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全新版大学英语综合教程第三册UNIT5_002

Alex Haley served in the Coast Guard during World War ll. On an especially lonely day to be at sea -- Thanksgiving Day -- he began to give serious thought to a holiday that has become, for many Americans, a day of overeating and watching endless games of football. Haley decided to celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving by writing three very special letters.

亚历克斯·黑利二战时在海岸警卫队服役。出海在外,时逢一个倍感孤寂的日子――感恩节,他开始认真思考起这一节日的意义。对许多美国人而言,这个节日已成为大吃大喝、没完没了地看橄榄球比赛的日子。黑利决定写三封不同寻常的信,以此来纪念感恩节的真正意义。

Writing Three Thank-You Letters

Alex Haley

1 It was 1943, during World War II, and I was a young U. S. coastguardsman. My ship, the USS Murzim, had been under way for several days. Most of her holds contained thousands of cartons of canned or dried foods. The other holds were loaded with five-hundred-pound bombs packed delicately in padded racks. Our destination was a big base on the island of Tulagi in the South Pacific.

写三封感谢信

亚利克斯·黑利

那是在二战期间的1943年,我是个年轻的美国海岸警卫队队员。我们的船,美国军舰军市一号已出海多日。多数船舱装着成千上万箱罐装或风干的食品。其余的船舱装着不少五百磅重的炸弹,都小心翼翼地放在垫过的架子上。我们的目的地是南太平洋图拉吉岛上一个规模很大的基地。

 

2 I was one of the Murzim's several cooks and, quite the same as for folk ashore, this Thanksgiving morning had seen us busily preparing a traditional dinner featuring roast turkey.

我是军市一号上的一个厨师,跟岸上的人一样,那个感恩节的上午,我们忙着在准备一道以烤火鸡为主的传统菜肴。

3 Well, as any cook knows, it's a lot of hard work to cook and serve a big meal, and clean up and put everything away. But finally, around sundown, we finished at last.

当厨师的都知道,要烹制一顿大餐,摆上桌,再刷洗、收拾干净,是件辛苦的事。不过,等到太阳快下山时,我们总算全都收拾停当了。

4 I decided first to go out on the Murzim's afterdeck for a breath of open air. I made my way out there, breathing in great, deep draughts while walking slowly about, still wearing my white cook's hat.

我想先去后甲板透透气。我信步走去,一边深深呼吸着空气,一边慢慢地踱着步,头上仍戴着那顶白色的厨师帽。

5 I got to thinking about Thanksgiving, of the Pilgrims, Indians, wild turkeys, pumpkins, corn on the cob, and the rest. 我开始思索起感恩节这个节日来,想着清教徒前辈移民、印第安人、野火鸡、南瓜、玉米棒等等。

6 Yet my mind seemed to be in quest of something else -- some way that I could personally apply to the close of Thanksgiving. It must have taken me a half hour to sense that maybe some key to an answer could result from reversing the word "Thanksgiving" -- at least that suggested a verbal direction, "Giving thanks."

可我脑子里似乎还在搜索着别的事什么――某种我能够赋予这一节日以个人意义的方式。大概过了半个小时左右我才意识到,问题的关键也许在于把Thanksgiving这个字前后颠倒一下――那样一来至少文字好懂了:Giving thanks。

7 Giving thanks -- as in praying, thanking God, I thought. Yes, of course. Certainly.

表达谢意――就如在祈祷时感谢上帝那样,我暗想。对啊,是这样,当然是这样。

8 Yet my mind continued turning the idea over.

可我脑子里仍一直盘桓着这事。

9 After a while, like a dawn's brightening, a further answer did come -- that there were people to thank, people who had done so much for me that I could never possibly repay them. The embarrassing truth was I'd always just accepted what they'd done, taken all of it for granted. Not one time had I ever bothered to express to any of them so much as a simple, sincere "Thank you."

过了片刻,如同晨曦初现,一个更清晰的念头终于涌现脑际――要感谢他人,那些赐我以诸多恩惠,我根本无以回报的人们。令我深感不安的实际情形是,我向来对他们所做的一切受之泰然,认为是理所应当。我一次也没想过要对他们中的任何一位真心诚意地说一句简单的谢谢。

10 At least seven people had been particularly and lastingly helpful to me. I realized, swallowing hard, that about half of them had since died -- so they were forever beyond any possible expression of gratitude from me. The more I thought about it, the more ashamed I became. Then I pictured the three who were still alive and, within minutes, I was down in my cabin.

