Goodbye and farewell are sad words and usual spoken when parting from a friend or discarding mementos of a failed romance. But when a dentist pulls out an absessed tooth or a podiatrist relieves you of an ingrown toenail you can usually sing “Na! Na! Na! Hey! Hey! Hey! Goodbye!” (song by Leka and Decarle).
This is a sad “goodbye and “farewell” because I am writing my last “In a Small Pond” as I announced in my column two weeks ago when I thanked my readers and the Lafourche Gazette staff who have edited, corrected and made better my rambling memoirs and recollections.
I am sure I will find something to fill my rapidly relinquishing days as I am negotiating with a publisher who wants to edit and print my past columns. He does however require me to write a prologue and an epilogue and as soon as I find out what those two things are I’ll get right on it. It’s a nonprofit charitable organization so you won’t get it delivered on your driveway free, but keep being loyal to TLG because they have endured me for over two years.
I leave with a few funny moments from my youthful dreams of becoming an athlete when I hurled a brand new basketball about 50 feet from the homemade hoop, landing on the highway where a kind motorist put it out of its misery.
Thankfully my two first cousins, Lanny “Goose” and Curtis “Che-kin” Martin salvaged the Martin family’s athletic legend. My next dream was to become a “great” musician. I did become that, but line out the “great” part.
I thought about politics but after coming in sixth in a 6-candidate race for seventh grade president, I abandoned that … well for 40 more years. Then I wanted to become a “big star” recording artist and “famous” songwriter. I did that, too, but scratch out “big star” and “famous”. To be those things you had to sell many, many recordings, which I didn’t, and be a writer or co-writer of many hit songs, which I wasn’t.
I had some success as a part-time radio disc jockey for 33 years and held public office for 47 years. Oh! I also wrote a few newspaper columns.
When my mother entered me in Golden Meadow Elementary school, in her broken English she told my teacher, “My son’s very smart. He knows his letters and numbers and a national anthem. His aunt and I taught him.”
“Why that’s great,” replied the teacher, “he’s one I won’t have to worry about.”
So I was the first one called in class.
“We have a smart boy who already knows his numbers and alphabet, and Leroy Martin will now recite them.”
I said, “Huh?”
I couldn’t understand her and a classmate whispered “les numero”.
“I began, un, deux, trois, quatre.”
The teacher said, “Wait, Leroy, I think there’s been a misunderstanding here”.
She then spoke to me in French, “Leu Lettre”, and I began, “ah, bay, say, day,” and she said, “Les jour,” and I went on with “Dimanche, Landee, Mardi, mecredi” and as she and the class began to laugh, I turned red.
Then she continued in French, “Leroy, you have all this knowledge, but all in French? Can you speak or understand English?”
“UN petite peu,” I answered.
She continued in French, “I hate to ask, but the National Anthem you know, would you sing it?”
I began: “Allons en’fant du la patric, le jour de gloire ET arrive,” and she joined in and we sang the whole song Le’Marciese, the French National Anthem.
We had a good laugh and she said, “Now my job, according to Louisiana law, is to make you and your classmates forget the French language.”
All my classmates spoke French, of course, but not all the details that my mother and aunt had so thoroughly taught me. I had so much more than them to forget. Thus Leroy Martin had learned his first lesson, although I have no idea what it is.
Dear readers, my only request is that you “Remember me when the candlelights are gleaming. Remember me at the close of a long, long day. It would be so sweet when all alone I’m dreaming, just to know you still remember me.” (Lines from an old song, Remember Me!)
And now to remember my closing good bye … it was "Hi Yo, Silver, Away". No it was "Here's looking at you kid". Not even close.
I am a simple man and I want to leave you with a simple BYE NOW!
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Posted on Tue, December 6, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette