Why I like Mi­ami

The Covington News - - Newton at play - Lewis Griz­zard Colum­nist Lewis Griz­zard was a syndi­cated colum­nist, who took pride in his South­ern roots and of­ten wrote about them. This col­umn is part of a col­lec­tion of his work.

One of the pri­mary rea­sons I en­joy vis­it­ing Mi­ami is there are a lot of Span­ish-speak­ing peo­ple here and vis­it­ing gives me the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice my mas­tery of Span­ish, which I stud­ied in high school and col­lege.

I am also quite adept at find­ing my way around in a frog’s in­nards be­cause of my keen in­ter­est in bi­ol­ogy, and I was also a whiz in geog­ra­phy. Ask me any state, and I will give you the cap­i­tal.

“Mis­souri.” “Jef­fer­son City.” I am also quite at home with the sub­jects of his­tory, polti­cial sci­ence, eco­nom­ics and English gram­mar. That goes with­out say­ing, I sup­pose, due to the fact I are (sic) a Ge­or­gia grad­u­ate.

Any­way, the first thing I did when I landed in Mi­ami was hail a cab. Nine out of ev­ery 10 cab­drivers in Mi­ami speak Span­ish. If the Cisco Kid had lived, that’s prob­a­bly what he would be do­ing now. Driv­ing a cab in Mi­ami.

“Buenos dias,” I said to the cab­driver.

“Habla es­panol?” he asked. “Si,” I said proudly. The cab­driver be­gan speak­ing Span­ish at a rather rapid rate.

The air­port noise gave me mo­men­tary trou­ble in­ter­pret­ing. I fig­ured he had asked me, “Where to?” so I told him the name of my ho­tel.

“El Hol­i­day In­ndo,” I said.

Off we went. He said a lot of other words in Span­ish I didn’t quite get due to the fact I was sit­ting in the back seat so I said some of the things I had learned in Span­ish back in school.

“El burro es un an­i­mal de Mex­ico,” I be­gan.

That means, “There cer­tainly are a lot of don­keys in Mex­ico, aren’t there?” Span­ish peo­ple al­ways like to talk about don­keys.

The driver spoke some more Span­ish. Prob­a­bly be­cause of the strain of the long flight, I again couldn’t quite un­der­stand him, so I said, “Beis­bol es un juego de Mex­ico y los Es­ta­dos Unidos, tam­bien,” which means, “They play base­ball in Mex­ico and the United States, too.” `Ay-yi-yi-yiyi!’

My driver, who looked a lit­tle like Fer­nando Valen­zuela, seemed to be get­ting into the spirit of the con­ver­sa­tion. He threw up his hands and made a happy sound that went “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” which I seem to re­mem­ber is Span­ish for “I am pick­ing the Dodgers to go all the way.”

I coun­tered with an­other Span­ish phrase. “Pasame el bon, por fa­vor,” I said. That means, “Please pass the bread.”

The driver stopped at a McDon­ald’s and or­dered me a fish sandwich.

As we drove on to­ward the ho­tel, I no­ticed a pretty lady walk­ing on the side­walk.

“La mu­jer,” I said, “es muy bonita.” That’s Span­ish for “My, isn’t that a lovely lady.”

The driver pulled over to the lady and said some­thing to her in Span­ish. There was a lot of traf­fic noise, and I missed what he said.

“Cien,” the woman said to me. That’s Span­ish for “100.”

I won­der why she said that.

Any­way we reached “El Hol­i­day In­ndo.”

The bellman took my bags to the front desk. I tipped him a quar­ter and said, “Gracias, mi amigo.”

He threw up his hands and made the same happy sounds the cab­driver had made, “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi.”

I never knew there were so many Dodger fans in Mi­ami.

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