I spent my first night at 27-B Scout Tobias last Saturday. It was the start of the 2005 Brothers Summer Household at Tobias (one of two households of the Servants of the Word) and I, together with 20 other brothers from different Lingkod branches had come together to participate in this experience.
We (the QC brothers: James, Marlon, Luis and Nick) went early to the house (7 am) for morning prayers and to drop off our things because there was a Way of Life course that morning. It was the first time for all of us to attend morning prayers at Tobias and, speaking for myself, it was a tremendous experience—coming from a veeerrry late night and a tiring week, it was a refreshing experience to start the Saturday chanting the psalms and worshipping with other brothers.
We then went our separate ways-James had classes, Luis had work, Marlon, Nick and I went to the WOL course.
After a loooong day, Marlon and I rushed back to Tobias for Lord’s Day and when we got there, Byong (our House Steward) was giving the other brothers the tour; since I had already taken the tour last year (during Rommel’s and Ryan’s household), I was listening with one ear while digesting what was going on around me. That’s when Byong told us about the rule from which the title of this post comes from.
Byong explained that since there will be 24 brothers and only a few bathrooms (4, I think), we would need to maximize the use of the bathrooms. So, rule # 1, according to Byong, when taking a bath, don’t lock the door so that the other brothers can use the sink or the urinal; rule # 2, it is only when you’re doing something more serious than a bath that you can lock the door. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to smile at that. At this, Felix (from Makati) whispered soto voce, “bro, what if you’re already taking a shower and another bro enters to do something more serious, is he allowed to lock the door—with you in it, taking a shower? Can’t you complain, bro, nauna ako.” At this, I just had to laugh.
I was no longer in Kansas, or BF Homes in my case.
Lord’s Day at Tobias is a big deal. They had this really quaint and beautiful gas lamp—not a candle—and wooden cups to drink from. Great atmosphere.
Afterwards, we had a sumptuous dinner—grilled porkchops, fresh vegetable salad, spaghetti with tomato and mushroom sauce, beer, softdrinks and fruits (peaches and almonds)—which led most of the brothers to ask, “will the food be like this everyday?” To which Jobaqs, the Household Head, smiled and said, “no, it’s only for tonight.” I suddenly had visions of the fattened calf and the condemned man and his last meal; when I voiced this out, Jobaqs laughed and said, “same result. You got the idea.” I don’t think the other brothers appreciated Jobaqs’ brand of humor; I did, and I laughed heartily.
After cleaning up, we lazed around on the comfortable sofas and swapped small talk. The QC brothers were waiting for night prayers—which we assumed was at 10—until John Yocum passed by and said, “have a good night brothers, magandang gabi.” No night prayers? When we asked Jobaqs, he smilingly replied, “yun ba inaantay nyo? Wala ngayong gabi.” At that, Marlon and I jumped up and headed for the showers to wash off the grime of the day and to prepare to sleep.
Feeling more human after a shower, I went to my assigned room (Jake Yap’s, as it turns out; I could see from all the pictures in the room featuring Oxford and Belfast and with Jake prominent in most of the pictures) and since I had no roommates yet, I had the pick of the room. Laying down my banig in the corner, with my electric fan at full, I said a short prayer to thank the Lord for what remained of the day; shortly after I said, “amen”, I know I dozed off.