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Tuesday, 08 May 2012


By Lia Hirtz

The corner store where I bought my sweet bread as a child was owned by a man named Abraham. He was a round pink fellow in his mid-sixties. Except for a silver puff of fur on the back of his head, he was totally hairless.

His torso was vast but his arms and legs were thin and long. His bulbous nose, because of a heavy drinking habit, was a purplish hue with rivulets of deep crimson veins. He reminded me of an exotic beetle.

I never knew if he was friend or foe. He not once made eye contact with me. All he ever said was, “What do you want?” He was a total enigma.

Abraham was forever fiddling with his yellowish, six-inch, pinkie nail which he used expertly like a Swiss Army knife. With it, he opened soda bottles, he cut precise wedges of stinky cheese from the big wheel that sat on the counter-top swarming with flies. He speared trash and other stuff from the floor and it was a great inner-ear scratcher.

For me, this nail meant bread. With a sweaty palm, holding my 20 cents tightly, I asked him for my favorite piece of chocolate covered sweetness. Without hesitation, Abraham opened the box and artfully harpooned the soft bread with his home-grown dagger. Delighted, I made the exchange and left.

Abraham and his wife, Dorotea, lived across the street from our home in Mexico.

Throughout the hot season, he closed the store for a three-hour lunch and siesta. During these hours of sustenance and repose, Abraham overindulged in the sweet elixir of wine. His usual reserved behavior became erratic and Dorotea became irate.

While Abraham briefly napped and to keep him from going back into the store pumped with alcohol, a pissed-off Dorotea would lock all of his clothes in a closet. She would then leave to tend to the store hoping he would sleep it off.

Often, he awoke from his stupor, drunk and stripped. Thirsty for more wine but without a piece of clothing available, Abraham settled for the next best thing to shield him, a chair.

Many afternoons I saw Abraham like a new-born child, bare and rosy, walking to his store holding a chair in front of his overlapping stomach that resembled a fleshy apron. Unaware or indifferent of his exposed ruddy buttocks, he clumsily sashayed from side to side as if boogying with the chair.

The entire neighborhood came out to observe the debacle. Dorotea, sensing the murmur in the street and hairs bristled, would meet him at the door where she would beat him with a stick out of sheer frustration until her hammy arms gave out and Abraham cried.

Dorotea would patiently wait until the gawkers tired and went inside. Then, with an erect spine looking proud and unapologetic, she hurried home, fetched his clothes and dressed him.

When evening came, sermons repeated, promises made, tempers cooled, they closed the store. Devotedly, Abraham and Dorotea, arm in arm, walked home under a warm and peaceful night.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


The description of Abraham is precious. Great story, I really enjoyed reading this.

Thank You, Lia, for "Abraham" a piece of language art.

Another wonderful tale of your days in Mexico.

Your memories are so interesting and fun to read,I love when I see your name pop up.

I know it will be a story with excellent descriptions of unusual people and the things you remember about them.

This was a very good story and well written.

What a hoot!. More, more!

Superb characterization of Abraham.Keep writing so we can enjoy more of your stories.

What pictures you draw with words! Funny how no one ever got grossed out with Abraham using that pinkie nail to both clean out his ear and pick up food to give out. Yuck!

Ha, ha, ha! Yuck is right! Abraham was part of life. People weren't that picky and probably that clean! I'm sure some people avoided his store, but I didn't know any better. Thank you all for your comments.

Wow! What a story! Hard to beieve it is real.

Funny funny memoire Rosaly, Had Abe been conducting buisness here in the States, the health inspectors would've shut him down, the Cops would've hand cuffed him and thrown him in the can for public indecensy. But never the less sounds like he had that special touch for the flavor crystals that came from his hometown baking, jaja. And who's to say that spear like nail only roamed the ear canal? Could as well been other canals and crevices in his abundant mass of a man that He was, Good Ole Abe & Dorothy very well Jerry Springer and or Maury Povich Material. Good material great story Prima, Well done. :D

Great writing and imagery..tops all the long suffering partners of "hard drinking" males I have ever heard of..Yuck on the long nail thing too...you have some strange scenes rattling around, can't wait for more...

Terrific - good to laugh at how precious we are nowadays re hygiene! But also a lovely story of a relationship able to weather difficult personalities - thank you for that.

Hahaha!!! I really enjoyed your story Lia. As I'm reading you transferred me to the town, pictured myself in front of him buying the bread. Innocently eating it not caring weather it was clean or dirty!!! Write more friend, loved it!!!

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