The Mango Story
by S. A. Ward
The sun’s rays danced amongst the lonely clouds cascading across the sky. Casting their shadows onto the denizens of Panama, granting a brief moment of escape from the humid heat. Off in the distance one could see mountains being a visible backdrop for miles upon miles. Harboring a soul touching elegance, accompanied by an array of enchanting tropical trees that swayed from the graceful breeze. The ocean left one to fall into a state of wanderlust, a marvel of mother nature and her ethereal beauty.
In May of 1975 Panama Central America, my mother Dafne Garcia just turned 7. She had curly and sunshine laced hair, a soul more pure than the oceans of heaven. Eyes that bring you trust for the future and solace for the moments riddled with uncertainty. A smile so bright you would think it’s a sunrise.
At this moment, she could be found playing in their modest backyard with her beloved chicken Eugene. The two ran together, Eugene seeming a little puzzled at times as to what to do, giving his periodic chirps, although one could see the mutual happiness. Dafne’s joyous laughter was so pure, unbound by the world’s judgement as she lived her heartfelt life. “Come on Eugene! Come on!” They skipped playfully, running down the worn concrete driveway. A harpy eagle was perched high in a nearby tree, Dafne and her feathered friend were oblivious to the eagle’s presence. She was no threat, merely observing them and seeming as a rogue guardian. An orchestra of calls from the local wildlife hummed in the background; insects and birds contributing to the grand symphony of life. A rabbit scurried along the safety of their yard’s fence and the bushes aligned against it.
The two made their way back to the grassy yard and Dafne fell intentionally, letting out love and joy for the present moment. She grabbed Eugene and placed him into her lap, embracing her feathered friend and holding him close to her heart. The love she had for him was so genuine, though they could not speak with one another, they knew each other. “Let’s go inside Eugene, I am hungry.” She picked him up and held him in the nook of her armpit.
Her family’s life wasn’t without hardship, oftentimes it was a struggle and uncertainty claimed their minds. They lived in a modest home, humble and appreciative of what they had, grateful of their blessings. Toys were a rarity, as were new clothes and made do with what they had. They found the wanderlust and infinite potential within what most take for granted and ordinary. Realizing the truth we long for, was and is always before us.
Dafne had four siblings, her oldest sister was Sarah. Her two other sisters were Bennie and Mirna then she had a younger brother named Pablo. Her father was a man of strong will and self sufficiency. He did what needed to be done to provide for his family. Their mother was old fashioned in her ways, classical values and gender roles. She made for a profound mother, nurturing and offering her wisdom when it was necessary. The two worked tirelessly and honestly to give their children a better life than they had. They owned a little grocery store and had a small amount of livestock to look after, which provided them with more products to sell.
Young Dafne had Eugene held close as she walked up to her father in the kitchen and tugged on his left pant leg, “Papa, can I have a mango?”
He looked at his daughter, evoking a soft and peaceful smile as though he knew he was looking into the eyes of an angel, “Little one, you’re going to get sick or become a mango if you keep eating them so much.”
She stammered her feet, eager as ever to be blessed with another mango, “Eugene and I love mango Papa!”
He let out a reserved huff and smiled at her, “I know you do.”
Dafne smiled wide and bright as ever, “I’ll trade you my dimple for a mango Papa.”
His smile grew brighter as well and proceeded to pick her up, bringing her to eye level, “Is that right? Sounds like a fair trade my child, let’s get you two some mangoes.”
Dafne and Eugene were blessed with more mangoes, her father made the decision to allow my mother to keep her dimple. He gave his love and finite time to his family day by day. Tending to them with his presence and wisdom. Like flowers in need of water, noticing even the most subtle of changes and garnering the discipline to do what was needed to make sure they blossomed. Making sure they could grow and flourish, so they could pass on the gift of love to their children.
It’s moments like these where the saying, money can’t buy everything, rings true. Priceless moments that we’d give and sacrifice so much just to relive or at the very least see one more time with our own eyes. Whether it be more time with a loved one or an old friend. Moments in our lives where pride was truly earned and where our most cherished memories dwell. Money can buy you a lot of things but the past is not one of them.