Sugar Cane 

An old Mexican man who lived in our neighborhood used to give my cousins and I raw sugar cane. He’d bring them out in a shopping cart and motion for us to take some each time we passed his house.

The first time he brought them to us, we didn’t know how to get to the sugar. He showed us how to peel back the skin with weathered gentle hands. 

Our favorite thing to do was take our treat down to the creek bed. We’d kick off our shoes and run through the water, sugar cane in hand. When we were catching frogs we’d stick the cane in the dirt, standing upright. 

On our way back home we’d knaw on the cane, ever thankful for having something to hold us over until we made it home for dinner. 

The man with the cane didn’t know much English, and we never even learned his name. But each day he was there with his seemingly endless supply of sugar cane. 

Until one day he wasn’t. 

Wherever he is now, I hope he knows how much sweetness he brought into our lives each and everyday. Not just with sugar, but in the way he gave and gave and never asked for a thing in return. 


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