The Grey Chronicles


An Annealing-Colored Christmas!

This post was originally titled: Christmas is for Children, but because of the present situation—economic, corporate or otherwise, I re-titled it with an adjective much closer to my heart: steel. Annealing color is a quality defect on cold-rolled carbon steel coil characterized by discoloration, from yellowish to dark bluish, during heat treatment due to atmospheric interference or low protective gas pressure situation.

Each of us might have heard of a White Christmas, or a Blue Christmas and all-the-other-colors-of-the-holiday Christmas, but no color would be appropriate now for us, steelworkers, except for annealing color.

3kidsMost of Filipino Christians also know that Christmas is for children. We shower them TLC and gifts during this time of year, in commemoration of the birth of the Ultimate Baby, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In so doing, we feel like we, as parents, are doing what Joseph and Mary would have done during the first ever Nativity scene. Aside from that, we share Noche Buena, a midnight feast, with our love ones and to renew our old familial ties to one another.

My wife and I went on Christmas shopping with our two-year old son, a GSPI baby, if you please. After a few hours shuffling among the toys on display: Power Rangers, Iron Man, Tomica cars, etc., he probably sensed that his father’s budget was at a stretch, my son selected the one we could afford and would not let go of it. Compare this scenario to this: Pramod Mittal doesn’t just buy just a football, but rather he bough CSKA Sofia, a premier division of Bulgarian football club in a deal estimated at 14 million Euros.

Earlier this week, my wife and I contemplated whether or not to spend the holidays in the provinces, sort of a homecoming much like we did every year before this year. With GSPI closing its gate beginning 04 December, we decided not to go but rather sit this one out and hope for the best.

Later in the week, my three sisters pinched in and gladly offered to finance our round-trip travel expenses to spend the holidays in my hometown. We had this pact, after college, [or was it our mother’s request?] that even just for one day in a year, we will all go back home to celebrate either Christmas or the New Year at home from wherever we are!

I could see a scene now from the incoming movie: Nothing Like the Holidays! Each year while at home, my father and I would argue on things we differed, but still I come back home just for the sake of seeing my mother and my three sisters, and now much of the reason is that my other two teenager sons [yes, they were called NSC babies ages ago] are schooling there and whom I only get to know through cellphone calls and Yahoo!Messenger; and in once-in-a-while video conferences through the Internet.

The trip, which I planned to last about four weeks considering a succession of legal and special holidays this month, would likely let me forget for a fleeting moment this precarious with-only-a-day’s-notice GSPI situation, but I’m worried that comes the new year, what awaits GSPI is rather a dark matter for me as well as to the other steelworkers.

At least, if the works-in-process steel incurs annealing color, they could be re-processed and come out as prime products. With GSPI, nothing could correct the situation except for better economic prospects for the company this coming year. Otherwise, the jobs of about a thousand steelworkers and lives of their respective families are at stake.

How do you truly explain to your children that their father might loose his livelihood because the company is losing to competitors or the steel market is on a bear run? They would not necessarily understand that! As long as there is food on the table, best clothes on Sundays, go to school, play their games or with their toys, children are happy! We owe them to be, else we fail our sacred duty as parents.

Thus, wishing you and your family: Have a nice Annealing-Colored Christmas and a Blessed New Year of living dangerously!

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