When I was a child in the mid 80’s, my father used to take me food shopping in a fruit & vegetable market. We lived in Beer-Sheva, a city situated in the Negev, in the heart of the Israeli desert. The city is surrounded by unrecognized Bedouin villages, comprised of tents, shacks and stone houses. Their semi-nomad-Arab culture and lifestyle has shaped the spirit of the outdoor market where we used to shop.
Grocers would loudly compete for the customers ears, shouting catchy slogans in Hebrew and Arabic.
The smell of freshly cut melon or strawberries would flow into my nose and hypnotize me.
Even now while typing these words, I can feel these smells in my nasal canals. I remember trying to get my father’s eye, his approval, after one of the Bedouin grocers would hand me a piece of fresh watermelon, with a nicotine warm smile.
It’s a trust building ceremony which enfolds the basic principles of human psychology. A watermelon represents the unknown, and thus the grocer has to provide us with a sense of certainty.
So he cuts a slice from a twin watermelon and lets the client’s child taste it. The sensual pleasure serves as the sales pitch stage. My father nods, I taste the sweet watermelon concentratedly as the juice slides down my neck. My father enjoys my happiness and bingo, he pulls the coins from his pocket. A win win situation.
This multi-sensory rendezvous from the market is still well burnt in my memory, 37 years later.
Thus it is no wonder that I take my kids nearly every week to the nearby Bedouin village to buy fruits and veggies. This warm hearted grocer does similar tricks with them. He showers them with a sweet date, lets them dip their hands into a pile of fresh berries and they “buy it”. So I buy from him, and we all love it.
That’s the lifecycle of love. It departs from the sender’s heart, records in the innkeeper’s senses, and always finds its way to the destination’s heart.
There is not even one day that goes by without them having a fruit or a vegetable. Even if a chocolate or a candy visit their mouth that day…
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