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ECCE! IV Ken and the Skateboarder PDF Email


Ken and the Skateboarder

I take the light rail to work every day as it is easier than driving downtown from South Central Denver. It is a relatively short ride of twenty minutes. I usually read my Latin assignments and try to review lessons during my morning and evening commute.

One evening, on the way home last fall, I was reading our Latin text, Ullman, Henderson and Henry, when a young man boarded and sat in the seat across from me. I looked up and noticed he had a skateboard draped across his legs, a funny-looking hat was on his head, and he had a somewhat surly expression. Being a veteran rider of the New York subway system when I lived in Brooklyn, I promptly ignored him. I did notice, however, that he kept looking my way. I kept thinking that this is a violation of train protocol, ie, do not disturb people.

When, suddenly, I hear: "Salve viri."

Astonished, I keep my wits and respond, "Salve, discipule."

I also was hoping he was a student.

He then responded, "Quid agitis Hodie?"

I remembered this from Wheelock as How are you today? So I responded,

"Ego sum sanus."

He quickly says, "Quid est nomen tuum?"

I say, "Nomen meum est Ken" and follow with, "Quid est nomen tuum?"

He says, "Nomen tuum non est Latina Lingua."

And I respond with "Nomen meum est de Britannica"

He replies with some expression, "Ecce! Nomen meum est Marcus et est nomen Latina!"

I then exclaim, "Lets switch to English!"

He replies, "Good idea."

It turned out that he was a college student and he had just finished a year of Latin. He said that he enjoyed the reading and cultural aspects of the class. We both agreed that Latin was very much a "living and vibrant language."

As he departed the train, he says, "Vale" and I respond "Vale".

After he left, the person sitting next to me said, "What language were you speaking?"

I said, "Latin" and he said "Oh."

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