Lolo Terio was a very sturdy, tall, dark-tanned man. He used to meet us at the Abra River raft landing area to help us with our load of raw leather that Mother was bringing for him to tan.
He carried me astride his shoulders as he waded in the knee-deep mud while his cart pulled by a carabao carried my mother with the raw hides that Father preserved with a lot of salt and folded them like a pillow tied with bamboo strands.
He, like Grandma Inga, was always chewing “buyo,” but I did not see him smoking cigars.
His tannery consisted of a deep wide hole in the ground where he soaked the hides with lime water seasoned by barks of “Kamachili” trees.
When the hides were soft enough he would pull them out and spread the hides on an inclined trunk of a big tree to scrape away the hair and excess fat. After that he would dry the hides on the ground by staking the sides to the ground to be stretched flat as they dried.
The process of tanning is very tedious, laborious, and obnoxious. It is considered by the Jews as an undesirable profession. I guess so, myself.
Lola Inga would try to cook the best meal to give to us but even though the meal would be so delicious, the obnoxious smell of fermenting or rotting meat from the tannery made one feel like vomiting. I guess the people there got used to it from childhood.
I used to watch Lola Inga iron clothes with a pot-shaped flat iron containing burning and smoking kamachili bark inside to keep it hot. Lolo would suffer not only from the heat but also from the smoke and smell of the fuel. How I wish they were alive today to see a smokeless flat iron and an odorless tannery!
Like my other grandparents, they died around 60 years of age, before I became ten years old. May they rest in peace.