(PART 2 of 2)
Ben was one guy who just loved to make up acronyms and/or repetitive letters to remember things easier, like his four Hs = Humility, Honesty, Honor, and Hope (and Humor, as added by his Tanya, when she read her eulogy).
I still remember also his 5 Ms for a successful business to have: Money (or capital) Management, Manpower, Materials (logistics) and “Mansion” or a great ROI (rate of investment). For many of his friends and readers, Ben was known as a wordsmith who created many things out of the 26 letters of the alphabet. That is one of the things I will miss from his always active and prolific mind amidst his weakened heart.
When he semi-retired from his newfound love affair with AI (Artificial Intelligence) field that allowed him to travel extensively in many countries, I introduced him to my Asian Journal-San Diego publisher friends Genny and Sim Silverio and shortly thereafter he started penning his almost weekly columns “Take it from my Barber” and also on “Tech IT” (on technology) that made his mind always on high gear.
The many times that we were together both in his residence in Virginia or in our house in Southern California, our friendship and respect deepened because of common values and ideals on so many aspects of life in general. We talked about what kind of legacy we can leave to our world. Knowing his family and children — Tanya, Traci and Raul — at close range, without doubt, I can say that “ang bunga ay hindi mahuhulog na malayo sa puno” (the fruits will never fall far from the tree).
Unlike many of my friends and business associates, I don’t remember Ben and I ever discussing any business deals to get super rich. That was probably due to our humble beginnings in Pangasinan where our parents and grandparents were not materially driven except to get the best education that we can obtain within our means.
To end this unusual tribute to a dear compadre and soulmate, let me reprint what he wrote about two years ago, when he stayed with us for a few days at our Fountain Valley home. You can see and savor the flavor of his unique descriptive writing that comes from a sharpened provincial pen. That visit was the last time we saw each other, with my wife and my son EJ, his inaanak (godson) :
“….I also had a chance to see and meet old friends. My compadre (I am godfather to his only son, EJ) Ernie Delfin and his beautiful and forever young wife Benita, hosted me to a nice dinner. In fact, EJ who is a school teacher actually taught at my Alma Mater, Huntington Beach High School, as an American Field Scholar during my high school senior year. My Facebook updated status described my visit with them:
Yesterday, a welcome dinner for me was hosted by one of my closest friends, Ernie Delfin. The food was great but it was not what amazed me.
He brought me to his house for 36 years in Fountain Valley — only about 10-15 minutes from Huntington Beach. It was also the house where the late editor-publisher Max Soliven and I used to stay every time we came for a visit.
He showed the guest room which was renovated, for me to know that next time, I should stay with them as I used to. But again that was not what amazed me.
His front and backyards are only as small as mine in McLean, Va. This was what amazed me:
He was able to convert both into a combination of a little FARMYARD and floral garden. He planted and is producing the following:
A. VEGETABLES: Eggplant, Ampalaya, Kalabaza, Pipino, Leek, Kamatis, Kamote, Basil, different Mints and Herbs, Alugati, Malunggay, and a few more American salad vegetables that I cannot name.
B. FRUITS: Avocado, Guava, Banana (Saba), Persimmon, Papaya, Apple, Tangerines, Oranges, Grapes, Mango, and Palm trees.
C. FLORAL: Roses, Orchids, Arias, Annuals and Perennials, and hundreds of succulents.
Doesn’t that make you jealous? My friend, who has proven himself as a good CPA, an Innovative Entrepreneur, a Pioneer of E-Rotary, and a Patriotic Community Leader, is also an excellent Small Urban Farmer.
I ate some of the fruits we picked in the small farmyard for breakfast.”
What kind of a person can’t be touched by reading and savoring such a beautifully written essay, on a seemingly mundane or ordinary “farmyard” and human activity? As an insanely idealist like him, I am humbly moved and this is one reason that makes me sad that my compadre left this world so sudden. With his family, however, I want to remember and celebrate his life where he did his best to leave this world a better one than he found it.
Compadre BEN, you are one of a kind! I will never forget you! So, until we meet again in heaven and I promise you, together we will replicate our beautiful farm-garden in Paradise!
To you Compadre and those who you have left behind, HAPPY BIRTDAY, and yes, let me shout your signature Season’s Greetings: “ MALIGAYANG PASKO AT MAYNIGONG BAGONG TAON!”