A biographical novel with each chapter as a separate blog


Chapter one

The Early Beginning

It all started when I was an eight year old boy, I was trying to be happy and had all the reasons for happy childhood , but I was not except when I would immerse myself by helping my father working in our ranch.When it was time to spray the insecticide , my father would wake me and my brother up by grabbing our toes and yanking them: “ get up , it's time to work' Theh he would recite a famous Arabic poem: “ ya ayohal muttabbido, hatta mata fakal aserrati tarkudu”; “Oh ye worshipper until when will y”ou lay in bed...the jist of it is that it is time to pray get up, but to my father another form of worship was taking care of our fruit orchard. However around four AM he would put his finger on his lips again, but this time so we could listen to the faint Athan call of prayer coming from mosques in the town above us Boarej, and the town below us Kub Elias the agricultural exporting hub of the Bekaa valley. When we were not working at the ranch, the smell of Arabic coffee, laced with cardamom, would wake me up at three o’clock in the morning, I would join my father at the kitchen table by the window, and he would pour me a drop, but put his finger on his lips indicating that should be quiet so I won’t wake up my mother and my little brother sleeping next to her. My mother would sleep she was very ill, she would spend the night coughing and spitting out stuff, occasionally vomiting, her illness progressed so bad , she would faint as she is bring us our milk and toast for breakfast , powdered milk that she would stand on her two feet for an hour to make, Once she fainted and fell and all the milk was all over the floor my father would clean the mess, and ask me to help, was
Our ranch consisting of Starken, Golden, Sugar and Bush apples, grapes with one tree yielding two tons of grapes, peaches with one tree yielding between 750 and 100 lbs of peaches, pears, cherry, and plum trees, forming the canals that will bring the ater to them. d child, digging, tilling the soil forming the circle ponds around the apple,pear, plum, peach, and cherry trees, not to mention the wild cherry trees that popped up on their own which we would pick and make a cherry drink out of them. As an early teenager I enjoyed working with my father tilling the soil by hand with weeding,extracting rocks from the muddy dirt I enjoyed assisting my father in when my father took me hunting with him for the first time, around our village Elmreijat Bekaa Lebanon, it was my first exposure to the great outdoors surrounding our village, the mountains, the wadis , valleys etc, matching the three hundred sixty degree view of the Bekaa Valley from our balcony.

My first hunting trip with my father was in the fall and the vineyards surrounding our town, laden with ripe grapes, figs, berries and all kinds of wild edible grasses. We would stop and eat some. We also hunted along the foot trails in the terraced apple and all other fruit orchards leaves were turning yellow.

My father was one of the owners of such glorious apple orchards which in the sixties and up the early seventies exported up six thousand, thirty-four pounds (seventeen kilos) boxes of red, Starken, and Golden apples to the Persian Gulf nations, while we ate the sugar and bush apples. “best time to hunt the wood cock” said my father , but also there were many other birds like thrushes and polar birds that immigrate from Russia to Lebanon creating a bottle neck effect, where every Lebanese house hold had a hunting rifle some even shooting from balconies when huge flocks of ( Taibat) the pigeon sized bird with long wings black back white belly , a long beak and a plume sticking out behind its head. In snowy days these flocks would cover the sky and so their spiraling fall from it as they are struck by buck shot, as they tumble to the ground. like world war two aircraft in a dogfight. We ate them we ate them all, Taibat was lean red meat best cooked for along simmer with beans in a stew.

We would go hunting on Saturdays and Sundays and bring home thrushes, larks and various types of sparrows, and my mother would wake up at four in the morning on Mondays and Tuesdays to fry them with potatoes and garlic for our breakfast before we go to school. However, although we also shot thrushes in the fall and winter.