Por AtrásTuesday, May 28, 2013
My favourite uncle was Luís Miranda. We weren’t related that closely. He was first cousin, twice of my maternal grandfather. Miranda was a chemist who brought Coca Cola to the Philippines. When the Japanese army was about to occupy Manila he told his wife, “No Jap is going to drink my beer.” At the time he was the chief chemist for San Miguel beer. He went to the plant and did some extensive sabotage. I never asked my Uncle Luís if the Japanese found out. What I do know is that the Japanese high command took possession of his house for their headquarters for the duration of the war.
My uncle had a strange sense of humour and an off the wall attitude towards things. He told me he hated to go to the beach because sand got into his shoes.
But more into the reason why I am citing him in this blog was his habit of smiling when people read him poetry out loud. At the end of each line he would say one of two things, randomly, “por adelante,” or “por atrás.” In English that’s from the front or from the back. You can imagine that just about any poetry would become quite racy if this man (he had flexible digits so that he would point and only bend the first part of his long index finger) uttered those two seemingly innocuous statements.
Here are some scans of flowers that normally I would not get that close. I would for the mystery deep red Gallica I purchased from Robin Dening from Brentwood Bay Nursery on Vancouver Island. I lost the label and Dening has been unable to ID my plant.
Here is a scan of the mystery Gallica “por atrás”. The other scan is of a fallen petal of one of the 7 original rhododendrons in our garden that were there (and still are) when we moved into our house in 1986. They are mostly lurid coloured hybrids with no scent (except for Rhododendron luteum). This one is pink and it blooms profusely about now.