Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Brief Tribute to Papang (1929-2012)

Arsenio Acob (1929-2012)

I just found out about Papang's death earlier this morning.  Although I (as has much of the Acob extended family) have been preparing for this moment for weeks, there is still a level of shock and devastation.  Our family has now entered a new phase, with new challenges and responsibilities as we move forward.  But as I deal with my grandfather's death, I am reminded of some experiences that will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

An hour or so before my cousin Omar's wedding some years ago, I realized while changing into my suit that I was missing my necktie, which was apparently moved to another bag at a relative's home.  Being that there weren't neckties readily available, and not to mention I was going to be performing some music soon, it was a bit of an awkward situation - and I didn't have my car with me.  "Come on, we'll go get it," said a willing voice.

It was Papang, of all people.   So he drove me back to Wapato to retrieve the tie.  I realize now that Papang had seized the opportunity to hang out with me.  He and I maximized that time together, asking each other questions about life and music.  With me living in Seattle, I was one of the grandkids that he saw the least, and so it was good to catch up a bit.  Papang had turned an awkward situation into a bonding opportunity.

Years before that, during a Christmas celebration, there arose a situation in which one of Papang's sons dejectedly walked out of his home that night after a glass gift accidentally crashed to the ground.  It was a weird situation, and some of the family didn't handle it well.  I walked out to the back porch, and there was Papang comforting his son, unconditionally with a smile.  No words were spoken - the presence and agape love spoke volumes about his faith, and it is an image that will remain with me.

As much as our extended family has grown and prospered, there are inevitably imperfections.  But Papang led by his example and leadership, by turning bad situations into opportunities for victory.  That's just one of his many legacies, but it is the one that will resonate with me the most.

David Wu
15 March 2012