According to Fatty
This is the backstory. It is a backstory that I have written many times. I’ve been in Myanmar three times in the past eight years. On my first journey, I met Ti Ti, who was nine years old at the time. Ti Ti was a precocious kid, who thought that she could beat me playing Scrabble. She was correct. I also met her two younger sisters, Snow and Fatty, who were two and four, but they couldn’t have remembered meeting me at that age.
Prior to my second trek to Myanmar, Ti Ti told her sisters who I was and named me PaPa Al. Obviously, they wanted to know who this American was and how I fit into their world. When I returned, Snow accepted that name. However, Fatty was around six on my second visit and refused Ti Ti name for me. Fatty saw me as Bo Bo Gyi. .
Bo Bo Gyi, ဘိုးဘိုးကြီး, means honored or hallowed grandfather. Bo Bo Gyi is a Theravada Buddhist nat. A nat is a guardian spirit, which protects Buddhist shrines like pagodas and temples. Nats appear to be human but are actually spirits. Bo Bo Gyi appears as an elderly man, carrying a cane due to his age. He also is an alchemist and can turn ordinary metal into gold. His followers bring food to him and put scarves around him as acts of devotion.
Even more interesting is that Bo Bo Gyi is also depicted as a rider on a white horse who rides around protecting locals from problems, accidents, and wrongdoers. Essentially, he is an overly protective grandfather.
What fascinates me is that Fatty viewed me as Bo Bo Gyi regardless of what Ti Ti named me. She is aware that yesterday I had a minor operation to address the plantar fasciitis situation on my left foot. Like my namesake, I’ll have to walk around with a walking stick for a while. This is a note that I received a couple of days ago from Fatty.
As far as Fatty and I are concerned, I’m the reincarnation of Bo Bo Gyi.
Now, whether or not the Buddhist monks in Myanmar agree with us, it doesn’t really matter. My modus operandi in life is that of Bo Bo Gyi. It isn’t important whether you are a Buddhist or not, but what is essential is replicating Bo Bo Gyi’s drive of a caring grandfather.
As I reflect upon my nearly eight decades journeying down my yellow brick road of life, I have been guided by a couple dozens of my mentors. Bo Bo Gyi is one of them. Each of us needs to identify those people who we looked to for guidance. If Bo Bo Gyi isn’t one of your mentors, I’d suggest that you might consider him. I have benefited from all my mentors in my endeavor to become all that I can be.
I also received another email from Fatty with this attachment. It was another letter to Bo Bo Gyi. Fatty wanted to know whether she was my favorite granddaughter. I replied that she was the crème da la crème of my three granddaughters in Myanmar.