The Real Tartoussi

Paul Humphreys, the rock synthesizer in OMD-Crush, Stoney Jackson, who played Aaron in “Tales from the Crypt” and Abu Fares, a man of obscure talents were all born on the same day today, many years ago.

It was an eerie night in that abode by the sea. The winds were howling like a pack of famished wolves. A forgotten open shutter was screaming on its hinges somewhere in a nearby house. Heavy waves were pounding the beaches and a blinding rain was drenching the sleepy town. Power and telephone lines were down. The pitch black of night was incessantly pierced by blinding flashes of lightening, when all of a sudden, I decided to come to this world. Luckily for mother, there was a doctor in the house. She woke him up around 4:00AM and broke the news. “It’s time”, she said. Then and there, in that bygone western bedroom with a veranda overlooking the eternal sea, the youngest of four was born at the hands of his father.

Legend has it that I was a difficult child. As soon as I started crawling I wanted to get out of the door. So be it, they thought. They placed a small park (cage) on the stairs landing and put me in. There, the rest of the family could go on with their daily lives without being constantly pestered by my loud crying. The staircase faced west and from ground level up an array of small windows gave me a perfect aquatic view.

My earliest memories involve the sea. I have no idea when I first learned how to swim. I was still at a pre-school age when I was liberated to fritter most of the summer days with the neighborhood boys on a short stretch of beach not very far from home. Someone would fetch me eventually and bring me a Zaatar or a Labne sandwich. To try and get me home before sunset was to no avail.

Although I came from an eminent and mannerly family, I chose to grow up on the streets, on the beach and in the countryside of Tartous. Sending me to boarding school was the least my parents could do to ingrain some civility in me. Even that could not hold me for long though. My siblings stayed true to their proper upbringing and made it all the way to complete their formal education in the Franco-Lebanese system. I was held for only five years, when all involved realized the futility in aspiring for more. I was released unconditionally.

My homecoming to Tartous was my first personal triumph in life. When I left again, it was my second success and it was an exciting journey to America. I returned as simply as I had left, by my own choice, and Tartous would never leave me even when I go away now and again. I am not only a tartoussi, I have accomplished the most challenging feat of all: I am The Real Tartoussi.

There’s a storm brewing out there, it’s 4:00AM and I’ve just turned one year older.

chocolate-icecream cake for Abu Fares


Dubai Jazz said…
And here are 30 rounds in the air from my AK 47 for the occasion of Abu Fares's birthday...:)
Happy birthday...
I love celebrating them, although they are reminders of our relentless aging process....
Robin said…
Happiest of Birthdays Abu Fares!! Have a GREAT one and may you blow out all your candles on your first try and get ALL your wishes (hehehe, wondering what they are :))
Anonymous said…
I had been waiting for that as I had some questions. However the true story is quit close to what I had imagined.
Still as a gift can I say how you must be as a person.
You must be a very true person. Not ashamed of affirming who you are yet taking into consideration not to offend the other.
You could make up some soft lies but when it comes to real ones you are not that talented.
Very open to others, other cultures, you also settle very easily in different life situations. You love to flee but need to have your anchor settled there where you belong (this applies to many aspects of your life).
You have the perfect combination of pride and modesty. Modesty must be your way of life. In it you find your true balance.Why? because you are that way but also because in the modest milieux or in a modest affirmation your prevail!
You are from those people who know how to enjoy and find the beautiful aspects of life. however , I imagine you must be a little lazy (of course not when it comes to your own projects) and tend to let the others carry the load if you feel they wouldn't mind much doing it.
Lost between two worlds your groing attachment to your roots is because things have been changing and you feel the more you hang on to it, the better you will safeguard it.
How close am I?
Anonymous said…
Happy Birthday Abu Fares, hope its a blessed, fruitful year - care to share the year of birth? :))

