A Life of Mercy.

Mercedes Jones

Maria Mercedes Tapiador Viola Jones

On Sunday, the day before the Canadian Thanksgiving, Mercy died in our bed. She looked at me as I sat vigil holding her hand, smiled a little, and then stopped breathing.

Mercy always wanted to do the right thing, and was the best wife a man could have. Chapter 31 of Proverbs was written about a wife such as she.

“The quality of Mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven”

Mercy was born in Santiago, Isabela, Philippines, on 22 February, 1950. She died in North York, Ontario, Canada, on 7 October, 2012, at 22:30. She is survived by numerous siblings and nephews and nieces, many of whom remember her fondly, but in Canada by her brothers Arturo Viola (a former mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake) and Gaudencio Viola.

She married James Michael Gerard Jones (the author of this article), at St. Catherines, Ontario, on 3 April, 1975. (Acknowledgement below)

Mercy had an active childhood, often shuttling back and forth between Isabela province and San Francisco del Monte, a district of Manila, with her mother, Damiana. Her mother owned a sundrys shop in Santiago, selling mostly fabrics but also other things.

Frisco City, the short name for San Francisco, is where many of Mercy’s brothers and sisters lived with her father Antonio, and she also spent a good deal of time there. It’s a hilly place, with the roads winding down and up the valleys and hills. Mercy led a physically active life there too.

Mercy’s high school picture.

Mercy was always getting into minor scrapes, falling out of trees, throwing rocks at taunting neighbor boys, and skipping school to hang out at the local newstand to read comic books. There’s a lot more to her young life that I don’t know. Mercy was much more about today and tomorrow than yesterday.

Mercy told me some stories about her escapades. Her siblings probably can tell many more, such as about the time she fell off a roof into a rice kettle. She survived them all, with a few scars, and with her hearing impaired in one ear. She was definitely not a girly girl.

In 1971, when she was 21 years old, her older brother Art and his wife Julie sponsored Mercy into Canada. The declared intent was for her to be a nanny for her nephew Neil Viola, but also to go to school in Canada. Nannying was not a role for which she was well suited. In retrospect of her childhood, not a big surprise. So she soon moved to Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto.

Mercy's picture stayed in my wallet for 38 years.

Mercy found various jobs in the big city, such as being a manicurist or sewing-machine operator. She lived with other Filipinas in shared apartments in the Danforth and Pape Avenues area and also a bit further East in Scarborough. She rode the buses and subways, so she rarely ventured far from Toronto’s subway stations.

My own story with Mercy starts circa 1972 by my reading her letter in a Good Housekeeping or Woman"s Day magazine that was lying around my grandmother’s house. I was staying with my grandmother in Haleyville, Alabama, to help her with the outside chores while her husband (my step-grandfather) was in a sanitorium. He had contracted tuberculosis, possibly as a result of his military service. (He survived at home for a few more years; interesting man.) Aside from mowing the yard and bringing stove-coal up from the basement, I was mostly idle. I finally found regular work preparing blank doors with locks and hinges for installation, at a mobile-home factory.

Mercy was advertising for pen-pals. In her mind at the time it was a rather innocent ploy, and she was unprepared for the huge reaction. She got hundreds of responses. Out of these she chose a few, one of which was my note.

Mercy and I corresponded for some months, she meanwhile winnowing out most other respondents. Another however was an aged Cistercian monk, which connection she maintained for some time. (However did he see her query?) Partly at the urging of her room-mates, who may have been reading some of my letters, she focused on me as prospective husband material.

So, circa 1974, by her invitation I took a Grayhound to Toronto and she brought me to meet her room-mates and friends. Keep in mind I was raised in the rural Deep South and had not often seen girls wearing diaphanous blouses and net tops up close. Speaking of her roomies, not about Mercy, who was then quite modest in mixed company. After a week seeing Toronto with her, I returned to North Alabama.

Mercy's wedding to me.

