The year was 1990 and I was a 10 yr old girl living in a whole new country called America. We had just recently moved to Hawaii from the Philippines and everything was still new to us. My mom was a housekeeper and my dad a cook both worked at the Embassy Suites hotel. They carpooled with co-workers each work day for the 1 hour drive each way. They worked hard, usually came home exhausted but never complained. One thing I distinctly remember about those times was day my dad got his first paycheck.
My dad always worked hard to provide for his family in the Philippines. He worked everyday by driving a jeepney around Manila and Pasay city to make sure that the bills were paid and there was food on our table. Money didn’t always come easily but sometimes he would let us bring in the cash box from the jeep and me and my two older brother’s will “kupit” (sneakily take) the change that fell between the seats. Talk about hard work and long hours for my dad but he never complained, he loved his job, his jeepney and his family.
Fast forward to the 1990, first paycheck in America…what’s a guy to do. Well, my dad took all of us to the bank and then we all went to the the one restaurant the kids agreed on, KFC! You see in the Philippines KFC, Mc Donalds and even Pizza hut was considered an American restaurant and getting to go to one was reserved for special occasion and so we didn’t really get go. So this was our chance, this was the first meal from the first paycheck my dad made, we were excited.
As our family of five walked into the KFC on Wakea Ave, we were greeted with the sweet smell of fried chicken and biscuits. We were all smiles and couldn’t wait to place our order. So when the lady behind the register asked my dad what we would like, he turned and asked us, “how many pieces can each of you eat?” Me and my brothers started counting out loud…If I can eat 3-4 pieces of Max chicken (Philippines’ version of KFC) and still be hungry then count me in for 5. My brothers must have said 6-7 pieces because next thing I heard was the lady was asking my dad if he was sure he wanted 5 buckets of 8-piece chicken each. He said yes, this was his treat and that his family can handle it. Yippee, he even let us order soda, this was going to be a great meal.
As we chit chatted about our day (work for them and school for us) my dad reminded us how we are truly blessed to be in America. How it might have taken us a long time to get here but we are here and that we are to never forget how good our life is. He reminded us how it might get hard being here in this land but if you aren’t lazy you will be ok. You see he is a man not short on life lessons…A few minutes into the conversation, the lady called my dad’s name for our order… When he got back up to the cashier I heard him laugh, then turned around and called for help. We all ran up and helped carry our own buckets of chicken. Five buckets of chicken back on the table with three grinning kids eager to dig in, we pause to say a prayer and proceed to open the bucket up. Oh my, we laughed, in fact we laughed so hard because we just now realized that the pieces of chicken in America is humongous compared to the Philippines. What the heck are these things called breast, that could feed an entire family. Long story short, i ate 2 pieces, my brothers maybe 6 pieces and both my parents another 4…Bringing our total to 12 pieces not 40. It was hilarious, a learning moment for sure but most importantly I saw my dad in a different light that day.
You see as my dad walked backed to our table I could sense his pride, his happiness over being able to provide more than enough for his family once again. He was proud to be able to pay for an entire meal for his family (ok, or like a village) with his hard earned money. Being a cook in a high end hotel restaurant isn’t easy, or desirable. The hours were sometimes long and the job itself was demanding, requires hours on your feet and of course that 2 hr drive each day. The pay wasn’t the best but none of that mattered, all that mattered right there at that moment was that we had way more than enough and that my dad was able to give that to us.
I am forever grateful for my dad for all the life lessons he has taught me. For the love and support he gives me. Thank you dad for without you and mom I would not be the person I am. Happy Father’s day daddy!
To my amazing husband,
Happy Father’s day…thank you for being more than what I prayed or hoped for. For being the dad my kids will tell story about one day. Thank you for being present in their lives, for providing for us and for all the unconditional love and support you give our kids. You are an exceptional man and for that I am grateful. Happiest of day to you hubs, I hope your kiddos spoil you!
There they are, the two most amazing dads i know. They do everything possible to be good fathers. I’m happy to say I had one growing up and my kids does too. I hope you all make it a great day. Wishing all the other dads, who are crushing it out there a very happy father’s day! Keep on being awesome and Thank you! Till next post!