What can we say about Larry Henares’ second book of essays from his column “Make My Day”? He tugs at our heart-strings with his eulogy of the late Eddie Lichauco (“All is ended now: the hope, the fear and the sorrow”) and the death of Nick Jimenez’s son (“No greater pain is there than this”). He makes us snicker at Johnny Litton’s discourse on brandy and whiskey; and at Irene Roces’ advice to her husband, “Drop dead, Anding!”
Larry’s lecture on cockfighting to Shiela Platt will ever be remembered for its gentle humor and its revelation that the fighting cock had its role in the lives of Washington, Lincoln, and even in the choice of the National Bird of the USA, as well as in the psyche of the Filipino and his leaders. “Heaven on earth is not in church, Shiela, it is in the cockpit.” Reacting to insults of Italians and Americans against the Filipino, he crafted brilliant polemics on the Italian penchant for losing wars; also on the mongrelization of the American and the ill wind that blows from his consumption of baked beans and mashed potatoes.
But his most brilliant essays in this volume are on movie endings, DisneyWorld, the funeral of a fly and the musical plays produced by Cameron Macintosh: Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. His most inspiring are his analyses of what makes the Filipino, and what his destiny will be in the 21st century.
Long after he left the world of journalism to become a Presidential Consultant on National Affairs to President Fidel V. Ramos with whom he shared his youth and childhood, Larry’s columns, cut and collected by his inumerable fans, continue to astound us with his outrageous humor, fearless iconoclasm, brilliant insights, and sentimental journeys into the soul of the Filipino.
The first book of Henares is entitled “Make My Day”, followed by this volume, and two more: “Cecilia My Love” (dedicated to his late wife) and “Sweet and Sour.” A fifth and sixth volume is in the works, “Saints and Sinners” and “Tough and Tender.”