Henry County Times

OPINION The Henry County Times Page 4 August 8, 2018 “Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.” ~ George Steiner “The ordinary experiences of aging alter and clarify your view of past, present, and future.” ~ Edith Pearlman Want to read all of the Times online? Digital flipbooks are online at www.henrycountytimes.com Snapper did a good bit of inter- national business, and there were times when I would find myself talking through an interpreter. Most groups would bring their own translator, but on occasion we would have to find one. The first time I encountered this was with some folks from our distrib- utor in South America. They came in unannounced, and spoke only Spanish. Our international sales manager, who spoke several languages, was out. Not knowing exactly what to do with the visitors, the front office sent them to me. After all, I was in charge of customer service. When I realized that they spoke only Spanish, I sent my associ- ates out to find someone who could translate. With nearly 900 employees surely we could find someone. The visitors had service ques- tions, so I got a lawn mower to use as a guide. They would point to parts that were of concern and I would demonstrate how to solve the problem. Knowing all the problems sure came in handy in this situation. We spent about an hour doing these exercises. They seemed to understand, when I showed them how to ad- just the areas of concern. We were laughing, nodding, pointing and nobody had a clue what was being said. Finally, one of the draftsmen from engineering showed up. Miguel was Portuguese. Por- tuguese is similar to Spanish, but not entirely the same. So now we are translating from Spanish to Portuguese to English. There are many notes being passed back and forth, because I think it is easier to read the other language than it is to understand the spo- ken word. Anyway as a group, I think we felt this meeting was a success. When the Russians came they spoke English. Yes, I must con- fess, I have spoken to the Rus- sians. They came to learn about the free enterprise system, after their socialist republic failed. I talked to them about product quality and customer service. They even gave me a couple of buttons from their discontinued soviet military uniforms. But then came the Chinese, who did not speak English. We brought in an interpreter fromAt- lanta. She was good but was de- void of any personality. It is hard to spread humor through a dry in- terpreter. The saving grace in this encounter is the fact that I think they spoke English. I could tell, because sometimes they would react to my statements before she told them what I said. The Canadians, would always have someone to translate what I said into French, depending on which part of Canada they were from. When the Norwegians came, they brought a translator. Evidently, it must be cold there. We were having a nice spring day and they wanted to go outside. The magnolias were in bloom and while we demonstrated equipment, the ladies were at- tracted to the magnolia trees. When we first went outside, I got the interpreter and everyone else to gather around a large fire ant mound. I pointed out the dan- ger and he translated. After the demonstration, our visitors gath- ered on a small hill. They were sitting and enjoying the sunshine. Then, suddenly, I saw a man jump up and start doing a ‘fire ant dance.’ He then ran back to the building. It was time for us to go in and as I approached the building he was coming out. I asked if he had got- ten into the ants. He stated, “I killed them everyone.” After that, the translator told me that every- one in the group spoke English, but after hearing my accent, they were not sure if they knew Eng- lish or not. They therefore would not talk to me in English. I guess, I may be the one who needed someone to translate my presen- tation to English. Frank Hancock has worked as a Farm Manager, Vocational Agriculture Teacher, Vice Presi- dent at Snapper and currently serves as the University of Geor- gia Agricultural Extension Agent in Henry County. He is a also a member of the Heritage Writers Group. The interpreter The Henry County Times Published faithfully each Wednesday by The Henry County Times, Inc. 48 Racetrack Road McDonough, GA 30253 770-957-6314 www.henrycountytimes.com Presorted Standard Postage Paid At McDonough, GA 30253 Postmaster, send address changes to: The Henry County Times P.O. Box 2407 McDonough, GA 30253 The Henry County Times Publisher Mickie Jackson Editor Seth Jackson Office Manager John Jackson Advertising Mickie Jackson Nick Vassy Graphic Artisté, Webmaster Nick Vassy Contributing Writers Jack Bernard Jimmy Cochran Frank Hancock Kathy Henderson Kathy Pillatzki Jeff Reeves Ralph Thomas Beverly Wittler The views expressed in Letters to the Editor and on the Opinion page are not necessarily those of The Henry County Times . The Henry County Times is not responsible for the views expressed in Letters to the Editor and theOpinion columns.We invite all responses to any text we publish. All letters must be signed, giving the name, address and tele- phone number of the writer. Only the name and citywill be published, however, the telephone number is needed for verification purposes. No anonymous letters will be printed. All letters are subject to editing, and letters containing defamatorymate- rial will not be published. Please send letters to: editor@henrycounty times.com , or to P.O. Box 2407,Mc- Donough, Georgia, 30253 H T C FRANK HANCOCK Columnist Most of us who categorize our- selves as old find the label to be a moving target ... in our minds, at least. I clearly remember as a youngster that anyone over the age of 30 was really old. How quickly my opinion changed as I got older. For many of us who now think of ourselves as old we have dis- covered the term old is a mysti- cal point in our lives when we grudgingly accept the fact that somewhere we have passed from one category to another. For me there are some obvious markers. At age 84, I have become aware I no longer have any close friends ... close friends being those whom I have known for a decade or more and who share some of the same values as I do. Those friends have already passed on to a better place and may possibly be laughing at me because I am still earthbound. SWMBO (She Who Must BE Obeyed) and I have both defied the longevity ta- bles. This should be good news, right? It would be if our social life didn’t consist of medical ap- pointments. Eyes, ears and teeth now require assistance in order to live somewhat comfortable lives. So, is it good news or bad news? I was shocked when during an appointment with a urologist about a minor problem he said I have a good 20 years left. Quickly doing the math, that would mean I would still be alive and kicking at age 104. He didn’t say 20 good years left. I don’t even know anyone who is that old. Some of our grandchildren would be retired by then. Advances in medical science are continually stretching our possi- ble life-spans. Unfortunately, in many cases those advances don’t tell us how to stretch our retire- ment income. I think any news about people in our society living longer should also tell us how to do it. That’s the hard part. I think of my pickup truck that is older than my adult grandchildren. It still runs but also leaks, squeaks, and rattles. That’s me. Fortunately, we have options. Senior services are now available in our area. In Locust Grove we have what we call a Senior Cen- ter, although the street sign calls it Senior Services. This title does- n’t give a hint that it is open five days a week and serves both breakfast and lunch. I live less than one mile from this facility and passed it almost every day for several years thinking it only had to do with administrative help for seniors. Perhaps this is why it is rare for new faces to show up. I wonder why Henry County wants to keep it a secret? The Heritage Senior Center in McDonough and Bear Creek Senior Center in Hampton are wonderful facilities while the Lo- cust Grove Senior Center on Bowden Street got the short end of the stick. But the good news is that it is a place where those in the know can meet together for breakfast and lunch, play table games, pool and do crafts. The best part is that it is a place where seniors can come to fellowship together and build lasting relationships. All newcomers are welcome! Ralph Thomas is a Locust Grove resident and the author of Doing Great, but Getting Better and Getting Old Can be Fun. You can reach him at ralph_thomas @bellsouth.net You know you’re getting old when ... RALPH THOMAS Columnist