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The Story of a Stray Dog and The White-man Stranger
A true to life story
It's my Dad's Real Life Story
Life is full of paradox, surprises, and phenomenon that we just have to accept as they happen because it's either we are caught unprepared or there are just no words to explain them.
Most religiously-inclined people call the "unexplainable" miracles; the unbelievers will try to do some explanations according to their mind-set of God's non-existence. To each his own because variety is among natures laws.
I am now going to write this story and it's up for the readers to judge according to his/her inclinations and understanding.
The great famine due to prolonged drought in Mindanao, Philippines
My Dad and Mum were just married when the 10-month drought in Mindanao in 1930 killed all their crops and their poultry along with the beasts of burdens; this drought caused the infamous famine that killed many hungry farmers and jobless residents of the city and its vicinity. There was nothing more left in the farm to live on even with human beings; all the creeks and rivers had dried out and so everybody went down to the city to beg for food if nothing else.
Aside from the farm, my Dad owned the lone barber shop in the city; it used to be flocked with all the men around for their periodic hair cuts. That barber shop was called Capitol Barber Shop and it had twelve barber shop seats with the corresponding twelve barbers. But at this time of great famine all the seats were empty for half a year already and all the barbers had stopped working for a long time. My Dad was the sole person who would still go there for some "accidental" clients who were strangers from far away lands that had not been affected by the drought and who had just visited to tour or visit relatives in the city.
The role of the stray dog
This day was two weeks had passed since my Dad's last client. His family had not been eating for three days but water to drink. His family was my Mum, 16-year-old Uncle Beyoy and himself and he was the lone breadwinner. Hair cut at that time was 20 cents( in Philippine pesos) per head; that amount could already buy them 10 gantas(one ganta is almost two kilos) of corn grits that would last them for ten days. Corn grits in stores at that time were 50% government subsidy and was imported from other places in the Philippines that had not been affected by the drought.
It was lunch time when Mum sent Uncle Beyoy to the barber shop to ask money from Dad to buy rice however Dad had no money and Mum was dying impoverished.
Out of desperation Dad went out at the back of the barber shop where there was an enclosure; that back space was also the back of the sole Chinese restaurant that opened at the time. Once there, Dad knelt down and prayed to his God. He prayed aloud and was crying when a stray dog came out of the blue and bumped him.
That dog stole one big slice of ham from the restaurant but to my Dad's knowledge there was no opening from that space towards the restaurant. Dad stood up to have a good look at the dog but it fled away leaving behind the big unscathed slice of ham. Uncle Beyoy went home with the ham.
The long-haired American
It was around 5:00 that afternoon when Dad had lost hope for any client for the hair cut; so he started closing the opening of the barber shop. Just as Dad put the last piece of the five flat lumbers that served as the door, a white man knocked and said, "Am I too late?"
My Dad was tearful while cutting the hair of the white man, who he learned was an American media man. When the job was done, the American handed him a 20-dollar bill. My Dad was suddenly saddened; such money was a fortune; he could buy a 5-year supply of corn grits for his family from its equivalent to pesos. But now, it seems that he will just have to offer for free the hair cut. There was no way that such amount could be changed.
But the American insisted that he accept the money and told him to try going around for a change. Dad went around for one hour but nobody would change 20 dollars into pesos. One dollar at that time was equivalent to 10 pesos and the minimum monthly salary for workers was 200 cents or 2.00 (two pesos per). That 20-dollar bill was 100 pesos or 50-month salary.
My Dad finally gave up and just went back to his barber shop after an hour of going around. Naturally, the American had gone away. My Dad waited for the American to come back the following day and many more days onwards; weeks, months, years, and the drought had ended and the farms had produced but there was not a shadow of the American that came back.
Well, these could not be miracles, perhaps just coincidences especially for non-believers but for my Dad they were miracles and because he believed in those incidents as miracles; many of such types happened in his life until he became one of the landed Landlords and wealthy man in the city.
Sometimes faith comes to us because of one coincidence that we translate as miracles and that we believe it as such wholeheartedly.