Friday, February 3, 2012

February 3, 2012

Le Chameau

On many days my regular route from SOWA profond to Back Bay, my home base, leads up Shawmut Avenue and past The Syrian Grocery. The display window features a crazy jumble suggesting a junk shop in some seedy souk. Hookahs, omelet pans, chased brass serving trays, kitchen utensils, a Little French Chef toy cooking set, packages of dried dates and figs, pots and pans, tagines, lanterns, pot holders, candlesticks, plus a myriad of other miscellania requisite for civilized living ... and a camel saddle.

The store has been there for years, ever since the street became the center of the Boston's Syrian and Lebanese communities (Kahlil Gibran, the author of The Prophet, lived here). In the years I've been browsing, the same camel saddle has been a fixture in the window.

It became a private little joke. I'd stare in the window and think, "I guess that there's just not that much demand nowadays for camel saddles in the South End." And the thought would always make me smile (I'm easily amused).

Then the other day, surveying the Syrian window I saw ... the camel saddle was gone. I looked high and low. How could this be? After all these years ... gone. And I said under my breath, "I wonder who just bought a camel?"

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