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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks [translation = Indeed we do]


Is it autism or dyslexia that causes that? 'Thanksgiving' indeed! They have it the wrong way around of course. After a decade here, no-one can give me a satisfactory explanation as to why it’s ‘Thanks Giving’ rather than the other way around? It makes no sense? Over the years I have managed to acquire a few genuine American pals. [translation = citizens who permit supervised visitation rights] These are persons who tolerate my inane interrogations. [translation = ‘but why is it called bleachers?’] They dismiss my rational queries and tell me to get a new hobby. [translation = go away]
I stab at another chestnut with my inadequate tools.
“What it is?” he asks, concerned at my violent technique. [translation = Horray that he noticed, horray that he honoured me with a few words]
“It’s a chestnut.”
“It is a nut?”
“Er, sort of, yes, it’s a nut.”
“Why it hot?”
“So I can get the skin off.”
“Nuts have shells, not skin, why it skin? What is skin? It not nut?” I take out the unused grapefruit knife with the serrated curved tip in the hopes of removing more chestnut flesh.
“It’s a ‘chest’ nut, it’s a different kind of a nut.”
“I have a chest. It has skin too. My chest no have a shell but I am not a nut.” You may not be, but I will be soon! I delve into the kitchen drawer and find the melon baler and start digging.
“Why we have the nuts of the chest today?”
“Because it’s Thanks Giving.”
“We have the nuts of the chest at Thanksgiving?” Stab! Stab! Save me someone!
“Well, we actually have them at Christmas.” [translation = the holidays]
“It is Christmas!? It is not Thanks Giving afterall? I have missed it?” Help.
“No, it’s Thanksgiving today and Christmas in a month, ish.”
“Why for we are having the Christmas nuts now at Thanksgiving?” I’ve lost the thread, and accidentally mix the flesh of the chestnuts with the shells and skin. I sigh and turn to look at him, searching for words, words that will make sense.

Spouse appears and looks over my shoulder. A glimmer of a frown. “What is it?” he asks. I pick bits of shell out from under my fingernails poised to answer, but Senior son intervenes on my behalf;
“It is nuts of the chest!” he says gleefully, nearly managing to clap his hands.
“I just thought we were going to have them whole, with brussel sprouts, that’s all.”
“Whole?” I query.
“Where is hole?” pipes up senior son. “We are having holes too?”
“Marrons, those French things in a tin,” proffers spouse. My mother would have heart failure if she thought I would purchase such an item, let alone permit it to enter the household. I correct his pronunciation. Senior pipes up again, “they are not maroon, they are brown, why you say maroon?”
“I didn’t, I said marron, it’s French for Chestnut.”
“French nuts of the chest are maroon?” he gasps.

I pass the bag of rogue chestnuts to spouse. “Here, you two can do the rest and see how many holes you can find whilst you’re at it.” [translation = miffed]

2 comments:

AK said...

quick reply before i finish reading the post, it's spooneerism that does that :) more related to dyslexia than autism, and part of the English version of some dyslexia tests i believe. i failed it miserably!

Kristina Chew said...

Your ear for the sounds of language---for the sounds of your sons' language----is astounding. I've written about Charlie using language as like the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins and your posts make me think of this.

Very thankful for your translations!

 
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