至少有七个人对我有过不同寻常、影响深远的帮助。令人难过的是,我意识到,他们中有一半已经过世了――因此他们永远也无法接受我的谢意了。我越想越感到羞愧。最后我想到了仍健在的三位,几分钟后,我就回到了自己的舱房。

11 Sitting at a table with writing paper and memories of things each had done, I tried composing genuine statements of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to my dad, Simon A. Haley, a professor at the old Agricultural Mechanical Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; to my grandma, Cynthia Palmer, back in our little hometown of Henning, Tennessee; and to the Rev. Lonual Nelson, my grammar school principal, retired and living in Ripley, six miles north of Henning.

我坐在摊着信纸的桌旁,回想着他们各自对我所做的一切,试图用真挚的文字表达我对他们的由衷的感激之情:父亲西蒙·A·黑利,阿肯色州派因布拉夫那所古老的农业机械师范学院的教授;住在田纳西州小镇亨宁老家的外祖母辛西娅·帕尔默;以及我的文法学校校长,退休后住在亨宁以北6英里处的里普利的洛纽尔·纳尔逊牧师。

12 The texts of my letters began something like, "Here, this Thanksgiving at sea, I find my thoughts upon how much you have done for me, but I have never stopped and said to you how much I feel the need to thank you -- " And briefly I recalled for each of them specific acts performed on my behalf.

我的信是这样开头的:“出海在外度过的这个感恩节,令我回想起您为我做了那么多事,但我从来没有对您说过自己是多么想感谢您――”我简短回忆了各位为我所做的具体事例。

13 For instance, something uppermost about my father was how he had impressed upon me from boyhood to love books and reading. In fact, this graduated into a family habit of after-dinner quizzes at the table about books read most recently and new words learned. My love of books never diminished and later led me toward writing books myself. So many times I have felt a sadness when exposed to modern children so immersed in the electronic media that they have little or no awareness of the marvelous world to be discovered in books.

例如,我父亲的最不同寻常之处在于,从我童年时代起,他就让我深深意识到要热爱书籍、热爱阅读。事实上,这一爱好渐渐变成一种家庭习惯,晚饭后大家围在餐桌旁互相考查近日所读的书以及新学的单词。我对书籍的热爱从未减弱,日后还引导我自己撰文著书。多少次,当我看到如今的孩子们如此沉迷于电子媒体时,我不由深感悲哀,他们很少,或者根本不了解书中所能发现的神奇世界。

14 I reminded the Reverend Nelson how each morning he would open our little country town's grammar school with a prayer over his assembled students. I told him that whatever positive things I had done since had been influenced at least in part by his morning school prayers.

我跟纳尔逊牧师提及他如何每天清晨和集合在一起的学生做祷告,以此开始乡村小学的一天。我告诉他,我后来所做的任何有意义的事,都至少部分地是受了他那些学校晨祷的影响。

15 In the letter to my grandmother, I reminded her of a dozen ways she used to teach me how to tell the truth, to share, and to be forgiving and considerate of others. I thanked her for the years of eating her good cooking, the equal of which I had not found since. Finally, I thanked her simply for having sprinkled my life with stardust.

在给外祖母的信中,我谈到了她用了种种方式教我讲真话,教我与人分享,教我宽恕、体谅他人。我感谢她多年来让我吃到她烧的美味菜肴,离开她后我从来没吃过那么可口的菜肴。最后,我感谢她,因为她在我的生命中撒下美妙的遐想。

16 Before I slept, my three letters went into our ship's office mail sack. They got mailed when we reached Tulagi Island.

睡觉前,我的这三封信都送进了船上的邮袋。我们抵达图拉吉岛后都寄了出去。

17 We unloaded cargo, reloaded with something else, then again we put to sea in the routine familiar to us, and as the days became weeks, my little personal experience receded. Sometimes, when we were at sea, a mail ship would rendezvous and bring us mail from home, which, of course, we accorded topmost priority.

我们卸了货,又装了其它物品,随后我们按熟悉的常规,再次出海。 一天又一天,一星期又一星期,我个人的经历渐渐淡忘。我们在海上航行时,有时会与邮船会合,邮船会带给我们家信,当然这是我们视为最紧要的事情。

18 Every time the ship's loudspeaker rasped, "Attention! Mail call!" two hundred-odd shipmates came pounding up on deck and clustered about the two seamen, standing by those precious bulging gray sacks. They were alternately pulling out fistfuls of letters and barking successive names of sailors who were, in turn, shouting back "Here! Here!" amid the pushing.

