Farming

How I Developed a Heart Condition

(Except otherwise explained, the characters in the story are farmhands in my grandparents’ Argo Farms in Bgy. San Isidro, Bacon, Sorsogon.)

Last Thursday there was an incident at the farm which was triggered by Peter’s wife dropping by in the late afternoon. I asked Tia if she was a frequent visitor and she told me that she was; that in fact, she had developed the habit of taking showers at the farm outhouse. The farm has two bathrooms. One is used by family and guests; the other is an outhouse but I had running water installed. But since Tia lives nearby and the rest of our farmhands are male, I don’t allow them to use the outhouse for bathing, since the water from the tap is stored in a water tank that is filled by an electric pump. We have two manual water pumps that they can use for bathing. I even let them do their house laundry as long as they don’t use water from the tank.

Tia turning over our compost pit for our earthworms

I told Peter (who was on duty last week) that he is not to allow the same thing to happen again. In the first place, his wife was not an employee. Secondly, as the person on duty, he was responsible for seeing to it that rules and regulations were carried out. I told him that he had abused his authority and worse, he did it in plain view of the other farm hands. I didn’t know that his wife was still there. She must have overheard our conversation. A few minutes later, I heard some shouting and it turned out to be her, turning to Peter Paul since she couldn’t shout at me – which made me very pissed. I told her to leave and never show her face to me again. I also told Peter if she ever comes back, I would fry his sorry ass. To cut the story shorter, Peter had a powwow with Tia whom he accused of telling on him. Tia – who’s a bit of a drama queen – left in a huff. I didn’t go to the farm on Friday. On Saturday, payday, I was excitedly planning lunch (paksiw na pata) and merienda (goto). I had left instructions for Tia to boil the trepilla but when I opened the freezer the trepilla was still there, more frozen than Antarctica, which was the first sign of trouble. Trepilla – Antarctica, me – meltdown. Tia had not reported for work because she was waiting for her big scene. The pili nuts had not been attended to, were piling up and smelling to high heavens. Mike, our painter and construction laborer, had an accident on his bike the day before. I was two farmhands short. At ARGO Farms, especially during coconut harvest, when you’re a farmhand short it means there are urgent jobs that are shelved.

Peter and Tia, when they’re not in a soap opera

The situation was furthermore exacerbated by the nondelivery of feeds. Feeds are delivered only on Fridays but I was informed by Peter that he had not received any. As it turns out the driver of the delivery truck who for some reason hated driving into the farm (it’s about half a kilometer from the main road), dumped our feeds at Mulo Esquillo’s, the man who buys our coconuts, and has a station across our gate. I took to the phone and berated the agent. This was the third time their driver pulled the same stunt. Oh, and when I got to the farm at 8:05, the coconut harvesters were just preparing to leave – meaning they had been dilly-dallying for an hour.

I had Tia fetched. Andy came back and said she would talk to me later. I sent Andy back and told him I wanted to deal with her that instant. Andy came back with Tia. She was shaking with fear and anger at Peter, so I called Peter in and we all had our dramatic moment. But as they were threshing out their issues, I heard Peter telling Tia “Some friend you are, that in the middle of a situation, if Managera suffers a heart attack, you leave us to deal with it!”

Huh? Wait a minute, what heart attack? Who told you guys I had a heart condition?

Tia, at a loss, says “But Cha Sonia (my mother) told me that you did. Sabi niya pagpasensyahan ka daa kun nangingisog ta may helang ka daa sa puso… (she said that we shouldn’t make you angry because you had a heart ailment.)” I hate to admit it, but I left it right there.

My mother, when she’s not hatching up evil plots

The farm drama played out, Tia and Peter made up, and, according to my mother,  I had a  heart condition.

I don’t know why my mother makes up these stories. But when I asked her whatever made her blurt out such a ridiculous lie, she just laughed at me and said I ought to be grateful. “See, your farmhands are scared of making you angry.”

Meet my mother, the scriptwriter.

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