16 Nov2015

I was on hiatus. And as the days and weeks passed, it seemed easier not to get back to the blog and post one of the many entries I have photos and material for… I have recently felt that social media has gone just a bit too far, and my instagram posts of food (along with those of billions of others) just reduce things to a millisecond of attention, rather than the longer posts more common on the blog. I feel we all have such shortened attention spans, and while it’s nice to have everything so instant, I wonder about the lack of depth. At any rate, I was mulling all this when I got the following email from the daughter of long-time reader/commenter “Silly Lolo”…

Dear Marketman,

Hello! My name is Veronica Montes, and I’m the daughter of the late, great Norman Delfino Montes or, as he was known on your blog, “Silly Lolo.” This message is long overdue; I’ve started to write it many times in my head, but getting to the keyboard was another matter altogether. It is now more than 2 years since Dad passed away, but my heart is still cracked wide open, and tears spring to my eyes at the smallest provocation. I’m typing through them now.

Dad was hilarious, as you well know, and today for some reason I was especially missing his hijinks and kooky sense of humor. I was thinking of how infuriated he would be that California’s crab season has been ruined by some horrible thing in the water (an acid of some sort, I believe), and of the long conversations we would have had about it. I once found him outside our house racing live crabs down our garden path as my then 3-year-old twins screamed with delight. Then, of course, he came inside to cook the crabs, and the screams were no longer ones of delight! He thought that was pretty funny.

I know that Dad’s “voice” has been just a Google search away—all I had to do, after all, was type in “silly lolo” + “market manila”—but until today I hadn’t been able to bring myself to actually look. I’m so happy I did. When I finished reading through all of the comments he made on your blog (was he not the most insane person ever?!) and all of the responses to his comments, I knew I couldn’t put off writing to you any longer.

Thank you. Thank you for the wonderful Market Manila and for indulging my sweet, peculiar father and his ribald sense of humor. You may have surmised by now that his appearance at Market Manila coincided with the beginning of his often quite painful end. He lived vicariously through your photographs and writing (increased to jumbo size on his computer, of course), and was thrilled by the online camaraderie supplied by you, Betty Q, Connie, Lee, Artisan Chocolatier, and the others. I think you all increased the length of his life by at least a year with your invitation to an epic feast in Cebu. He was SO excited. He planned in earnest and fantasized quite a bit before he gave in to the reality of his failing health. In a more perfect world, I would have brought him myself, and I think I may even have let him eat what he wanted! My mother, though, requires my daily care, so it just wasn’t possible.

In case you’re curious, I’ll tell you just a little about Dad: he was smart and kind, generous and wise—truly the best father and lolo anyone could ask for. He loved my mother, Frank Sinatra, food, and family. He was a fisherman, a maker of model airplanes, and a builder of boats and cars. He had impeccable penmanship. He watched the nightly news, football, the Indy 500, and the Tour de France. He was addicted to shoes, outerwear, and magazines—addictions that he passed on to his three children. Also, he was a big fan of M&M’s.

My best to you and your readers, Veronica p.s. Here is a link to one of my favorite photos of Silly Lolo: Link here.

The email smacked me hard on the face, almost with the force of a fishpan. A sense of loss for someone I have never met, but who certainly felt like family. Over the years, I have received several poignant emails, but these ones to let me know that a reader has passed away (I actually knew this a few months after it happened, as another reader, Ley had written in to let me know) are the most difficult to read.

Over the years, the marketmanila community has been, by many measures, a rather formidable one. Intelligent, wry, humorous, sharing, tolerant, intolerant, cosmopolitan, international, generous, funny and so much more. I have been remiss recently, and haven’t kept up posts to keep the conversations going. But this email from Veronica certainly makes me want to write again, despite all the other commitments and distractions. Even if only for a small audience. But a quality audience.