每当船上的喇叭响起:“大伙听好!邮件点名!”200名左右的水兵就会冲上甲板,围聚在那两个站在宝贵的鼓鼓囊囊的灰色邮袋旁的水手周围。两人轮流取出一把信,大声念收信水手的名字,叫到的人从人群当中挤出,一边应道:“来了,来了!”

19 One "mail call" brought me responses from Grandma, Dad, and the Reverend Nelson -- and my reading of their letters left me not only astonished but more humbled than before.

一次“邮件点名”带给我外祖母,爸爸,以及纳尔逊牧师的回信――我读了信,既震惊又深感卑微。

20 Rather than saying they would forgive that I hadn't previously thanked them, instead, for Pete's sake, they were thanking me -- for having remembered, for having considered they had done anything so exceptional.

他们没有说他们原谅我以前不曾感谢他们,相反,他们向我致谢,天哪,就因为我记得,就因为我认为他们做了不同寻常的事。

21 Always the college professor, my dad had carefully avoided anything he considered too sentimental, so I knew how moved he was to write me that, after having helped educate many young people, he now felt that his best results included his own son.

身为大学教授的爸爸向来特别留意不使用任何过于感情化的文字,因此, 当他对我写道,在教了许许多多的年轻人之后,他认为自己最优秀的学生当中也包括自己的儿子时,我知道他是多么地感动。

22 The Reverend Nelson wrote that his decades as a "simple, old-fashioned principal" had ended with schools undergoing such swift changes that he had retired in self-doubt. "I heard more of what I had done wrong than what I did right," he said, adding that my letter had brought him welcome reassurance that his career had been appreciated.

纳尔逊牧师写道,他那平凡的传统校长的岁月随着学校里发生的如此迅猛的变化而结束,他怀着自我怀疑的心态退了休。“说我做得不对的远远多于说我做得对的,” 他写道,接着说我的信给他带来了振奋人心的信心:自己的校长生涯还是有其价值的。

23 A glance at Grandma's familiar handwriting brought back in a flash memories of standing alongside her white rocking chair, watching her "settin' down" some letter to relatives. Character by character, Grandma would slowly accomplish one word, then the next, so that a finished page would consume hours. I wept over the page representing my Grandma's recent hours invested in expressing her loving gratefulness to me -- whom she used to diaper!

一看到外祖母那熟悉的笔迹,我顿时回想起往日站在她的白色摇椅旁看她给亲戚写信的情景。外祖母一个字母一个字母地慢慢拼出一个词,接着是下一个词,因此写满一页要花上几个小时。捧着外祖母最近花费不少工夫对我表达了充满慈爱的谢意,我禁不住流泪――从前是她给我换尿布的呀。

24 Much later, retired from the Coast Guard and trying to make a living as a writer, I never forgot how those three "thank you" letters gave me an insight into how most human beings go about longing in secret for more of their fellows to express appreciation for their efforts.

许多年后,我从海岸警卫队退役,试着靠写作为生,我一直不曾忘记那三封“感谢”信是如何使我认识到,大凡人都暗自期望着有更多的人对自己的努力表达谢意。

25 Now, approaching another Thanksgiving, I have asked myself what will I wish for all who are reading this, for our nation, indeed for our whole world -- since, quoting a good and wise friend of mine, "In the end we are mightily and merely people, each with similar needs." First, I wish for us, of course, the simple common sense to achieve world peace, that being paramount for the very survival of our kind.

现在,感恩节又将来临,我自问,对此文的读者,对我们的祖国,事实上对全世界,我有什么祝愿,因为,用一位善良而且又有智慧的朋友的话来说,“我们究其实都是十分相像的凡人,有着相似的需求。”当然,我首先祝愿大家记住这一简单的常识:实现世界和平,这对我们自身的存亡至关重要。

26 And there is something else I wish -- so strongly that I have had this line printed across the bottom of all my stationery: "Find the good -- and praise it."

此外我还有别的祝愿――这一祝愿是如此强烈,我将这句话印在我所有的信笺底部:“发现并褒扬各种美好的事物。”
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