After some more corresponding, Mercy decided to marry me, and I went along with her plan. So, in late March 1975, my sister Mildred and I took a bus to Niagara, where Mercy and I were married by a provincial judge in nearby St. Catherines. Then it began to blizzard down snow. The event was hosted by Mercy’s brother Art and his family. Then my sister took the bus back by herself to Alabama. Our initial honeymoon was spent in a row-house in the Danforth and Pape area, where I came down with a bit of flu. Big-city germs?

Mercy installing my ring.

After a few months, Mercy came to the USA, and I met her in Nashville, Tennessee. About this same time, I had gotten a job in the Florence, Alabama, area as a computer operator, and so went back there. While the INS process was grinding on, I accepted a transfer to Nashville. Then I got a programming job in Cookeville, Tennessee, which is a small town on the Cumberland Plateau. That was where we began our real honeymoon, and our adjustments about living together.

Cookeville, early Spring 1976, is where Mercy’s life with me, for a marriage that lasted some 37 years, really started. The duration is mostly her fault, but I came home nearly every day anyway. After this, we rarely ever spent a night apart, and then only because employers wouldn’t buy her an airline ticket. When I drove to a distant appointment, the odds were very good that she came with me, unless she had to work that day.

Mercy found a job just outside Cookeville as a sewing operator. My job paid rather well, but was located in a town some hour’s drive away. A fifty-hour week, plus ten hours or more commuting, made it impossible for me to pick her up at a factory gate. Then my employer wanted everyone to start working on Saturdays, too. (Even though, in those days, the local supermarkets were closed on Sundays.) That spelled the end of East Tennessee for us, and started the goodbye process.

Cookeville was a nice town with some good people, and the Cumberland a very beautiful area, but we couldn't live there any longer, so we moved to northeast Alabama. Mercy got another sewing job at Arrow Shirts nearby in a hamlet named Boaz. I found another job in nearby Albertville, and so we went from small-town, almost rural, East Tennessee to the many hamlets of Northeast Alabama. Mercy enjoyed the fried catfish, and many other features of the new place.

Mercedes Jones

We had a very good life while renting an isolated cottage from a farming couple. Clyde and Elizabeth Jones were their names; good people. They shared their garden plot with us, where Mercy learned about growing your own food. I took Mercy for many walks in the countryside; seems she had never been really outside an urban area before. Boondocks was her Tagalog word, which in English means “way back in the mountains.” She learned to shoot a little rifle too.

Anyway, Mercy and I were in the Sand Mountain area until 1979, when we decided to try living in Canada. While Mercy made friends wherever she went pretty easily, she missed her family and friends back in southern Ontario. Plus the pay scale in Alabama wasn't good, even though I was effectively in control of an IT department for a local media mini-empire. We were rather poor and yet somewhat happy, although we didn't appreciate it then. Ambition.

So we said our goodbyes, quit our jobs, loaded up whatever car we had then, and drove 1,000 miles to Detroit. The guards were bored and nonchalant back then, and crossing was a mere formality. Back then, people crossed the border as if they were going to the supermarket, which in many cases they were. Mercy was happy to see her extended family again, but they were understandably less excited.

In the Fall of 1979, after staying some days in Art’s basement in Niagara, Mercy and I found a second-story apartment at 6 Grandstand Place, East York. Mercy had various gigs in hair-dressing salons and I got a job at John Leckie, a fisheries supply company. She worked as a manicurist, and wound up working in a chic downtown salon at Eaton Centre, but then Leckie went bankrupt.

Mercedes Jones

Mercy was doing well, and I got a short gig at CP Hotels, and then a call from my old boss at Leckie, who had landed on his feet at AMP Canada. During my seven years with AMP, I doubled and redoubled my pay and responsibilities. All in all, Ontario then seemed good to us.

However, during this period, Mercy tried some elective surgery on her bad ear, at the recommendation of a Filipina doctor. She nearly died from an overdose of anesthesia. (The surgeon and his anesthetist were some years later disbarred for killing a patient.) The episode sadly but naturally gave her an enduring suspicion of every doctor except chiropractors and Chinese herbalists.

