“Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”–Robert Benchley
We have a house full of animals. At the present we have a very manageable three dogs, two horses and one cat. OK, the horses are in the back yard, not the house. You get the picture. In the past we have had chickens, guinea hens, turkeys (both wild and domestic), rabbits, hedgehogs a rooster and a donkey. I had to put my foot down regarding the latter two. I work from a home office. The noises coming from our backyard wrecked havoc while I was on the phone making business calls. It sounded like I was selling farm supplies out of a silo in Iowa.
OK, I knew there would be animals in my household. I signed on for that. But Cheryl doesn’t just collect animals. She collects other veterinarians. They come here; they live with us. They stay for a few days, weeks, months, or in a couple of notable cases, years. They come from all over the world: from Venezuela…Columbia…Chile…Afghanistan…Turkey…The Philippines…all over. If there were Martian veterinarians we would have housed one by now. Just for variety, we also had a law student from Beijing. Never mind how or why they have landed in our hacienda; I could write an entire book on the characters that have lived with us. But today, let’s talk about just one. Dr. Gibson Fernandez.
Ah, Gibson. He hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela where he is a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Zulia. He did an internship at my wife’s veterinary hospital back in the late 1990’s and has been spending the month of August with us every year since. He just happens to be be one of the most personable and likeable people you have ever met. I swear, he has more friends in Connecticut, just from his one month a year, than we do living here our whole lives. The phone starts ringing days before he arrives. “When is Gibson coming?” “Is Gibson there yet?” “Can Gibson come out and play?”
Gibson is smart, funny, affable and a loyal friend. Everybody loves Gibson. It seems he has but one small failing.
His English sucks. Even after fifteen years of visits and an ESL course, he still never fails to leave us in hysterics with his lingual gaffs. You think Desi Arnaz sounded funny? You ain’t heard nothing yet. On his most recent visit the three of us were in the car when we crossed over one of Connecticut’s major rivers, the Housatonic.
“Isn’t that the Titanic?” Gibson queried.
We almost drove off the road laughing. Here are three of his best gems from years gone by.
Scene #1: A warm summer’s day. Gibson comes in from the yard and proudly states, “I killed all of the Wops under the deck.”
We are presently paying the Irish mafia to protect him from the Italian mafia
Scene #2: A balmy summer’s eve. We are eating dinner out on the now Wop-free deck. Gibson licks his lips as he devours the barbecue chicken I have just finished grilling and proclaims, “Mark is a good cock!”
NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Gibson!! That’s not a complement. Well at least, not coming from you.
Scene #3: A typical day at my wife’s office. Or rather, a typical Gibson visit day. But as he and Cheryl are working up a case, the groomer is having a hard time in the next room with a rather hissy cat.
“Bad pussy! Bad pussy.” The groomer scolds the feline. Cheryl and Gibson hear this and Cheryl ignores it. But Gibson immediately goes next door, picks up the cat, and begins examining its genitals.
“What are you doing?” Cheryl asks.
“Well,” Gibson says quite seriously, “Donna said it has a bad pussy!”
It’s OK. We still love Gibson. We love him the way Lucy loved Desi, bad English and all.