A story: Tis the season of olive, olive oil, rose water, flower water, pomegranate molasses…
A story: Tis the season of olive, olive oil, rose water, flower water, debs of pomegranate
The month of October witnesses ambulatory sellers of olive, olive oil, rose water (maa2 ward), flower water (maa2 zaher), pomegranate molasses (debs al roummaan)…
Ambulating in cars, carrying all these products in the back seat, the trunk and stopping at every person walking and at every house their companions told them the resident might buy.
They have their well-oiled stories ready and an updated version every year.
Every year, they pay us visits and we got to know every slight versions of their stories.
Their father has passed away and they want you to pray for his soul, and in return they insist on taking for free a kilo of olive. Then they hand you a couple of bottles of rose water, flower water and asks you to pay whatever your compassion is worth. If the amount of money is small, they hand you a bottle of pomegranate molasses and hope the cash will increase substantially.
Obviously, they try to sell you their diluted olive oil, with whatever the business this year is adding to the oil, and claim that the price is ridiculously low and we better take advantage of their presence and offer.
I always defer them to my old mother to handle them: She can wear them out, but most of the time she ends up buying a 5-gallon olive oil, knowing very well that her son-in-law will get upset and remind her that this oil is faked and…
Another version of the story is that their father is in the hospital, a land mine blew his leg off while tending his field. And they have no health insurance and the hospital is demanding thousand of dollars as deposit or advance payment.
Once, a familiar seller sent someone to tell us that he passed away and then we saw him the next year, very alive and turning out his standard story.
Last day, I was returning walking from the library, which turned out to be closed, and one of them season ambulatory driver stopped and saluted me:
How are you doing? Do you remember me? I am from your hometown and had to move to another town a couple of years ago.
No, I don’t know you and never saw your face before
Do you know the potter?
You mean Fawzi? ( the only remaining master artisan in town that had 6 families working in that business a couple decades ago).
Yes, we are his relative. I am the son of Elias.
I don’t know your father or you. Do you know me?
He fake that his is responding to a call on his cellular and answer in high voice the state of his father in the hospital…
Do you know me?
He always find an excuse to avoid responding to your inquiries and stuff 2 bottles in the bag containing olive. The olive are free for your prayer and the bottles whatever your compassion is willing to pay in return…
I said that I cannot walk and carry this heavy bag in my hand… He sees that I am not paying enough and add a bottle of pomegranate molasses in the bag. I increased a little the cash and he took the money and ask for more.
I said: Take out all the bottles from the bag and I keep the free olive instead.
He relented and kept whatever I gave him, but made sure to remove the pomegranate molasses. As for the rose water and flower water bottles, they way biased toward the water side. For curiosity sake, I took a whiff when I returned home, and my smell organ was unable to discriminate anything but moist water.
I walked home for another mile, carrying an oily bag and short on some cash. And the return home was hot and I arrived swimming in sweat.
Taking the bright side of this tragi/comic adventure, I decided to share my story. Finally, I had this opportunity to tell the story.
Note: A hundred meters from home, Serge stopped and gave me a lift to my door. I promised to mention his name in the story