Saturday, October 1, 2011

Universal Translator

By EScott Brostrom, Rock Island, Illinois

On a hot summer Sunday afternoon, my wife and I had been invited to a swimming party at the home of some friends. With our two children in the care of my grandmother, Cherie and I felt as free as the breeze. As I stood on the diving board, I paused to look up into the serene sky.

But then a frantic voice rose above the party din. At the far end of the pool a woman was screaming. “The baby!” I heard her cry. “He’s at the bottom of the pool!”

No one was doing anything to help. People just stood and stared at her. Confused,
I searched the length of the pool and saw what I thought might be a motionless form
beneath the water. I dived in—and a baby was there. I hurriedly swept him off the
bottom and soon laid him on the deck. He’d turned blue…no breath. I began CPR.
Dear God, help me do it right.

At last the little boy coughed. A short breath came, then another. He would live.

An ambulance was called, for safety’s sake. While we waited, I couldn’t help asking
the others, “Why did you ignore the woman when she said the boy was drowning?”

A friend answered, “None of us understood her, Scott.”

“What do you mean? Even at the far end I could hear her yelling about the baby.”

“But she’s Mexican. None of us understood her Spanish.”

“Spanish? I heard her yell in English.”

“We didn’t. All we heard was Spanish.”

“It’s true,” said the woman’s daughter. “Mama can’t speak a word of English.”

“And I don’t understand a word of Spanish,” I said.

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