With the help of a new girl friend of Mercy’s, she and I moved on New Year’s Day 1981 to a North Scarborough townhouse. Like Mercy, Mei Ling was another under-appreciated generous girl. The house was in the Bridletown Circle area, and Mercy had lots of new space in which to play. Plus a private postage-stamp backyard, where she and Mei could sunbathe almost all of their skin whenever the Sun shone. (This is when we adopted our cat Linggo. She moved and traveled with us for the next 20 years.)

Linggo the Canadian Calico Cat

The buses then served Mercy well in Toronto and the townhouse was much closer to my job. Mei Ling went with us to Montreal, and then to Spain, where the girls saw their first public ‘topless’ beaches. Marbella is one such place. Mercy, Mei, and I would also sometimes visit Art and his burgeoning clan in Niagara. (His wife Julie sponsored most of her siblings and their children, and that brood really expanded in the Niagara area.)

Mercy and Mei got to see the Alhambra, which they really liked, and many castles with me, which impressed them a bit less. There was an excursion to Morocco, where Mei had a snake draped around her neck for pictures, but Mercy went berserk. This is when I found out Mercy and serpents were incompatible. She was a ‘sport’ for most activities, but snakes could lead to frenetic dancing and screaming, or to paralysis.

Mercy had taken up ‘oriental dance’ aka belly-dancing when we were at Grandstand Place, and so she and her circle of friends, mostly Filipinas, took much pleasure in wiggling less-clad to the music while I practiced my photography. Mercy may have had even more fun than I, since I was trying to get the technical stuff right. She sewed exotic outfits for herself and her friends.

We made new friends and traveled extensively. I had met Estrella on that job with CP Hotels, and through her, her husband Dave. CP was then headquartered at the Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto. At that time we used the buses and subways all the time. Mercy kept finding new acquaintances and her association network expanded. She didn’t need any social-network Web site.

During the Eighties, Mercy and I went to Hawaii, Spain, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, St. Maartin, and other places I don’t now recall. (I have posted a Web page I call Journeys to describe our vacations.) Many islands where the palms gently sway and some sunny coral strands are secluded.

We moved again, this time with some more stuff, but not much more, to 44 Tiffany Ave. in Markham, which is a town just north of Scarborough. Mercy had much fun dressing the new interior, and hosting a couple of parties. The house was too big for us, but an investment. Mercy always cared more for relationships than for things.

Mercy kept going to vocational schools and landing new jobs, and wound up working at Epson Canada in the A/R section. It was nearby and she wasn’t imprisoned in a chair as she had been in the sewing factories. (I wonder if her cancer might have been partly caused by working conditions in those factories.)

Mercy, Mei and I would also visit Lake Simcoe and the girls would sun themselves and I would relax and photograph them and a few other ‘scenic wonders’. Despite the travel and house changes, we were saving and investing, since we didn’t buy fancy furniture, other house fittings, nor swanky new cars. During the Eighties, Toronto was a good place to be.

Of all our Toronto circle, Dave, Estrella, and her brother Charles have been our most enduring friends. We have gone sailing with them on Lake Simcoe, by the Virgin Islands and St. Maartin, and in the northern island group of Tonga. Most others moved on to different lives and distant places, and Mercy and I gradually lost touch with them.

In 1989, the Ontario electorate put the NDP in control of the provincial parliament. (That party’s platform is just this side of being communist. This worried me; thought the voters had gone insane.) I sought a job back in the USA and found it in Mobile, Alabama. Now I wonder why I didn’t try another province, although the Mobile situation proved good overall for us. Reckon I was tired of the ice and snow, and those short dark gray days of endless winters.