Thank you, Veronica, for your email. And please accept our deepest condolences, despite the passage of a couple of years time since Silly Lolo passed away. I am quite certain that your father is making folks laugh where he is today and I hope he watches over your mother, you and your family with the same love and respect that you so clearly display for him.

Note: To readers, I requested permission from Ms. Montes to publish her email. And while I offered to remove names, she was quite happy to leave them all in, so everyone would know who “Silly Lolo” was…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Chinky says:

    I often wondered why Silly Lolo had been missing from the comments section in a while. Will say a prayer for him. Thanks for sharing his daughter’so letter.

    I’ve tried checking out your Instagram posts, but I still prefer leisurely reading your blog at the end of a busy day.

    Nov 16, 2015 | 9:19 pm

     
  2. Guia says:

    We miss you, Silly, Lolo. You have been resting in peace.

    Nov 16, 2015 | 10:18 pm

     
  3. Esquire says:

    Silly Lolo’s comments were among that stood out and always put a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing this, MM and Veronica. I said a little prayer for Silly Lolo and family.

    Nov 16, 2015 | 10:19 pm

     
  4. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I miss Silly Lolo’s comments here and I truly believe everyone in heaven is rolling over his witty remarks and antics.

    Nov 16, 2015 | 11:24 pm

     
  5. betty q. says:

    You are not gone, Silly Lolo! You are still here but on a different plane! You are still here writing your ever so funny comments that makes everybody’s day tolerable!

    As I am writing this, I am laughing for I can hear your funny comments typical of Silly Lolo in my head! No. I am not crazy!

    Thank you for sharing this, Ms. Montes! You are truly blessed to have a dad like Silly Lolo!

    Nov 16, 2015 | 11:58 pm

     
  6. Cathy G. says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Mr. Marketman.

    As a 34 y.o. Filipina graduate student who is very skeptical of all social media since I feel it doesn’t actually foster connection to community, I am happy to be proven quite wrong. In light of the recent attacks in Paris, it horrifies me what we can do to each other. But beyond the negative, I am in awe of the spirit of solidarity shared tragedy fosters, if only because if we all could focus on the great GOOD we are all so very capable of, then maybe we could find common ground, realize we are all the same, and stop hurting each other this way.

    The only websites I really consistently look at are yours, and Serious Eats (and maybe ESPN). And while I am not the most vocal of participants, I do peruse the comments section, and it always makes me smile, reading the repartee between you and your readers. And it brings me back to my angst against social media. Your blog and the community it fosters is one (among many, I am certain) that fully realizes the connection the Internet can facilitate. No negativity, just people sharing their love for something we all as human beings love and need. Food brings people together, in ways now even beyond the dinner table, thanks to writers like you.

    My condolences to Ms. Montes and her family, thank you for sharing the spirit of fun and generosity his life must have been just full of. Thank you Mr. Marketman for providing a venue. And thanks to everyone who participate in the blog that makes it what it is.

    -Cathy

    Nov 17, 2015 | 12:15 am

     
  7. betty q. says:

    Let me share with you one of Silly Lolo’s email to me.

    We all haven’t heard from him at one point for a very long time. I missed him….we all missed him! So putting to use what I learned from my law enforcement boss, I was able to track him down. A relative of his then relayed the message to him. She told Silly Lolo someone was looking for him! Meron daw ba siyang atraso sa akin? Finding out it was just me, he told his relative …not to worry! So in my email I just asked him if he was OK?

    Ms. Montes….one day when you are ready to write your dad’s memoirs, please let me know. I will be one of the first ones in line who would want to have a copy of it!

    Nov 17, 2015 | 12:27 am

     
  8. JR says:

    Condolence to Silly Lolo’s Family and May he rest in peace.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 12:32 am

     
  9. joey @ 80 breakfasts says:

    Deepest condolences to Silly Lolo’s family…saying a prayer for him. Veronica, thank you for sharing so much about who your dad was, and for the photo. Such a great photo! My dad liked to fish too. Sending you a big, albeit virtual, hug.

