Feliciano, The Neighborhood’s Gardener


Two days after we got married on July 12, 1980, to moved to our present home in the neighborhood of El Bosque.  I recall we heard somebody knocking at the door the next day.  “Who can that be?”, my wife asked.  “Nobody knows us around here.”

We opened the door slowly, fearing it could be somebody wanting to do us harm.  Nope, it was a strong man in his early forties, red-faced, and a bright smile.  He said, “Buenas, mi nombre es Feliciano.  Soy jardinero y puedo cortarles la hierba por $12.00 por corte.”  (Hi, my name is Feliciano.  I’m a gardener and I can trim your lawn for $12.00 a visit.)  We thanked him and paid his services for many years.  Now we have another gardener, but Feliciano is still around visiting the neighborhood and cutting the grass with his bright smile and his strong arms.

Feliciano is now 68, but still strong and with his friendly smile burned on his red face.  He’s original of a place called La Pintada in the countryside.  At day break you can see him walking down the neighborhood with his long weed cutter on his back.  It doesn’t matter if it rains or shines, if it’s a Sunday or a National Holiday, if he’s sick or healthy.  Like a Swiss clock, he walks down the streets of the neighborhood cutting grass and trimming lawns with his bright smile on his face.

Yesterday my wife asked if he could plant a “palma roja” (lipstick palm tree) on our front lawn.  Feliciano said yes with his natural friendliness and that permanent smile on his face.  “Sí, como no, señora Aura. Yo lo hago por $30.00.”  (Yes, I’ll do it Mrs. Aura for $30.00.)  And that was that.

While he was doing his thing with a couple of partners, as strong as oxen, I sneaked into my home office and fetched my camera.  It was a damp, dark, cobalt-skies day, but with patience and persistence, I could squeeze a shot or two.  Anyway, I could always retouch the pictures if they needed some makeup.

Below are several photographs of Feliciano and his partners planting a palm tree in our front lawn.  Notice how strong these men look.  Even Superman would look like a weakling beside them.

Snapshot of Feliciano, the gardener of El Bosque neighborhood.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R./Michael Moore.
Snapshot of Feliciano, the gardener of El Bosque neighborhood. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R./Michael Moore.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Notice the strong arms of the man towards your left and the vigor of Feliciano (the man with the shovel).  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Notice the strong arms of the man towards your left and the dynamism of Feliciano (the man with the shovel). Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

4 thoughts on “Feliciano, The Neighborhood’s Gardener”

  1. That lipstick palm is beautiful! I’ve not seen one before – at least that I remember. And my goodness – that black and white portrait is extraordinarily good. That’s the sort of thing that needs to be printed out and hung on your wall – or in an exhibit.

  2. Morning Linda:

    These “palmas rojas” are very popular down here. We have two of them on our front yard. Feliciano planted both of them.

    Indeed, I printed Feliciano’s black and white picture, framed it, and gave it to him as a Christmas present. He told me it’s exhibited in his living room.

    I took the picture, but it was edited by a professional photographer from Texas whose name is Michael Moore. I think he did a great job.

    Kind Regards,

    Omar.-

  3. Wow, this post got me.
    My late father-in-law was a farmer and laborer his whole life, digging building foundations for $2/hour, cutting grass, what ever needed doing. He was in his 80s when he died, worked until the very end. The photo of Sr. Feliciano with his hat looks exactly like papa the last time I saw him. Skin as tough as oak tree bark, burned dark from years in the tropical sun, he was a great guy.
    Thanks.

  4. Hi Jim and Nena:

    Yep, these guys are one-of-a-kind; difficult to bend. Feliciano is a breathing human being who firmly believes in honest hard work. They don’t build them like this anymore.

    Warm Regards,

    Omar.-

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