Cake looks lovely, dont tell me Umm Fares made it!!! Then you'll have to share the recipe, for sure! Chocolate ice-cream cake, Yummmmmmy!!!
Abufares said…
Hello Dubai Jazz
Thank you for your wishes and for your AK47 Meshet.
We're getting older by the day... so true.
Abufares said…
Hello Robin
You made my day.
Thank you so much for sharing. I'm afraid it took me a few blows to get all the candles of and I almost forgot to wish something, almost but not quite.
Abufares said…
Lost somewhere
You're pretty damn close. And I have to hand you this, you were right on all counts. I have either over-exposed myself on this blog, or you're one hell of a smart lady. Of course it could be both of the above or that you have your own little secret.
Whatever it is, please let me know as you have certainly grabbed my attention and got the best of my curiosity.
Tell me about you...
Abufares said…
Hi my dear Lujayn
Thank you for your wishes. However, I am 3etban on you. I have included two very easy clues for anyone to get my year of birth right. Don't tell me I'm not worth the effort.
As for the cake, Om Fares bought me from "City Sweet" in Tartous my favorite and a very delicious chocolate ice-cream cake. She had also baked her own Orange cake and prepared some Creme Caramel which was delicious. She made me small pizzas, mana2ish, tabbouleh and spaghetti. I know I've forgotten a thing or two:)))
The Syrian Brit said…
Happy Birthday, my friend..
21 again?...
I sincerely hope that the cominng year, and every year after it would be filled with happiness, prosperity, and good health..
(You know what they say: you're only as old as the woman you feel!..)
Take care, mate.. and have one for me..
Karin said…

Wishing you only the VERY VERY BEST dear friend ... and that ALL you wish for - will come true!!
Abufares said…
Hi Syrian Brit
Thank you for dropping in on my BDp arty. I would love to feel a 21-year old woman but I'm under surveilance.
Thanks for your wishes.
Abufares said…
Thank you for singing for me. I know you have a pretty voice.
I have very few wishes. If one or two come true then I've got it made.
Write soon.
Anonymous said…
1960, ya Abu Fares. Walaw, shou not worth it??? :)) Ba3dak shabab!

Saha w hana, sounds like a feast.
GraY FoX said…
wleee, thank God i came at the right time to catch up with a piece of the heavenly yumO chocolate cake
ouch , where are my manners
Happy Birthday Abu Fares
3bal el 126 in wealth , happiness, love , and creativity :D
and thanks for letting us enjoy your ZEN-like birthday tale :D

since you told me once that you are a handsome 20 years old dude , i was wondering, you have become 21 , right :P ??

Happy Birthday again, wal 3omr el madeed al sa3eed for you inshallah :D
Dubai Jazz said…
I guess I was carried out by cocking my 'fire arm' and forgot to wish you happy, prosperous and healthy year ahead...
A question Abu Fares, would you deem your returning to Tartous from the US as a second triumph? (hearing your answer is of a great personal interest to me)...
And now, please allow me to utilize this only channel of communication with Lujayn and pass a quick one:
Lujayn, your comment was noted, nice theatrical performance!
I second Abu Fares on the 'intelligent' nature of your writings, I meant no sarcasm whatsoever, you may re-read mine with an eye out for humor...
Start blogging from home...:)
Abufares said…
Hi Lujayn
Sorry I'm late in replying to your comment. I was out of town and I've just returned to find that my regular access to blogspot has been blocked. I just worked around it. Allah Ykaberlon 3a2lon.

Anyway, you didn't have to say it out loud:) Just kidding!
So now that you know, do I have any chance, disregarding of course the other obvious problems...:)))
Abufares said…
Hi Gray Fox
Thank you for your wishes and I'm sorry to tell you that I Tle3et Bi Kel Aleb Al Bouza.
I'm legally an adult. That's all I can say...
As if it matters anymore after Lujayn Fada7etni.
Abufares said…
Hi Dubai Jazz
It was a personal triumph for me to return. The important thing is that it led to my eventual win of the Grand Prix. After all these years, I'm starting to believe that I have not only made an emotional choice but the right one as well.
Thank you for the wishes.
Anonymous said…
kul sana wa inta tayib Abu Fares!
Abufares said…
Wa Inti Taybeh Ya Taybeh:)
Unknown said…
Happy birthday dear Abu Fares, i hope you made the best of it!

