a low-tech guy and I don’t know much about handling a smart phone. At the moment, I’m having my hands full downloading as many apps as possible. And, for the first time, I’ve joined Facebook. Well, it’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks.
Incidentally, among my friends in FB are former Senators Edgardo Angara and Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Sen. Nancy Binay, Bossman Klink Ang, our news editor Leena Calso and several media men and relatives whom I haven’t seen for a long time.
My grandson Joshua, 8, got three Transformer toys and ignored a fourth gift – a box of chocolates. He said he prefers toys, much to the delight of my grand-daughter Yen-Yen, 10, who immediately partook of the goodies. We didn’t go out on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day but we will definitely go to the Outlet this weekend for the year-end sales.
For a number of years, I had been giving a gift of myself to others who may not even know me. Before, during this season, I used to donate blood to the Philippine Red Cross. I was a Blood Galloner and I must have contributed more than three gallons of my blood. My blood donor’s cards used to be given to beneficiaries of Operation Damayan of the Philippine STAR when I was still with that newspaper. When I was given a grant by the Australian Development Assistance Bureau to go to Sydney, I also donated blood to the Australian Red Cross. I had hoped that my blood would be given to an Aussie as a token of my gratitude to the Australian government. I had also been donating blood here in Las Vegas, but I stopped when I had a stroke and had to take a blood-thinner for medication. It’s with heavy heart that I could no longer donate blood but I could still help society in any way I can.
Speaking of helping others, I find the work of several religious persons very inspiring. There’s Sr. Lorenz of Marie Villa along Aurora Blvd. in Quezon City whose facility has been giving shelter to abandoned children and to unwed mothers. I came to know of Sr. Lorenz thru by sister, Manang Myrla, who has been helping solicit contributions in the Netherlands for Marie Villa. My sister is also giving a hand to the maintenance of a school for special children in our hometown. Lupao, Nueva Ecija.
While we are talking about helping hands, allow me to mention my eldest sister, Manang Nelly, who has been in numerous medical missions in our hometown and elsewhere in the Philippines, including Naga, and Davao. Incidentally, Manang Nelly, a retired nurse, is the first and only Filipino nurse to receive the Frist Humanitarian Award from the Hospital Corporation of America. An awardee is picked every year from among the employees of the more than a thousand hospitals all over the United States operated by the HCA. Oh yes, Manang Nelly, and I hope you wouldn’t mind my adding this info, is also president of the Milpitas (California) Executive Lions Club.
After almost one whole year of belly-aching over the misgovernment by President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, it feels good to be writing about something positive. I hope the president will give us something positive to be thankful of in the coming year.