So I made it to Makhoul Street (Mak7oul) in Ras Beirut, my street. Now I understand why older people tend to have that sparkle in their eyes on occasion, a hesitant tear is the sparkle and yet, often, even the tear is smiling. The sight, the smell and the sounds awaken memories, among other things, of one's youth, past so many moons and suns. I guess I had my share of those and found myself at the edge of a sparkle as I entered Makhoul Street.
|The Mokhtar's office where I found Abou Faddoul's photo.|
|Abou Faddoul and his shop (a pet store in 2010).|
|A different look, miss the "jarassiyeh" and the big bell|
Abou Faddoul had red hair a Oud and a backgammon table, a general store and a bunch of friends, plus a unique air conditioning system.. I lived across the street from Abou Faddoul and looking down through the window I could see him and hear him play the oud often. On a hot lazy summer afternoon, the sun would be directly shining on his store but on the opposite side of the street, the sidewalk is shaded by a long wall that fenced in a building used as a public school. Even though it's shady, it remains very hot from the noon sun pounding on the street's asphalt. Abou Faddoul would bring a jug of water and with a right to left, left to right motion would sprinkle water on the hot blacktop. The result is a cooling evaporating effect. Now, there on the sidewalk, in the shade and the Abou Faddoul air conditioning system, Abou Faddoul and friends sit around a backgammon table.. yalla habbel yek.
The Mokhtar's office sat at the corner of Makhoul and Jeanne D'Arc streets and recently closed down since the passing of Kamal Girgi Rubeiz. This is one of the old buildings that remain on the street and there is talk of turning it into a museum of sorts. The church was modernized and now has air conditionning, The Jarassiyeh is gone and so is the big bell. The small bell remains for show. The yellow stone columns were removed, two of them are used behind the church for decoration..
What I miss the most on Makhoul Street is my grandmother's jasmine tree.
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all content © Simon Sakkab
Abou Faddoul's photo photog. is uknown. taken with permission.