After a brief stay in an apartment, Mercy and I bought a house near Dog River, on the south side of Mobile. It was a redwood clapboard structure on a well-treed large canal lot, and had a huge heritage oak tree in the middle of its back yard. There were mature blueberry bushes, and many scattered flowerbeds. The house was compact and well-designed, and was just right for us. We worked hard thinning out the Azalea shrubs that had taken over much of the lot, and arrived at a situation that wasn’t too much of a jungle. When the various flowering plants bloomed, it was spectacular.

Mercy’s house in Mobile, AL.

Mercy had much fun with her gardening and sewing. We enjoyed our ‘Florida room’ and large back deck. Since I was technically self-employed by 1991, she had work as our firm’s books and records keeper, so she had time for socializing with the Filipinas in the area, and she learned to drive. We bought her a little Hyundai sedan, and Mercy would tootle all about the south Mobile neighborhoods.

In Mobile our cat Linggo would ‘play ball’ on the stairs with Mercy and me with paper balls. We could toss them to her and she would bat them back to us. Mercy also adopted an ‘outdoor’ cat that she named Lunes (Monday). He was a sweet boy, but not very bright; occasionally he would get bitten by a raccoon and Mercy would doctor him. Mobile is also when she rediscovered spicy crayfish and chicken-fried catfish and gained a few pounds. (She went from circa 98 pounds to circa 120 between 1990 and 2005.)

All through these times, both in Canada and in the USA, Mercy always kept herself busy with sewing, needlework, crocheting, gardening, and general handicrafts. In Mobile, she even helped our elderly neighbor redo a bit of our cedar clapboard siding. She would motor around on our riding lawnmower and then complain when I got home about the ‘bad bugs’ which bit her. (What would happen is she’d run over a yellow-jacket wasp nest, and they’d fly out and sting her. So then I’d have to find the hole, pour gasoline down it, and light it off.)

Mercy learned to cook some very nice meals during our marriage. Even though her family wasn’t particularly wealthy, they always had maids to do the cooking and cleaning, so Mercy had never learned to cook nor how to clean. But she became an enthusiastic wielder of the vacuum cleaner and other tools. I did most all fixing, but she was always an interested observer and tool-passer. She spent hours with neighbor ladies and girls, learning how to cook all sorts of dishes, some exotic, some ordinary North American fare.

Mercy and I also took train trips, just the two of us, to Washington DC and to Vancouver, BC. Again, there were probably other places we went by auto I don’t now recall. There are slides and prints somewhere of all our journeys. I recall we visited Florence, AL a few times, and also Atlanta, GA and Pensacola NAS, FL. Perhaps we visited my ancestral towns of Haleyville and Reform in northern Alabama; they're more or less on the way between Mobile and Florence.

During this time, Mercy got to take some trips which most folk dream about, but can never attain. The more complete story is in our Journeys pages, but we traveled again with the Dynamic Duo. Estrella made the arrangements, and I did the driving again. Dave and Mercy maybe had the most fun, but we all had to carry our own heavy baggage. Mercy got to see the South Pacific for an entire month in the Fall of 1995, our trip ending with a week or so in Tahiti and Bora Bora.

And yes, Mercy and Estrella did wear the local pareau -and less- in our abodes and on private beaches. They were then in their prime, and it was, after all, a fantasy vacation. But don't get any wild ideas for we are very sedate folk.

In late 1995, my Mobile client and I had a parting of the ways. (Oddly, that facility was taken over and closed a couple of years later.) Mercy and I began to roam the Eastern USA, going from one assignment to another. Linggo went with us wherever we would go, to St. Louis, Jacksonville, Chicago, and Miami. I would do the client’s work, and Mercy would take care of the logistics, bookkeeping, cat, and me. I had to do the map-reading; somehow she couldn't get the sense of maps, even though she knew how to make and read clothes’ patterns. Mostly my gigs were six-month affairs, but we were in Miami for over eighteen months, since my year’s contract got extended.

