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Roberto Henry Ebelt




I love to watch bridges. I don’t care whether they are in two dimensions (pictures, drawings, films) or in three dimensions. When I was 11 years old, car journeys between my hometown, Pelotas, and my beloved Porto Alegre used to last for almost a day (24 hours), many times, two days. We had, before 1954, to cross two rivers in ferryboats. One was Camaquã and the other was Guaiba. To tell the truth, to cross the Camaquã river, it was necessary to use a very simple man-driven barge that was able to carry less than10 cars per trip. And there was a long line (fila) to cross the river when the volume of water was bigger than usual. The trip, then, would take much longer. Many times, it was necessary to wait for days for the water to lower to its usual level. And, when the river was full, the crossing was very dangerous. Finally, in 1954, the bridge was opened to the public and the time necessary to cross the river was reduced from one or two days to a few minutes (the bridge is around 700 meters long).

Photo obtained from the site www.riogrande.com.br
The picture above was taken in 2004, but it can give you a good idea of what the crossing of the Camaquã river was like before 1954.

Now let us hope the second bridge over the Guaiba River (or lake) does not take another 50 years to be built. It is amazing that in the fifties, sixties seventies and eighties major works were accomplished in a relatively short time. Now we are the sixth economy of the world but things do not seem to happen. What has happened to our politicians, governors and presidents? Have they forgotten how to build a country? Not to mention the private entrepreneurs. Can you believe the story involving Internacional and AG?

Cheia do Rio Camaquã em 22.11.209 (fonte: Blog do Dornelles).

As nobody has satisfactory answers for such questions, let us spend our precious time in reading the beautiful text below from the site www.reflexao.com.br


Once upon a time, there were two brothers who lived in neighboring farms that were separated only by a creek. One day, they had a fight. It was the first time they ever had an argument (argument = bate-boca). They had spent a lifetime working side-by-side, sharing tools and looking after each other. For many years they had walked along a very long and narrow road that ran by the creek, and at the end of each day, they would cross it and spend some pleasant time together.

However, one day everything changed. What had started as a silly disagreement finally exploded into an exchange of hard words followed by weeks of total silence.

One morning, the older brother heard someone knocking on his door. When he opened, he saw a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. "I’m looking for work", he said. "Perhaps you might have a small job to be done."

"Yes!" answered the farmer, "I have some work for you. Can you see that farm on the other side of the stream (stream = small river)? It belongs to my neighbor. In fact, he’s my younger brother. We had a fight and I can’t stand him anymore. Can you see that pile of wood next to the barn? I would like you to build a very high fence (fence = cerca) along the river so I won’t need to see him anymore. "

"I think I understand the situation," said the carpenter. "Show me where the shovel (pá) and nails (pregos) are and I will certainly do a good job. I am sure you are going to be very pleased."

As the older brother needed to go to the city, he helped the carpenter find the necessary building material and left.

The carpenter worked hard during the whole day, measuring, sawing and nailing. When he finished, it was already getting dark.

The farmer got back home, but he couldn’t believe his eyes: there was no fence! Instead, there was a bridge that connected the two banks (bank = rim = margem) of the creek.

It was a real beautiful job, but the angry farmer said: "You were very bold (bold = daring = atrevido) building this bridge after all I told you."

Nevertheless, surprises had not finished yet. When he looked back to the bridge, he saw his younger brother coming towards the riverbank, running with his arms open wide.

For a second, he was stuck to the ground on his side of the stream. Suddenly, impulsively, he ran towards his brother and they hugged each other, standing on the new bridge and crying (to cry = to weep, to shed tears = chorar).

The carpenter was already leaving with his toolbox when the older brother said: "Wait! Spend a few days with us."

The carpenter answered:

"I would love to but, unfortunately, I have many other bridges to build."

And what about us? Are we in need of a carpenter, or are we capable of building our own bridges to get close to the ones we have fallen out with?

People that are close to us are not there by chance. There is a very special reason for them to be part of our relationships. Therefore, let us not isolate ourselves by building fences that separate people and make us unhappy

Let us build bridges and try to walk towards those who, for any reason, are away from us. And if the bridge of this relationship is fragile, or maybe unsteady, because of the winds of discordance, let us make them stronger with understanding and true friendship.

By doing so, we will compensate for our lack of friendship and will find the internal peace we have been seeking for.

Have an excellent weekend.

Tags: Roberto Henry Ebelt, ensino, inglês

Roberto Henry Ebelt é professor, escritor, escreveu uma coluna semanal para o Jornal do Comércio de Porto Alegre entre 2001 e 2013, e é diretor do curso HENRY'S BUSINESS ENGLISH desde 1971.

Seu mais recente livro, O QUE VOCÊ DEVE SABER ANTES DE ESTUDAR INGLÊS, pode ser encontrado nas livrarias Disal, Cultura e SBS ou à rua Hoffmann, 728 em Porto Alegre.

E-mail: roberto@henrys.com.br
Fone (51) 3222-3144
Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henrysbusinessnglish/?pnref=lhc

Opinião do internauta

  • Carlos Mello (26.03.2012 | 17.49)
    Very good the stories about your childhood and bridges. The second is a philosophy class. It reminded me of a wonderful song called “Burning Bridges”, appeared in a movie called "Kelly's Heroes." Confers on the site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbveY6Q9hao Boas as histórias das pontes de tua infância. A segunda parte é uma aula de filosofia. Este assunto lembrou-me uma música maravilhosa chamada “Burning Bridges” que conheci num filme chamado "Kelly's Heroes." Confere no site abaixo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbveY6Q9hao
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