There were mornings I didn’t want to get up from bed. This was one of those mornings.


Night Rain

It rained during the night. I fell asleep to the soft, intricate maracas-like sounds of raindrops falling on the co-goon grass roof of our small and humble cottage. The rhythmic sounds were further made into tight percussion riffs by the crickets and night crawlers chirping, by the tiny fruit bats with their syncopated chomping on “kapas-sanglay” fruit, and by the herd of cicadas playing their inebriating kazoo music from the stand of acacia trees.


Gardenia – Rosal

I woke up to the familiar, musky, animal dropping laced smell of freshly soaked ground – a parched patch of earth that once stood arid and dry for many weeks. The ground percolated and came alive with the rich water infusion, loosening small boulders and clods into mud, awakening the docile earthworms already on the job, laboriously digging, burrowing, all the while leaving round, marble-shaped mud mounds in their wake.

The pervasive scent of flora came from the gardenia, its white blossoms giving out that sweet, unadulterated perfume. Then there were the sweet-sop trees, their branches sagging under the weight of ripening fruit. The guavas, pomelo trees, and goose berries added to the


Atis – SweetSop

overall garden aroma, accented only by the blooming orchids hanging in their coconut husk nests.

From my cot bed I filled my lungs with healthful rain-cleansed morning air. The spectacular sunrise burst out in splendor lighting up the morning firmament; I wasn’t moved. I just wanted to linger and lounge on my cot bed, wax the grateful dead, oblivious


Pan de Sal

to life itself and remaining zombie-like.

And so I tarried, half-asleep, but enjoying the smell of freshly brewing roasted-rice coffee. I heard the familiar cry, “Pan de Sal,”… “Pan de Sal,”… the Doppler effect taking over the sound fading into the distance.

The Ice Cream Vendor

Fidel's Ice Cream

“Scorn ye not man’s humble trade.”

In the oppressive heat he presented a welcome sight. His product, made from fruits in season, tasted delicious and smelled fragrant. He called it “sorbetes,” from the word sorbet or sherbet as I later would learn.

The ice cream cart had bells hung like Christmas ornaments on the three ornately designed covers of the ice cream metal tube containers. From a kilometer away I heard him coming with those brilliant and crisp sounding bells.

Everybody knew everybody in our small town. People knew where they fit in the social and economic strata. The ice cream vendor belonged to the working class. He wasn’t invited to many of the ostentatious social gatherings. He toiled and tried other fruit and nut blends, improving his product with each passing day. Always friendly he smiled and listened to his customers amassing information he used to ultimately improve his ice cream.

The ice cream vendor recently passed away. A short footnote in the local newspaper summarized his brief stay in this world. No names mentioned, just his humble trade that served as his identity. No one noticed his absence from the business square much. As one of his most appreciative customers I most certainly did. His two sons whom he sent through college from his ice cream vending income retired the ice cream cart and opened a bigger ice cream parlor. They franchised their father’s business and expanded it to the three neighboring towns.

Not a bad record of accomplishment for a lowly ice cream vendor. With our active participation, we make society whole. With our lives purposefully lived we make the world go round.