Isla del Sol

Mercy and I had bought a 41-foot ketch (two-masted sailboat) in 1997, and were living aboard her. Between assignments, sometimes we returned to St. Petersburg Beach and stayed aboard until the next one. Other times, we went right from one job to another. I’m certain that Mercy got to see and stay awhile in many other places, such as Raleigh (Research Triangle), NC, and Palm Harbor, FL. Perhaps some were interview occasions?

In Jacksonville, while I worked a contract for a few months, Mercy met two Indian girls and learned how to cook their food. She and our cat Linggo would watch the slough behind the apartment and see the wildlife do whatever wild critters do. She was horrified to see the snapping turtles eating the baby ducks, and wanted to save them, but it was impossible.

In St. Louis our apartment was near a college and a park with a lake. It was a very quiet and partly wooded area, so Mercy could go down to the paved lake walk and feed the ducks and geese. I regret to say that all though our time together she spent too many hours waiting for me to come home from work, but at least she learned how to be a deeper reader. As well as sewing many quilts, and making exotic outfits for herself and others.

In Chicago-land, we stayed in a residential motel owned by a Korean family. They got their first vacation in many years because they trusted Mercy to take care of the office while they were gone. We also ate much more Korean food there, and Mercy came to appreciate kimchi and learned how to make various kinds. The area we were in was Wheeling, but my assignment was in Northfield.

Mercy got to visit the famous Field Museum, and during the Summer we spent many happy weekends and evenings in a botanical garden that was filled with flowers. So many kinds of roses. There was a lake, with a nearby carillon that sometimes would play. We visited the family of one of Mercy’s cousins in Waukegan a few times, too.

Mercy also got to see something not often seen outside rural Mexico. We happened to stop at a suburban mall on the way to Waukegan, perhaps to buy some little gift for her relatives. However, the mall was closed except for a reincarnated Mexican village. It was something right out of stories about Viejo Mexico; the elder folk sitting around the edges of the space, the younger ones promenading around the playing central fountain in all their Sunday finery, and of course the children playing about.

In all the places I took Mercy, I’m not sure she understood fully how remarkable some things were, but she always enjoyed herself in meeting new people and getting to know their customs and lives. In some ways, although the constant moving from assignment to assignment was an uncertain life, we were pretty happy then too. At least we were rarely bored.

Miami zoo

Mercy seemed to enjoy Miami life. Maybe its Hispano-Cuban character seemed somehow familiar to her. There was a good dim-sum restaurant on Bird Road, and oodles of seafood. Miami has almost anything you can imagine, plus parrots squawking outside your window at sunrise. Never mind those roosters, Carolina parrots are noisier.

Since Mercy and I were in Miami for so long, I’m sure many things happened there, but I don’t remember many details. I was working 10-hour days, and whenever I got back to our Coral Gables apartment, Mercy had either cooked a meal, or we went out for some of the excellent ethnic or sea food that Miami features.

Mercy and I frequently drove on weekends around the South Beach and other nearby areas. Mercy saw many cruise ships making their way in and out of the ports of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, and occasionally we’d park in the evening and watch the airliners land and take off from Miami International.

We would also often go for ‘long drivings’, Mercy’s phrase, to Naples or to the Everglades parks. Mercy had several orchids we got at a greenhouse near the old air force base south of Miami. Once we were back to Paru Paro, most of them sadly expired one by one, but one large one survived and bloomed almost continuously.

Miami zoo

After 2000. things got very strange for us. First, Linggo died, which was very sorrowful, and we buried her on an island near St. Petersburg Beach. But recruiters stopped calling after Miami, and my own job searches led nowhere.

Mercy on the dock at Isla del Sol, St. Petersburg, FL

Mercy then had to help out by going back to work, which cut into her fishing time. (At least she’d had a ten-year break from real job stress.) By now she was an enthusiastic fisherwoman, and regularly ate fresh fish from the coastal waters of St. Pete and Cape Coral. She did her best fishing at Isla del Sol until all we live-aboards got ejected from that marina circa 2002.