    Thanks for sharing this MM, and for all the posts you put your heart into…it’s not wasted on us!

    Nov 17, 2015 | 12:55 am

     
  10. Footloose says:

    A kindred spirit. I knew he was full of life’s possibilities once he intimated that his fantasy girlfriend was double jointed.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 2:37 am

     
  11. Silly's son in law says:

    Hi all. I am Veronica’s husband and “Silly’s” son-in-law and really need to say thanks as well. Your comments made my day and encouraged me to offer a little Bad-boy Lolo story.

    Normie really was an incredible guy and Lolo to my kids. Frankly, he has ALWAYS been the BIGGEST kid when with his 6 grandkids. When he would pull up in front of our house my kids would FLY out the front door to meet him and I thought it was touching and honestly, a bit rare. I went out one day and discovered Silly kept M&Ms in the glovebox and was giving them out pre-dinner to my kids! I said, “Norm we’re about to eat dinner, please don’t.” He simply smiled and said, “No, no, no. You don’t understand. They’re gonna loooooove me!” and then he burst into laughter. Priceless.

    I love you all for providing the community you do and for the thoughts you have offered us.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 3:08 am

     
  12. EJ says:

    Silly Lolo brought lots of laughter and wit to this Comments section. He is truly missed.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 4:15 am

     
  13. linda says:

    Silly Lolo, you are greatly missed.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 9:00 am

     
  14. Ley says:

    Oh, I remember how excited he was at the prospect of attending a Market Manila eyeball. I miss him…

    Nov 17, 2015 | 9:44 am

     
  15. edee says:

    We all miss silly lolo. RIP

    Nov 17, 2015 | 10:12 am

     
  16. passive.observer says:

    reading your blog has been a daily habit since 2005. i like how MM interact with his readers thru the comment section and how a “community” has been built through it.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 11:01 am

     
  17. Lee says:

    We will miss you Silly Lolo.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 11:38 am

     
  18. Kasseopeia says:

    Oh, Silly Lolo! You are truly loved and missed.

    Veronica, thank you for sharing and I offer my sincerest condolences for your loss. My dad is an avid fisherman, and my favorite photo is also of him with his catch :)

    MM, thank you for sharing your writing and webspace with us. This community has become my virtual family, and I am glad to have met a few of the members. Please do continue writing; know that it is not wasted on us. :)

    Silly Lolo aka Lolo Norm, we shall meet soon in the Big Party In The Sky. There will be lechon, yes? :)

    Nov 17, 2015 | 12:45 pm

     
  19. Veronica says:

    Thank you all for this sweet and funny little send-off. Dad would have LOVED it. And I’m sure he’s happy to know that Marketman is newly invigorated! Here’s to many more posts and continued fun here at Market Manila!

    Nov 17, 2015 | 1:12 pm

     
  20. Greens & Blossoms says:

    My prayers for Silly Lolo …warm hugs to his daughter Veronica and family….

    Nov 17, 2015 | 2:50 pm

     
  21. Cwid says:

    Goodbye, Silly Lolo. I hope to meet you in that big eyeball in the sky, someday.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 4:02 pm

     
  22. Betchay says:

    Veronica, you are very lucky to have him as your dad. I ‘m sure he is spreading the laughter wherever he is now.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 4:09 pm

     
  23. ami says:

    I wasn’t a regular reader yet of Marketmanila when Silly Lolo was active on the comments but I do enjoy his posts when I go through the archives. Condolences to his family.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 4:12 pm

     
  24. KRon says:

    I’m one of those who have been wondering to whatever the hell has happened to Silly Lolo (and the other regulars as well) recently. His name and the succeeding comments under it is certainly one that’s always something to look forward to in any MarketManila post. My sincerest condolences to Veronica and Silly Lolo’s family.

