Up here with Spanish

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2004

The gods smiled this spring and I was able to replace my lawn tractor with a shiny new 21- horse engine, mulcher, etc. Assembling one can be a project and only my keen sense of mechanics told me the wheels went on the bottom. The steering column, in three pieces, sent me to the instruction booklet. It was written in Spanish, as is every set of directions to anything except toilet paper.

I figure the population must be at least fifty percent Spanish speaking and I wonder when that happened. If isn’t true then why in the world are we pandering to the illegals who sneak in through our porous borders? I know elderly Poles and Greeks who still have problems with written English but I’ve yet to find a booklet in either of those languages. Then I remembered that if I turned the booklet upside down I would find the English version on the back.

And every time I pick up the phone to reorder my painkillers and vitamins I have to push a button or the almost human voice on the other end comes at me in Spanish. Of course I want it in English …I was born here, spoke the language at age two, only made one trip to a city in Mexico, Then I was sorry and spent most of my time looking for a toilet…it’s no wonder those people want to come north…they’ve seen pictures of Niagara Falls.

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An older friend of mine went to Russia and brought back a young thing, beautiful, leggy, slinky, but speaks limited English. He bought her a fancy food mixer that required some assembly. There were no instructions in Russian so it just sits there in the box and will until she locates an interpreter. He insists she learn our language if she expects to remain in this country. So why do non-English speaking Spanish speaking get such a break? Are they unable to form English sounds. Why can’t they learn to say excape, exstablish, and axe? I mean if I could learn it at age two they should have no problems as adults. Even when, and this happens now and then, a booklet is written in almost every conceivable language including Braille, it still doesn’t help a Sioux Indian erect an army tent.

While I’m speaking my piece let me say that if it wasn’t for the gas I burn in my car I’d say bring the military home from Iraq, let Iraqis fight it out among themselves. If most of the world is too cowardly to assist in freeing the innocent of that country then why don’t we make every critic happy and call it off?

Why us, is an easy question to ask, why are we always bailing out countries like France who we know will later poke a finger in our eye. France had no oil, unless you count their wine, yet we rescued them. So is it our concern for abused citizens in those eastern countries, or our growing thirst for black gold? If I were Bush, having taken nasty criticism from the likes of Democrat spokesman Ted Kennedy, I’d resign and let the mindless of this country suffer the leadership of John Kerry. Judging by his big mouth Kerry has a solution to everything. He could qualify for the Pro Bowl as the very best Monday morning quarterbacks known to man.

Dress up your actions any way you want, Keith Morris, Adjutant, Tom Smith Camp 1702, Sons of Confederate Veterans, you still jammed a stick in the eye of the Mayor who didn’t bow to your wishes. Perhaps he did it intelligently because of the equal population of blacks and the influx of Yankees, or as we have been described, Northern Aggressors. You insist your attempt to influence the mayor was education, open his eyes, and let him see the light. Many don’t buy that.

Mr. Morris, 60 years have elapsed since I, not my ancestors, fought for freedom from tyranny and we are just now about to receive a memorial to our efforts. And ours was a national war to maintain our freedoms. Your ancestors, it is said, fought to preserve slavery. Yet thousands on both sides died that never owned a slave. There must have been other reasons for a split nation to fight unto death. I’d like to hear about them.

Honor your ancestors as you see fit, and I will honor yours and mine on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, national days that I believe are sufficient. All veterans of all wars including Union and Confederates can march proudly under those banners.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com.