Mercy befriended a Tunisian, Mounira Bechini, and her French ‘husband’ Pierre around 2000. They had a condo nearby and a motor yacht docked nigh us. Gracious people who hosted us sometimes when they were over from Tunis. He was a semi-retired architect specializing in Mediterranean resorts. I regret to say he died of esophageal cancer in France. Mounie has become a very good long-distance friend.

Mercy with a big fish.

Around that time we got the call saying that my mother was causing some sort of trouble. We went to North Alabama, with Mercy driving our old Mazda and I a newer Suzuki. (Which I still use.) Quite a drive for her from St. Pete in Florida to Florence, Alabama. We discovered my mother had filled the newer house that my father and she had bought years before with trash. Classic hoarder behavior. After some days of clearing the house with my siblings, Mercy and I moved into the place with my mother.

Mercy then had an eye-opening experience, which explained why I had so carefully avoided exposing her to my family. Coming from a Third World country where families are more natural, with interdependent members, she saw a dysfunctional one up close. After a few months, we wound up going back to Florida. Looking back, I wish I had then taken Mercy back to Toronto instead.

You can’t be sure about any alternate path, for you don’t know what you don’t know. Another cusp was the departure from Mobile; we might have done as well or better by returning to Canada. It would have been better in other ways too. Yet I had gotten so tired of being cold and paying high taxes, and socialism is a cruel game where the politicos try to buy the voters with their own money. Plus reportedly the job prospects were as bad as in the USA.

Anyway, Mercy and I motored our yacht Paru Paro (Mercy had named her; means ’Butterfly’) down to Cape Coral, and began yet another new life. Mercy eventually found a job with an upholstery and drapery shop, and did well there, while I somehow remained invisible to any clients or employers. I did a few odd jobs, but nothing panned out as regular employment.

Mercy with her big cat.

We moved our ketch from the mainland to one of the offshore islands, because Mercy in her usual ‘networking’ had found a dock owner willing to let us moor at his house under reasonable conditions. A very fine man by name of Joe Eisenberg. Pine Island is connected to the mainland by a lift bridge, so I drove Mercy to and from work every weekday between 2005 and 2008, and then kept myself busy in various very cheap ways. In late 2008 she inveigled me into going back to Canada under the pretext of renewing her passport.

I had contracted a serious infection in my sinuses due to an incompetent dentist, and Mercy got scared. Plus, her employer had changed, and the business was rapidly going down. She eventually found a job with a Northwest Toronto quilting factory, and was happy and very much valued there.

After rattling around from place to place, we moved into the basement of Eddie and Essie Pardinas, old friends of Mercy’s. We had known them, their children, and their cat when we lived at Bridletowne Circle. Mercy designed and made, and I installed, some window treatments at two houses, one of which was the Pardinas. Mercy had learnt how to do such treatments and hangings in Florida. We did all the windows at the one house, and only the huge windows on the main floor for the Pardinas.

Mercy in a gathering at the Pardinas.

(I continued to be as invisible to employers in Toronto as I had been in Florida. Could be age discrimination, but how do you prove it?)

Then, in December 2010, Mercy began having a severe problem with her digestion, but hid it until I and even her co-workers were urging her to go see a doctor. One proposed to drive her there herself. Now, the medical situation in Ontario is peculiar compared to the States. In order to have tests performed under OHIP, or to see a specialist, you must be ‘referred’ by a ’family physician’. (Or by a walk-in clinic’s doctor, but Mercy had that phobia about doctors due to her bad experience before.)

We discovered that Charles had in the intervening years gotten his medical degree, and so Mercy was seen by him. He immediately authorized some tests, and a laboratory doctor found that she had a colon cancer. That led to her having a MRI and surgery, but that surgeon was unwilling to do more than create an ileostomy and send her home. A month or so went by with no more action, so we went back to Charles again.