    Nov 17, 2015 | 4:32 pm

     
  25. Olive says:

    This post made me cry…I miss my Dad so much..he paased away a few months after I graduated from college. He was not there when I got my first paycheck…we would have spent it together…
    Condolences to your family, Veronica. You’re lucky to have enjoyed and served your Dad.
    And please MM, do keep on writing. Unlike other blogs, your posts are well written. At this time of the year, you usually post about the never ending dinners at your home, the preparation for the gingerbread house, the party for your staff, etc :-) looking forward to those posts!

    Nov 17, 2015 | 6:20 pm

     
  26. Mary chen says:

    i believe silly lolo is grinning from ear to ear. U will be forever be missed! Deep sigh! He left his hallmark forever in MM’s archives!

    Nov 17, 2015 | 8:01 pm

     
  27. La Emperor says:

    I remember some of his posts. And as someone with two sick aging parents, I can’t help but shed a tear or two and can empathize deeply with Veronica. Thank you for your story and thank you MM for sharing it.

    Still love your blog….

    Nov 18, 2015 | 7:03 am

     
  28. Andrea says:

    Thank you for sharing this, MM & Veronica.

    Nov 18, 2015 | 9:10 pm

     
  29. Natie says:

    MM, thank you so much for this. I miss Silly Lolo too. It is so wonderful to be Silly- to laugh in spite of existing aches and pains. Raising the Finger at the discomfort they bring, and still dancing.

    When Silly Lolo went ‘missing’ years ago, I visited Veronica’s blog Nesting Ground to find out. She wrote back, and I was a bit shaken. As some of Lolo’s posts have indicated, he had a chronic illness and it limited his activities. Writing was a release, without him knowing he was giving many a gift!

    I am so glad he went surrounded by loved ones.He left with great memories in your close knit readers. This is a great way to start a day. In the midst of terror and uncertainty, mirth keeps us at least buoyant.

    Nov 18, 2015 | 10:10 pm

     
  30. Maricel Madrid says:

    My deepest condolences. Rest peacefully in God’s loving arms, Silly Lolo.

    Nov 19, 2015 | 8:48 am

     
  31. jdawgg says:

    RIP Norman Delfino Montes aka: Silly Lolo…

    Nov 19, 2015 | 11:31 am

     
  32. marilen says:

    How could this not feel like family. Thank you, Veronica, for sharing the spirit of your Dad aka Silly Lolo to us. He is missed, a most remarkable human being. Thank you, MM, for making this ‘family’ possible – all the fun, the wit (razor sharp lots of times!) the camaraderie, the conversation – of food, places, musings, at iba iba pa. I picture folks here at the dinner table you host, happy, funny, animated. So glad to know among others, footloose, betty q., sister, the teen, in this ‘space’. Glad too that you are energized to write again. Yes, the instagram posting is delightful – but truly miss the tertulia spirit.

    Nov 19, 2015 | 12:33 pm

     
  33. belle says:

    MM you have not only built a community but a family with your blog. Many faceless people have written comments in your blog and yet we felt the warmth and sincerity of each one. Kudos to you MM may you continue holding the torch to light up our community. My sincerest condolences to Veronica and family. Eternal rest grant unto Norman Delfino Montes.

    Nov 20, 2015 | 12:23 pm

     
  34. EbbaBlue says:

    Silly Lolo’s comments plus others, is the reason I read not only the main post on this site, but also All the comments . Funny, educational, entertaining, etc.
    thanks for sharing.

    Nov 21, 2015 | 2:01 pm

     
  35. Junb says:

    This post bring sadness and laughter to me but most of all A realisation that we should live our life like silly lolo who at many times brings smiles into us with his witty comments. My deepest condolence To the daughter, son in law and grandchildren.

    Nov 22, 2015 | 8:13 am

     
  36. millet says:

    heaven’s been sillier and more hilarious lately, i can imagine. thank you, MM, for giving everyone a chance to say goodbye to silly lolo. thank you to his family for caring about this “other family”.

