Monday, May 23, 2011

The Holguin's Candymaker, a Legend

The history of a country, a city, a town, comprises many stories, such is the case of “El rapido” (The Fast), a unique candy vendor that went all over the region. Here, in the city of the parks, nobody knows him by his real name: Francisco Escobar Piñera.

Barely a teenager and given the urgency to improve his poor lifestyle, he began thinking how to find out an honest livelihood.

He learned the secrets on the production of lollipops from his father, Manuel Escobar, who came to Cuba from Spain, full of ambition to improve his lifestyle, bringing with him the art of making these attractive candies of varied colors and flavors of strawberry, anise, mint, orange and lemon, among others. He was devoted to preparation and then distributed for sale.

One day, while enjoying the performance of some rural circus jugglers, Francisco comes up with an idea that would identify him for years: he decided to do something similar on the streets, but by selling candies. Then, he asked a carpenter to make a rod-shaped lamp with a small bell, which loaded with lollipops weighed about 70 pounds, and after that he went to the streets.

From that moment “ El Rapido” became a legend of local folklore. He used to walk the streets of Holguin waving his "streetlight" full of delicious lollipops and between the 40's and 50's he had travelled the whole country.

"I became candymaker by necessity. If I were born after 1959, I would surely be a great sportsman, doctor or artist. Or who knows what, but surely much more useful to my country. "

"I am retired now. However I'm happy with what I have done. I know that my work contributed to the happiness of children. I have also social recognition and I am loved and respected by children and adults. I consider myself a kind of street artist. "

The sweet trace left by this humble man will always last in the heart of Holguin's people.

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