Abu Hasan's Meager Palestinian Repast: Memories, Past and Present



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What started out as a brief recounting of the June 21, 2021, noon meal for two friends on our back porch evoked myriad memories, past and present, and sprouted too many legs, twists, and turns in the Shahrazad style.

Between 1950 and 1959 Im (mother of) Hasan (nicknamed after her first-born) delivered milk on her donkey. She would leave the Palestinian village of Beit Safa in the wee hours of the morning to deliver goat milk to some 20 Palestinian families scattered in Occupied West Jerusalem neighborhoods. Dressed in the traditional tatreezed (embroidered) Palestinian Thowb and thin linen head scarf, and riding her donkey, she cut a regal figure. The large canisters of milk dwarfed her petite stature. My twin brother and I quickly learned that when her donkey pulled his ears towards the back of his head, he was ready to kick ass.

Sometime in 1955 Abu (father) Hasan, Im Hasan’s husband, a stone mason and jack of all trades, was employed to shore up a column on the first-floor balcony at the back of our West Jerusalem, Upper Baqa’a house. During the ten days it took to finish the project, Abu Hasan’s demeanor, humility, kindness, and artistry left an indelible impact on my life. My title, Memories, Past and Present:Abu Hasan’s Meager Palestinian Repast, is a flashback and a 2021 reenactment of the partaking of his meager meals in my adopted country – 10,982 kilometers to the west.

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