No one hardware store seems allowed to have in-stock all of the requirements on any given day. In fact, lots of days come up short all together! I was after 240 and 400 grit sandpaper ("Only buy Nikken brand", the boys said) and on the previous trip 3 days before I had bought the last of the 240 in Danao. They were still out!
This means I usually walk the 1/2 mile out to the hi-way, wait for a tricycle (small Honda motorcycle with sidecar) 5 to 10 minutes then the 15 minute ride to town. They slow down by every pedestrian begging for passengers on the way. They usually take me to the terminal. I then walk the square back to the hardware store that I think has the best chance of supplying the days wants.
On one corner, just off the square, between two of the hardwares is a small motor rewinding shop. An older gentleman (older than me a few years anyway) usually sits or is standing in front. I always smile and wave or say "Maayung boontag" or "Good morning" as I go by. As one human being acknowledges the existence of another.
A while back he insisted I stop a minute and talk. Rudy, he is, was impressed that I always am rushing back an forth, in a hurry, but can find the time to say "Hi". He's a very personable guy with surprisingly good English. And so I rush on again after the brief introduction and visit.
A couple weeks ago the wet-dry vacuum dies again. This time the motor needs a new bushing. A friend had given me his old vacuum cause it had suffered an inept re-winder who broke the commutator. Ahh, an opportunity to patronize Rudy's family shop. So off to Danao again. I wander over to Rudy's, show him the broken motor and ask if he can get it repaired. "No I cannot. But I have a friend that is better than I am." and he not only gave me directions to his friends house, but he wrote an letter of introduction! I was shocked! But then again, I wasn't really. This was Rudy who singled me out because I seemed to respect an old man. Well I dropped off the motor and we'll see if his friend can get the part.
A few days later as I go by looking for tape this time I think it was. Rudy pops up, the usual greeting and I tell him about the motor. He insists I sit a minute, he has something. He comes back a minute later with a sketch pad and a pencil. Says he's going to sketch me. Ugly as I am, he proceeds with the below. I am pleased but I can't think what to do. With a friendship growing, I couldn't cheapen it with an offer of money for the sketch, so I just said "Thank you very much, kind Sir" and had to get on with the shopping. I stopped and picked up a few charcoal pencils and a new sketch pad, but that wasn't nearly enough so I took them home and thought about it a while. Then I noticed he signed his full name on the sketch. It was an easy name to do in wire, so I set to writing his name in stainless steel wire.
I hadn't needed anything from the hardware for several days, but today I got a ride in with a friend who has a car. I said I had an unusual stop but he could come along if he wanted. I presented Rudy with the wire, "Rudy C. Cal" and he was speechless. Says no one has ever given him a personalized hand crafted gift before. I thought he was going to cry for a minute there. Rich went on to the hardware store for his stuff and was back in a few minutes. Rudy was still so excited. He sat Rich down and did his sketch too. Then he recited a poem/love letter he had written for a writing contest. It was null and unusual, but no way can I remember it for this.
He finished the dedication on Rich's sketch then we said adieu and finished our shopping.
|"Larry" by Rudy C. Cal|