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THE MOST HATED STREET VENDOR
One of the memories of my childhood in Mexico is about the street vendors in my neighborhood; it was a way of life that I grew up with.
It was not unusual to be awaken by the loud voice of the “used clothes” vendor or buyer, he would yell; “Used clothes”, “I buy used clothes”. Usually he would stop at a corner and people would come out with their old clothes, he would pay next to nothing for the clothes, sometimes he would exchange them for candy or brand new pots and pans.
One of the most colorful vendors, was the “Bird’s man” he was carrying on his back, tied up with rope, many cages and two more large cages, one on each hand, sometimes we wondered why he didn’t fall backwards, anyway, he had some of the most beautiful birds, canaries, parrots, doves, ducks, even chickens and hens and of course a big rooster; occasionally we would hear a voices coming out of the cages, “ Hello”, “Hello” or some curse words, those parrots could talk!
Next on line was the Abonero, (street credit vendor), like in “buy now, pay later on easy installments”. He pushed a large metal frame with lots of brand new clothes, most of the clothes were plain, nothing elegant but the fabrics were pretty, one of his best sellers were the aprons, all the women were excited about the aprons. If you bought something, he would give you a card with the price of the item and the amount you would have to pay weekly, there was not such a thing as credit check, he trusted everybody, of course he knew that the next time he came to collect he would show you other pretty thing and you became his customer for life.
I could go on and on… but just let me tell about the most hated street vendor, this man would show up four times a day, early in the morning when he was selling sweet tamales, porridge and breakfast bread, later on he showed up with a shinny glass box containing
gelatins, chocolate or vanilla pudding, at midday there he was, with tacos, hot tamales and warm tortillas; in the evening he had a grill with large wheels and he was selling baked sweet potatoes and baked plantain bananas with honey, butter and cinnamon, yummy! The whole street smelled like that.
One day when he was selling something, my next door neighbor Jose, a little boy younger than I, said, I hate that man! Why? I asked. Why do you hate him? Well, he said, he makes my little sister cry the whole day! He comes early in the morning and yells “Tamales, porridge,” and my little sister wants some, but we do not have the money and don’t buy, so my sister cries, later on he comes yelling “Gelatins, Pudding”, the same thing happens; we don’t buy, my sister cries. When he is selling the tacos my sister is still crying and in the evening he wakes her up with “Baked sweet potatoes” I just hate him! He is bad! I agreed with Jose.
Very good images.
I would like to see a resolution at the ending but if there isn't one, that's all right too.
It brings a memory to mind, also. When I was a child, we had a Japanese vendor come through our Filipino village who cried out, "Onions!" (sounded like 'oonyawwns') in the mornings. He was bow-legged and old, so I thought. My mother never bought his onions, maybe because it was peculiar to have a Japanese person come through the Filipino part of town. The plantation workers were segregated by ethnic groups in those days.