i feel so sad that my comment lost yesterday as i am facing problems with Aya net thing!!

i hope you enjoyed the food, and i hope you danced with Om Fares ;-)

3o'bal el 1oo sineh.
Anonymous said…
Abu Fares,
Of course you're exposed through your blog! And I'm certain you're not surprised if not enjoying the "Abu Fares revisited" (and especially by "close"strangers). But I have to tell you that I am very knew to your blog and haven't been through your prior posts!
Always looking forward to read more!
Abufares said…
3azizati Sham
Wish you were here.
As expected, I over-ate. Om Fares and I didn't have a chance. This is the first time in years my BD is celebrated officially. So we had company and I had to leave early in the morning to Damascus and return. I yawned to give them all a hint but it didn't work. I practically fell asleep before the guests left. Now, I'm too tired from driving the round trip to DAM.
There will be another day.
Abufares said…
Lost somewhere
Seeing you here indeed makes me very happy. But you know what! It's not fair that you're not blogging. The exchange will be much more exciting when I know you through the written word, as you know me... that's all.
You should blog, I would love to know you better.
Ihsan said…
How come my comment of yesterday didn't show up? Where is my cake!?

Now I can only say happy belated birthday Abu Fares....You are one of the most home/origin-proud people I have ever known....
Abufares said…
Hi Ihsan
I didn't get your comment of yesterday. Thank you for your wishes. I really appreciate it.
Pride without prejudice my friend, that's the real thing:)
Syrianita said…
yeeee So sorry for being late Abu Fares wishing you a very happy birthday.
all the best wishes and may you keep on surprising us with your amazing lovely posts for a 100 coming years :)
Abufares said…
Wala Yhemmek Soraya
Thank you for your wishes. No BD is complete without you.
3a2bal Far7etek!
Anonymous said…
The obvious problems of your wife and my boyfriend (from your side of the woods, by the way)? For sure!! :)))
Anonymous said…
mmmm, happy birthday! I stumbled cross this blog while searching the web for information regarding arish, in a moment marked by that certain kind of hunger only labne or arish can sate. I have discovered myself an insant addict to this blog... and still haven't located the mention I came here looking for. What a beautiful blog, and have a wonderful year!
Yazan said…
am late, but...
kul 3am w enta be alf kher ya abu fares.

tonight, we will drink for u all the way in tokyo!!

Abufares said…
Hi Lujayn
You can't blame a guy for trying, even if it's hopeless:)
Abufares said…
Hello Bethany
Thank you for the BD wishes.
I'm the lucky one for sure to mention the word Arish just once in my post "For the Love of Shanklish". If you still care to read it, you might learn everything you've ever wanted to know about Shanklish.
I'm honored, and again many thanks.
Abufares said…
Hello Yazan
You're never late. Since it's Thursday, the party should start tonight in this part of the world. have one for me. I'll do the same and drink your toast.
Anonymous said…
I'm a harmless flirt at heart, so no worries! :))

My work ethic has really taken a hike, eh? Work beckons, ciao!
Dubai Jazz said…
You've just been tagged, guess by whom!
Dubai Jazz said…
Lujayn, you've also been tagged, and given the limits communication imposed by your anon status, I will leave it up to you to decide where and when to respond, cheers!
Abufares said…
Dubai Jazz
I think we are breaking new grounds here. I just answered your Tag and your Own Blog.
Do you think we should patent this approach?
I'm very excited...
the possibilities, the expecatations, the disappointments... it's an open-end book.
Arab Lady said…
may the new year bring u happiness n peace & of course money!
Abufares said…
Wa Anti Bi Kheir ya arablady.
Thank you for your wishes & the very best to you.
Dubai Jazz said…
Abu Fares, you always manage to come up with something brilliant within no time!
I also think we should patent this new breakthrough in the world of blogging...
How about calling it: "The self-contained, short-range, dating launch-pad"?
I think that would be a significant enrichment to the jargon of the cyberspace....
However, I am still excited to see what Razan and Lujayn are going to come up with!
Anonymous said…
Not commenting much on your blog lately, but reading it all the time.
Happy Birthday
Abu Abdo

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