Khok: Missing rolling greengrocers

Sira-Sira Store

I look back to the days of long ago when rickety pushcarts asserted themselves on busy city streets.

Be-hatted drivers of such carts, built with a patchwork of tired lumber and limp plywood, positioned themselves where human traffic was sure to flow.

The rolling greengrocers loaded their carts with fruits in season and fruits available year-round. I saw a plethora of alligator pears or avocados last July waiting to be bought in a village taboan or street market.

In my B.C. days (Before Covid-19), Cebu City’s rolling greengrocers also sold avocados, and whatever was the “uso sa panahon” (trending) fruit of the wet or dry season or holiday: ponkans, green mangoes, apples, butong (young coconuts) and pineapples.

They made shopping for fruits as easy as peeling a banana; and that they also sold on their stores on homemade wheels.

I miss the rolling greengrocers crowding the sidewalk, blocking my way. I miss my old Cebu City streets now blocked by the threat of Covid-19. I miss my city, drowning out my misery with the cacophony of street commerce and honking vehicles zooming by on my way to a department store. I miss the sidewalks packed with people as in a can of sardines. A school of sardine-people plying the smoggy streets gave my beloved Cebu City its character.

I miss the mobile greengrocers who hawked their fruits as juicy and fresh, never mind if the ponkans were wrinkled, and the wedged watermelons were bruised by the afternoon sun. I miss the vision of sliced watermelons, like defiant smiles against sweltering adversity.

I miss my city streets. I miss the defiant rolling greengrocers who remind me to fight back even if it means only flashing a watermelon smile in the sun.


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