    Nov 22, 2015 | 3:31 pm

     
  37. JE says:

    All the more reason to enjoy and revel in the community of people that gather here. To all the food, drink, and conversation for everyone, now and in the hereafter…

    Nov 22, 2015 | 7:05 pm

     
  38. Melit says:

    Thanks for sharing MM.My heartfelt condolences to
    Veronica and family.
    I’m a reader for 9 yrs and probably commented twice to thank
    you for your blog.Not only do I find it informative but
    Interesting,funny,intertaining specially the comments
    from Betty Q,Footloose,A.Chocolatier,Sister,Silly Lolo,
    Natie and other regular commenters.
    Thank you all.

    Nov 23, 2015 | 11:04 am

     
  39. bagito says:

    RIP, Silly Lolo. I, too, have been wondering what happened to him. Thanks for sharing, MM and Veronica. Condolences to you and your family. {{{hugs}}}

    Nov 23, 2015 | 1:40 pm

     
  40. cesbdu says:

    RIP Silly Lolo. You are missed

    Nov 23, 2015 | 9:13 pm

     
  41. bearhug0127 says:

    Silly Lolo, rest in peace. We miss you.

    Nov 25, 2015 | 1:48 pm

     
  42. Tina says:

    RIP Silly Lolo!

    Nov 25, 2015 | 2:41 pm

     
  43. Connie C says:

    I too miss silly lolo. He was a special Market Manila friend as I remember my husband thru his comments and antics , he (my husband) and silly lolo of kindred spirits. I kept re reading Veronica’s email reminding myself of the banter I would have with silly lolo like I would with my husband now in decline suffering from a neurodegenerative disorder. I am especially amused with the anecdote about the M&M’s in the glove compartment. I could see my husband doing a similar thing, not with M&M’s but with chewing gum instead. I was looking forward to meeting silly lolo and bettyQ, but alas the big Cebu eyeball was not to be.

    Silly Lolo, I will remember you always. Thank you for sharing, Veronica.

    Nov 25, 2015 | 4:23 pm

     
  44. farida says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Veronica. Eternal rest grant unto Silly Lolo, O Lord.

    MM, belated happy thanksgiving to you and your family. Yes, I am happy to know that you will be blogging again. I just don’t know how to use the Instagram. I have been back here in Cebu since May and I always (well, almost)start the day opening your blog. I felt a letdown when I don’t see a new one. But I console myself that you are just too busy nowadays. And I have gone through the old posts looking for the little white parols that you hung past Christmas. Wanted to show it to my Sister so we can do the same this year. Will just go to Carbon for those.
    Looking forward to going to Pigafetta. More power to you, MM.

    And Ms Bettyq, you are the best. I always look for your comments and tips. I have even compiled these, hope that is ok with you.

    Nov 28, 2015 | 9:15 am

     
  45. curlytops says:

    Silly lolo, MM and the rest of the regular commenters here were the “friends” who kept m company during the darkest days of my life. A few months after his death I learned about it and I cried. A dear friend just left me. Now, while reading this and commenting, I am crying. Thank you silly lolo for all the times you cheered me up when I thought I couldn`t go on. Rest in peace silly lolo.

    Nov 29, 2015 | 10:58 am

     
  46. Jean says:

    I am a passionate lurker on this blog, very seldomly commenting. But this post– that note–just moved me to tears. Angels be with you, Silly Lolo. I’m sure you have them in stitches, blushing.

    Dec 5, 2015 | 2:09 am

     
  47. Gia Mayol says:

    God bless you, Silly Lolo, wherever you are. Thank you for letting us know, Veronica and MM.

    Dec 18, 2015 | 9:55 pm

     
  48. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Silly Lolo put twinkle in my eye,a smile in my face every time he makes a comment on MM blog,Thank you Veronica for confirming what I imagine what kind of endearing person he is…Silly lolo,you are surely missed.I say a little prayer for you every time I read an archive that you made comments on.His grandkids are really lucky to have the fun times they had with him.

    Jan 6, 2016 | 10:17 pm

     
 

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