26 de Feb de 2020

Nacional

Crossing the road could be fatal

You can collect yours at the church office between 8 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or you can call 228-0012 to reserve c...

You can collect yours at the church office between 8 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or you can call 228-0012 to reserve copies. Checks should be made out to Balboa Union Church.

BUMPS AHEAD. Drivers in Panama are used to dodging potholes whether they are in the city streets or the interior, but the latest hazard on Calle 50 gets the thumbs down of the week. If you are approaching Avenida Brazil, watch out for the “trench” that crosses the road, a few meters before you reach Columbus University. It could be a great location for a shock absorber business.

DEATH WISH. Trying to cross a road in Panama is a risky business. Witness Monday when I was driving along National Avenue and came to stop at a marked crossing being used by six people. The flashing lights were on to warn traffic behind that I had stopped. When the pedestrians were in front of the car, a diablo rojo roared by on each side, without slowing.

A similar infraction would have cost each driver hundreds of dollars plus demerit points in Toronto says a Canadian reader. But the other side of the coin appeared today on Via España, at a marked crossing in front of new traffic lights. A transit worker shepherded pedestrians across, but as the lights were about to change, a couple decided to eschew the crossing and charged into the traffic to cross the street away from the lines. A watching police officer did nothing. To serve and protect?

THE GLASS CEILING. Times they are a-changing. On Friday this week Canadian Thanksgiving, already celebrated on Thanksgiving Day, will get a repeat performance at the 1985 Chalet Suisse restaurant with the new Canadian ambassador, Patricia Langan-Torell there to perform the ceremonial carving of the turkey.

She will also be passing through a glass ceiling, at the lunch, held monthly by a group of Commonwealth expatriates. Until now, the luncheon, which always includes a “loyal toast” to the Queen, has been a male only event.

A MAN’S MAN. Yesterday we carried a biography of deceased American author Tony Hillerman. Space did not allow some of the details of his early life when he worked at a series of unskilled laboring jobs, before heading to university with the aim of becoming a teacher. The second world war got in the way and in 1944 he joined the army and ended up carrying a mortar as his team waded ashore on the Normandy beaches on D Day. After surviving the early battles, he was severely wounded in Alsace, and suffered from his injuries for the rest of his life.

But he was a survivor, and returned to complete his degree, and become a successful newspaperman, before returning to university at 37 to take a master’s degree in journalism, and finally to gain fame and wealth with his mystery novels with the unlikeliest of literary heroes: two Navajo police officers.

Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgery for prostate and bladder cancer. His hands, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, were like claws, and he was in constant pain from the aftermath of his war injuries. Going deaf and losing his eyesight, he kept on typing and writing.

His legacy will be the books he wrote.