He got her into the University Health Network complex, where they first put Mercy through 25 radiation sessions, which she survived in very good form. That therapy apparently discouraged the cancer somewhat, so she was again put ‘on the shelf’ for a few more months. Finally, in December 2011 Mercy got a real operation, but by then it was apparently too late. A junior surgeon was prepared to ‘roll the dice’ and spend the hours needed to debride the cancer mass from every place it had infiltrated, but the team’s chief surgeon demurred.

Brave Mercy.

So they created a colostomy to her large intestine, and sent Mercy home to wait to die. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her what they were doing with her, but she probably suspected once the medical appointments stopped.) She healed up mostly from the surgery, but was left with three holes in her lower abdomen, to which bags got attached and changed thrice a week. Often she would change the appliances herself; Mercy was a very take-charge person, even when in this plight. She could eat more normally again, and regained some weight. For some months she was able to slowly go about with me to do grocery shopping and browse a local charity store. Transient joys, enduring sorrows, is our sad lot.

(One nice feature of the Ontario system was the visiting nurses; they would visit nearly every day to check on Mercy. Here is where I criticize the Ontario system. Supposedly its regimes have been working on an eHealth system wherein medical personnel can update and share patient records, but a billion dollars have gotten spent with little to use so far. Massive fraud and abuse has occurred. I personally have had to pick up image media from one hospital and hand-carry it to another to ensure a timely and safe transfer. Within the hospital sections, we were reinterviewed over and over as if the personnel either didn’t trust prior interviewers or that material was inaccessible. Information stove-pipes everywhere. Very dangerous for any patient developing mental confusion. I could go on, but this would become a rant, not Mercy’s story.)

So Mercy’s early end was inevitable, because so long as the cancer mass remained, it would start to regrow and invade more neighboring tissues. Apparently it got to her kidneys. The palliative-care doctors recommended against an autopsy, so I reckon we’ll never know precisely what caused her death.

That last surgery bought Mercy nine more months of life, and she contrived to enjoy some of those moments. She didn't want me taking pictures of her while she was sick. I believe she was staying alive for me, and worried what would happen to me after she was gone. I doubt I shall ever again see her like. Mercedes Viola Jones had amazing strength, fortitude, and love.

During our years together, Mercy learned to read much more deeply, and liked a paraphrase edition of the Bible entitled The Story. She left off reading it at page 412. (She complained that all the Tagalog versions of the Bible were "too hard.") Mercy enjoyed the Watchtower conventions. I however think she didn’t understand much of the talks, but earnestly thought that such attendance was the right thing to do.

Author’s footnote. For any who may think there was too much of her husband in this Life, Chedes was devoted to me in a way not often seen in North America. When she made her commitment to me, it was truly wholehearted. (Plus, who else knows her as well?) Once Mercy chose a friend (not talking acquaintances here) she was almost equally as generous. All in all, a candidate for Paradise surpassing many who have been held up as examples to us. Of course Mercy had her faults as do we; she was stubborn when convinced her way was right. But that’s the way committed persons are. She had some quirks native to the female species, but what should we expect?

Acknowledgement

Numerous folk have sent or given us (myself or Mercy’s birth family) cards or letters of condolence. Fourteen so far, and strangely, some contained money. Not just a little money, but $50 bills, sometimes two of them. One envelope only contained money, and was labeled ‘Prez and Elisa Family’, so it’s a mystery who gave it.

I don't know whether this is a Filipino, Asian, or a Canadian phenomenon. In the American South, neighbors would come by to visit and sit with the family, bearing a cooked ‘covered dish’ meal, so this must be the Canadian urban equivalent of that custom?

Anyway, to everyone who remembered Mercy, thanks. She would earnestly thank you if she could for each simple remembrance alone.

In December 2012, Mercy’s brother Gaudy took some of her ashes home to the Philippines, there to deposit them on an ancestral grave-site. I believe he took the opportunity to generally clean and neaten up the graves as well. Of course the extended family that remains in the Frisco City area got together for some visits. I hope they remembered Mercy kindly. She has so many nieces and nephews now who had never met her. How quickly those years fled by.

Mercy’s adventures with me

Book of Memories

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