Sometime in late December last year, our high school batch came together for a reunion. For many of us, it was the first time we had seen each other again since graduation day. From all over the Philippines, North America, and Australia, more than twenty of us, almost the entire batch, trekked back to the place where we spent most of our waking hours for ten of the most formative years of our lives.
It was a notable event in many ways; I’ll tell the story some other time. Suffice to say that it would not have happened if not for our class president, Amerlon Enriquez. He’s now a physician specializing in pulmonary and sleep disorders, based with his family in Iowa.
You can take the boy out of the Philippines, but you can’t take the Philippines out of the boy. Amer might live and work in America, but his heart and soul are pure Pinoy and will remain so. Memories of school days played a sentimental arpeggio on his heartstrings, and, recalling a milestone for our batch was nigh, took time from his busy schedule to organize a reunion.
After rounding up as many stray sheep as he could, this shepherd cajoled, guided, asked, reminded, and pleaded with classmates to prepare for the event. (He didn’t scold – he’s too nice to do that.) It was a huge undertaking, involving much effort on the part of the Manila-based organizers and expense on those abroad who flew over. It took a year or so, but Amer pulled it off.
I knew there was a reason we landslide-voted him class president – every single school year.
Finally we come to the point of this post. Amer and his wife Eva’s pasalubong for me, when they came to Manila last December, was a custom-made fountain pen.
The pen comes in this handsome pine box. A ‘Q’ is laser-cut into the lid, with a backing of etched plastic inserted into the other side.
Inside was the maker’s card and a pack of ink cartridges. The pen was made by Rob Beers of Quill and Nib in West Des Moines.
The pen is hefty; the metal trim is engraved with lovely detail. Grape leaves adorn both bands.
Grapes cover the clip.
With care, the pen will last many lifetimes, to be passed on to my daughters and their children to come, along with the story that goes with it. For the pen is more than iridium and resin and plastic; is a sign of that which is greater and stronger – the friendship, the concern, and the love of the Enriquez family. For that, they have my endless gratitude and the blessings of a friend who wishes them the best of everything always.