Sunday, August 22, 2010

Neighbourly labour

While saintly neighbour sat sipping ahwe with Mom and I in the kitchen on Friday afternoon, her husband, fat neighbour, knocked on the door to get a piece of newspaper from me to protect his hands while he peeled our prickly pear for us. Yip, you read right - he wanted to peel our garden's prickly pears for us, all out of the goodness of his great, big Lebanese heart.

'But we have prickly pears,' said Mom. 'Where? Show me,' said fat neighbour. 'Here, in the fridge,' said Mom, opening the big fridge door to show fat neighbour the produce Dad had picked the day before (not nearly as skillful as fat neighbour, therefore requiring the use of Mom's tweezers afterwards!). 'No, that will not do, walaw,' said fat neighbour. 'You cannot put them in the fridge unpeeled. Plus those are too ripe now. You need fresh, new ones. I will peel these for you.'

And he sits down outside our kitchen, newspaper in one hand, knife in the other, and proceeds to expertly cut off each edge of the fruit, slice a slit in the peel from top to bottom, and open up the skin to the right and left, removing the pitted, yellow flesh from the middle. All in the blink of an eye.

That's how neighbours operate here. And he didn't even take some of the stash home to feast on the fruits of his own labour. Who knows how he became fat?

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