Grandfather refuses to speak English. It’s not that he can’t, just that he wont, not a word of it.
Says he used to but the words never felt comfortable in his mouth, like they had to be spit out rather than flow freely.
Invariably this leads to people raising their voices as though maybe he has a hearing problem, but the funny thing about that is once they begin doing so grandfather will do likewise in his language as though they may have a hearing problem.
It can get pretty funny at times and I’ll intervene explaining there’s no need to yell as he hears fine, but since the assumption seems to be that he should converse in English it seems logical for grandfather to assume he would be spoken to in his language since his people were the original inhabitants.
I have a lot of respect for his position, and while conversing in English might expedite matters Grandfather lives on ndn time and he’s not concerned about expeditious when it comes to such things – so I often act as an “interpreter” and can’t help but smile sometimes.
Though I’ve never asked I think grandfather takes a little satisfaction in making the statement he is, sort of a small victory, he’s his own man and going to stay that way.
Most times if I’m running into town for job materials grandfather will ride along, that translates to stopping off somewhere for some ice cream or maybe a piece of pie – women we know who work at such places are aware that he won’t speak English and show a great deference towards him, one told me she thought it was “cute”, that Grandfather is “cute”.
I tease him saying he’s a babe magnet and the service is always better when he’s along.
Now I’m sure in an emergency if the situation called for it Grandfather would break with tradition and converse in whatever language necessary, but until such an emergency arises he hasn’t and won’t…..can’t help but respect the man and his commitment , he hasn’t forgotten the stories his grandfather told him.