Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Short Story

The boat is actually about 7 kilometers from Carmen and 9 from Danao. There are a few hardware stores there where some paint, wood, nails, sandpaper, paint thinner, masking tape, etc can be had. Any real supplies come from Cebu city an hour's bus ride away. Actually there are 4 hardware stores within 2 blocks just off the terminal square. Like Portales, except instead of a court house, it is the terminal for the buses, tricycles and pedicabs all in lines for each direction and destination.

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

This is kinda like, "Remember to stop and smell the flowers along the way."

1 comment:

  1. That is a great story! It is why you are having a great trip on your boat, you stop and meet the people. Proud to have you for a brother! Love you, Sherry