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PRESIDENTS DAY BY THE NUMBERS

By NORMAN M. COVERT

(MOUNT AIRY, Md.)—Anyone who has the courage to ask questions of second graders must be ready for answers which may or may not be in the teacher’s syllabus. That lesson was learned at Parrs Ridge Elementary School here two weeks ago.

In case you didn’t realize it, Presidents Day Weekend is four days, not three. One hundred seventy five second graders shouted it out not long before they would scatter for the holiday.

A teachers’ in-service day was added to the weekend – hooray!

We also learned that 21-plus-10 equals 31 – not 41.

And we celebrated more than the presidents’ birthdays that weekend.… Read More

CUBAN PRIDE & PREJUDICE: ‘To Tell the Truth….’

By Nick Diaz

I mentioned in Tuesday’s edition of this discourse how a good number of natural-born Americans are unaware of the nationality-based differences among “Hispanics.” In addition, many well-meaning Americans have little or no idea what events have been taking place in Cuba and the rest of Latin America in the past 50 years.

 All of this, however, is a minor irritation when compared to the painful torture that comes when those of us who are Cuban exiles meet Americans, Canadians, Australians and Europeans who admire the Castro brothers and their so-called Revolution. They lecture us about the achievements of that murderous, soul-crushing regime from which we fled.… Read More

CUBA: Political & Human Nightmare

(Editor’s Note: This is second of a three-part series recounting the heavy price paid by families as a result of Fidel Castro’s successful guerrilla war on the Caribbean Island of Cuba. With the fall of Dictator Fulgencio Batista, Castro and his revolutionary army entered Havana in victory, Jan. 8, 1959.)

By Nick Diaz

THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of my arrival on these American shores compelled me to relate some stories of my half-century as an exile of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. My growing nostalgia has brought many personal, family, and political experiences to the surface.

My mother, Idania Diaz, and I arrived in November, 1960, which was Presidential Election Day in America – John F.… Read More

GROWING UP CUBAN: HERE & THERE

(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series recounting the heavy price paid by families as a result of Fidel Castro’s successful revolution on the Caribbean island of Cuba. Today, Jan. 8, 2012, is the 53rd anniversary of Castro and his revolutionaries entering Havana in victory.)

By Nick Diaz

JANUARY 1, 1959. On this date, at 2 A.M., Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista boarded a plane that took him, his family, and close associates from his palace in Havana,  to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

This left the door open for Guerilla leader Fidel Castro to take over power a week later in the island nation where I was born and raised.… Read More

NEW YEAR’S NOTIONS & NUMBERS

By NORMAN M. COVERT

 Looking back on events of 2011 is a notion that Leroy (Satchell) Paige said we should avoid. Chances are, he said, “the Devil may be gaining on you!” The late, great professional baseball pitcher knew from which he spoke. I, therefore, am forging into 2012 with optimism.

A retrospective does give pause that something good can happen with me and mine – and you and yours – these next 12 months. 

With my medical fixes and new devices, you might compare me to my 1996 Saturn. This year it received a new water pump, battery and serpentine belt and nails were removed from two tires.… Read More

EVERY SPY A PATRIOT

By Harry Covert

It’s no secret that Alexandria, Virginia, has one of the largest populations of taxpayers who are either retired or active spies.  Many have played extraordinary roles and distinguished themselves in defending America and its allies.

These folks have had a lifetime of working behind the scenes, out of the glare of public recognition.  That’s part of the game and they keep their oath not to talk out of school.  Only as the years pass do details leak.  Usually friends and neighbors are surprised and amazed at what can be described as derring-do among those with whom they’ve lived, shopped and raised families.… Read More

Lest We Forget

By NORMAN M. COVERT

The Covert Letter sends Christmas and New Year wishes to our faithful readers. I’m sure you agree that special greetings are due our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen serving far away from their families. Christmas for these uniformed patriots is still “Duty, Honor, Country,” in the words of the late General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

Packages from home are terrific, but you can’t beat being at the fireside with your loved ones.

The majority of our troops may have come home from Iraq in November and December, but many Americans, including one of my own, are still there.… Read More

Mr. Goodson: Politics in Shadow of Jamestown

(Foreword: We recently came across an editorial in the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press in which the newspaper strongly endorsed Bruce Goodson in his quest to be James City County’s new Commissioner of Revenue.

The election is Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011.

The Covert Letter is proud of Cousin Bruce Goodson’s accomplishments in business and in civic service on the Lower Virginia Peninsula, but especially on behalf of James City County. We endorse his candidacy with enthusiasm.

The birth of the New World’s first representative form of government at Jamestown some 400 years ago is  manifested today in Mr. Goodson, a descendant of Jamestown soldier of fortune Robert Beheathland.… Read More

HALLOWEEN TALE OF HORROR AND PUMPKINS

By NORMAN M. COVERT

(FREDERICK, Md.) – This Halloween story is a cross between Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin and Seymour, the flesh eating monster plant from the movie, “Little Shop of Horrors.” The subject of this tale has captured the curiosity of the neighborhood and boasts monster pumpkins from the Seymouresque tendrils threatening the Japanese maple.

It would appear The Great Pumpkin has already arrived fulfilling Charles Shulz’s cartoon expectations minus the toys. This is perfect Halloween decoration.

It all begins in Mrs. Rabideau’s first grade class at our Orchard Grove Elementary School last May. Grandson Nicholas was agog at the possibilities of his teacher’s science experiment seeking answers to which medium might be best for growing fertile seeds.… Read More

BABIES, BASSINETS & BASEMENTS

By Norman M. Covert

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) collective wisdom may result in saving a lot of infants’ lives, and that’s a good thing, but it also means I’m stuck with:

1. A bassinet that rocks; 2. A 41-year-old Port-a-crib™; 3. A drop-side full-sized crib; and 4. A Yuppie’s-dream solid oak crib, which converts to a youth bed.

No one wants the nostalgic and emotionally-connected items, especially not the Childrens Center in Washington, the local Good Will Industries, Vietnam Veterans of America, nor any other organization that clamors for the leftovers in my garage and basement.… Read More