How can you tell if a man really loves a woman?
Is it based on the number of years in their relationship?
Or the number of travels and adventures that they have done together?
Or the number of children they have produced?
How can we tell? How do we gauge it?
Do we have a standard barometer? Is there a way to grade it?
No one really knows. My best bet is hearing their stories.
I think that is one good way of measuring up.
Most of these love stories can only be found in movies, but if you look hard enough, some do happen in real life.
There this story of one ambitious young guy from Kalibo Aklan who joined the PMA (Philippine Military Academy) in hopes of getting a steady military career to help his family in the province.
That guy was Col. Leandro R. Isberto.
An Airforce pilot who fought during World War 2.
He also was Base Commander in Nichols Air Base (Villamor Air Base).
That guy was my Lolo (Grandfather).
During those times, he met Anita. The love of his life.
From the time that he saw her, he set to his mind that she will be his wife.
He sees his unborn children in her eyes. He’s assured he really loves that woman. And so that’s when they became sweethearts.
Their careers, family, and distance from together became a stumbling block to their once fairy tale story.
It was so fast and swift and by the time Leandro found out, Anita was engaged to another man. It wrecked him. It pillaged Leandro to the ground.
The love of his life is now gone! She is about to get married leaving him all alone.
Now, most guys who are an Airforce officer in their prime could easily replace any girl. After all, they are all like Tom Cruise in the movie “Top Gun”. They can easily get chicks anytime.
But Leandro is not one of them. He doesn’t want any chicks.
He wants his Lady. He wants the best of the best. The cream of the crop.
And so he waited and waited and waited.
He prayed and prayed and prayed.
He hoped and hoped and hoped.
Hoping for the impossible. Hoping for a miracle.
Then lightning struck. That miracle did happen.
Leandro heard the tragic news that the fiance of his precious Anita died (May God rest on his soul).
Upon learning the news. Leandro quickly got up on his feet and ran towards the love of his life.
Do you want to know what happened next?
Well, just like in the movies… they lived happily ever after.
They got married, produced 4 boys, which propagated to more grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
My Grandfather’s devotion to the love of his life is so overflowing that was felt by all members of the family circle.
Leandro’s have become the ideal role model for all of us boys.
Through him, we learned how to treat girls like a lady. How to treat them right.
I have been with Leandro and Anita during my formative years. I had front row seats to their romantic book novel. I was one of their avid spectators.
I remember the time when me and my wife had a quarrel. When we do fight, we really shout out loud that it reached the neighbors.
Anita (my Lola), would quickly climb up to our room to immediately put an end to our silly misunderstanding.
Anita even said to me this… “Francis, don’t shout at your wife! Your Lolo didn’t do that to me… Not even once”!
I was ashamed and embarrassed. I completely forgot who I am. Where I came from.
The genes that I inherited from my grandfather.
We should all be good branches that bear good fruits because we all come from one good source… one tremendous root.
My Lolo did really loved my Lola.
I witnessed some of their fairy tale love stories.
How they laugh together. How my Lolo escorted my Lola to their car before heading to hear mass.
How Leandro checks on his wife at night if she is fine before he goes to sleep.
It was always her first before him.
Even in their last few years on this earth… I still observed them scrupulously.
Their daily chats in the garden (even if their story are repetitive).
Even with all the wrinkles and dried skin, they are still so in love with each other.
They were always together.
So when Leandro passed away, that is when it became difficult for Anita.
We tried to please Anita. We really did.
We were able to make her do a “Half Smile” to her desolate face. But that’s about it.
We never saw the “Complete Smile” back when Leandro was still with her.
My Lola would always tell me this… “Francis, can you accompany me to the cemetery… I just want to see your Lolo”.
I can see that Anita really miss the gentleman from Kalibo who loved her unconditionally.
Yesterday was the Colonel’s 100th birthday.
We paid tribute and honor to the man who gave a huge influence to us all.
My Father, my uncles, my cousins, and soon my nephews and my 2 boys will emulate and follow Leandro’s lead.
I guess boys should get a point or two in Leandro’s fairy tale story.
Don’t settle for second best. Aim for the girl of your dreams. The one who will take your breathe away.
And when you have finally found someone… that’s the time that you will tell yourself that you have really — really-really ever loved a woman!