During recess time when I was in my first grade, it was a custom of our group composed of five boys, to meet and tell different stories ranging from horror to fantasies and many more. However, in one of our sessions, one specific topic came out. Who is the best driver among our fathers?
One of my friends boasted that his father can drive different types of vehicles from motorcycle to big trucks. Wow! His father was very skillful I told to myself. The other one trying not to be outwitted by the first had told the group that his father can drive very fast like a F1 car racer. Just like the famous Aryton Senna? (Michael Schumacher was not yet popular during that time.) How wonderful his father was as I whispered it to my mind. My two remaining friends followed through and presented the magnificent driving skills of their fathers.
When it was my turn now to tell my father’s achievement as a driver I ran out of words. What will I tell them? Every time I am with my father he never drives fast. I have never even seen him driving different vehicles because he was a family driver and always used an old jeep as his service. Very rarely, he will try to overtake other vehicles when he was on the highway. To cut it short, for me my father was just an ordinary driver - nothing special about him! And I told that to my friends but with little sadness in my heart.
Time has passed and I was already on my third grade. One day when we were traveling on South Expressway going to Manila, (we live in Lipa, Batangas just two hours away from the capital) I urged my father to overtake the vehicles in front of us. But it seems he did not hear my plea or it was just that he really does not want to listen. Several minutes had gone I felt bored already but what will I do? My father is a no-special driver! Once again I felt that desolation in my heart. The next thing I did was to remain quiet, though I cannot hide the frustration on my face.
"there is always a time for us to accelerate and a time to decelerate…"
Just when I was about to go to sleep due to boredom, all of a sudden my father stepped on the clutch, changed gear and pressed the gas accelerator. One by one we overtook all the vehicles in front of us until nothing left but our vehicle on the road. I was startled and the same time shocked with the sudden turn of events.
As he now drives with the normal speed of 40 km/h, I saw a smile on his face and we continued with our travel.
Moments later he said to me,” you know son, there is always a time for us to accelerate and a time to decelerate. When to do it, is opt to you to decide, as long as it will be for the best of your interest and for the good of all.” I have kept those words into my mind and into my heart from thereon.
By that time I was a struggling Grade three student. But with those words coming from my father, I started to gain grounds in my academics and finished on top of my class when I graduated in Grade six and the youngest of the batch at age 11.
The momentum of that one special moment never stopped there. I was able to finish high school and college despite meager financial budget but with lots of inspiration coming from my parents.
At present I am teaching High School Physics in a very prestigious school in our place. And every time this topic about force and motion is being discussed I will always remember that one moment with my father that somehow changed the course and bearing of my life.
A driver who rarely press the vehicle horn when driving…
but uses his mind, eye and feet speed coordination very well.
A father who frequently drives vehicle with a turtle-like attitude…
but with reserved formula one skill.
A father that I once was thought to be no-special…
but unknowingly the greatest driver of them all!
This 24th of June 2011 we celebrated his second death anniversary.
He spent almost all his entire life driving on the road. But never in his lifetime has he forgotten to set the route that his children need to travel.
Bon voyage “Tatay” as you continue with your journey in the next life. We all miss you.