Fragments of the seasoning
This year, I invited all my children’s dogs for Christmas lunch, tooBy Gilda Cordero-Fernando
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Dentists keep the darkest secrets in the world. They know how many teeth every patient has left. When told by someone that they saw you smile and admired how your teeth were so well-preserved, they keep mum, never claiming which part of your smile is their handiwork.
Lilli-Ann has a part-time partner in her Tooth Doctor clinic named Gary. He’s a pleasant, handsome young man, you’d never think all he does is pull teeth. It’s his specialty. You don’t feel the needle, you don’t feel the withdrawal, you don’t see any of his deadly weapons. Magic!
He has a steady hand, the strength of a male and the coolness of a watermelon. Lilli-Ann does the repairing, the root canalling, the capping all year round, but when the tooth refuses to live any longer, she calls Gary for the kill.
Gary averages 53 teeth a week from several clinics he serves. There was one day where he pulled 36 teeth. Hope he doesn’t leave to pull foreign teeth before all of mine are gone.
This year, I invited all my children’s dogs for Christmas lunch, too. There is a mania now for purebreds and they have joined the bandwagon, owning little dogs with pusod and ribbons that they treat like flesh and blood. Bertie is Arcus’ and Bing Bing’s Yorkshire terrier. He has come to my house other times but never ceases to mark it off as his territory. But today we provided baby diapers for all of the dogs and the first hour was spent in mask-taping them up.
Roy and Wendy’s dogs are Atom, a mini pinscher, and Chinpupu, a shih tzu. They are also little dogs. I wouldn’t have invited them if they were any bigger. Atom is seven months old and Chinpupu is three months. Atom has wide upright ears and a sleek black body like a seal’s. He ate everybody else’s dog food. Then he posted himself under the stand-alone chopping board where the driver was chopping lechon, and Atom ate every morsel that flew off.
Roy said apologetically that it was the first time Atom had been brought out of their house in the boondocks. Besides being a hungry dog, he is hyper and we were so afraid to let him get near Bertie, who is no peachy-pie either. Then Atom got loose. Surprise! The two got along and gamboled and rolled and frolicked together just like two young boys.
I had bought Bertie a toy dog with green eyes that lit up and barked and walked and retreated and charged. It took a while for Bertie to figure out that the thing had no brains.
The gentle shih tzu, Chinpupu, is a true lap dog and just curled up on my tummy. Everyone loved carrying her, and after a while she kinda smelled like lechon sauce, so I sprayed Chanel No. 5 all over her.
Mol and Lilli-Ann’s dog is Baishee, whom I know best because he lives next door. He is a pampered French fluffy-haired white Bichon Frisé who goes to a spa to get his nails clipped, his hair trimmed, and to be washed and massaged. At home he has his own hairbrush, shampoo, dryer, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
The trouble is, Bertie has this fatal attraction to Baishee because he thinks Baishee is a female or else he is downright gay. Anyway, he keeps chasing the poor creature, trying to hump him. It’s either poor eyesight or an abundance of testosterone because afterwards Atom started chasing Baishee to hump him, too.
Lanelle didn’t have a pet, but Chin Chin’s boyfriend did—a white furry Persian cat whom he brought along. The two mistook not only Angel’s gender but also his genus, so it was a mad chase all over the house.
This reminds me of Josie my balae’s dog, named Spy. Josie has this thing about cleanliness, and one day she found a flea on Spy! She almost banished the dog, but when she played a tape of Beethoven’s Brandenberg Concerto, Spy began to sing. He sang only to that one piece and he sang on cue for visitors. Josie became so proud of him!
Our holy night ended with my seven grandsons playing various instruments—sax, bass guitar, one more guitar, keyboard, drums and voices. They were so talented and passionate. My son Mol joined them. They were noisy and good. Everyone said they were “a band” and called them Mol and the Molesters.
A bit of what they played and sang was familiar, like “Hey, Jude” and even Ray Charles’ “Hit the road, Jack/don’t come back no more, /no more,/no more,/ no more…” They also played some Tagalog songs from the Eraserheads which were rock, and some Bob Marley and Roy Orbinson. I found the younger music disconcerting. Like the one called “We Both Go Down Together,” which Rafa said was about a suicide. The two were going to jump from a building or a bridge together.
After the music, there were a lot of dark jokes about photo ops. They knew I hated this “Picture picture!” on every little excuse! True stories, said Kini. Two sweethearts in Makati were about to break up and the boy couldn’t take it. He told the girl, I’ll jump (from the top of the building where they were). She wouldn’t relent, even told the guy he didn’t have the guts to jump. The guy jumped. He was flat on the pavement dead. His best friend heard about it and rushed to the scene. Guess what! The first thing he did was make a V sign with his fingers and have his picture taken beside the corpse.
Breaking news: 400-year-old church catches fire and is burned to the ground. Because you made such a big fuss over the RH bill. God mad.