Alben W. Barkley



Former vice-president tells his own story

Desde la revista norteamericana The Saturday Evening Post, de 1954,  sacamos algunos párrafos de la vida del ex presidente de EEUU Alben W. Barkley, en sus propias palabras

As I write this, another birthday has gone by. Some would say I was seventy-six years old, others would think of it as seventy-six years young. I lean toward the latter viewpoint. Birthdays always remind me of the fellow down in my home state of Kentucky who, feeling particularly spry one morning, remarked to his young son that he felt “like a two-year-old.” “Horse or egg?” the boy inquired. In my case, I would rather kick up my heels than cackle.
Looking back on my three quarters of a century –forty-seven years of which have been spent in public service –I am bound to say that it has been a good life. A good life and a full one. I have had my moments of sorrow and disappointment, but there has been no prolonged period when I have not found life filled with joy and zest.
I have been proud, too, of the opportunities given me to serve my country.

There is a famous culinary concoction called “burgoo” of which I often partook when I toured the political hustlings in certain parts of the Blue Grass State. A burgoo is a cross between a soup and a stew, and into the big iron cooking kettles go, as we sometimes say in Kentucky, a “numerosity” of things –meat, chicken, vegetables and lots of seasonings. These memoirs are going to be somewhat like a burgoo, made up of a numerosity of ingredients. The recipe is largely in my head, for I have never kept a diary or journal; I have had far too busy a life for that.
As I stir the kettle of my memories, my thoughts go back a long way. I remember my boyhood days, living in the little log house on the farm which my father rented, and working alongside him, planting tobacco, threshing wheat and clearing timber –man´s work at a boy´s age. It is not true, as my children sometimes yarn, that I did not wear shoes until I was sixteen. However, I do recall one year when my winter heavy frost gathered on the ground before my winter shoes had been purchased. I walked bare-foot to school, hopping in the tracks of the older boys to keep my feet from getting quite so cold.
I vividly remember the struggle to get an education: how I worked as a janitor to put myself through Marvin College, a small and now-extinct institution in Clinton, Kentucky. A sign on the old Marvin dormitory –now a hotel –proclaims: Barkley swept here. Earlier, I learned the three It´s in country schools from such wonderfully patient and inspirational teachers as “Miss Gertie” Backus and “Miss Lizzie” Lowe, both of whom were kind enough to encourage me in my ambitions and even to predict; somewhat generously, that I might someday become President of the United States. Alas, for the predictions of these fine ladies. I did not quite make the presidency. But, after my long career of public service, beginning with the post of prosecuting attorney of McCracken County, Kentucky, and progressing through county judge, congressman and senator, the people of the Unites States did bestow upon me the second highest honor in American political life -the office of Vice-President… (Paragraphs from The Saturday Evening Post, April 17, 1954, page 19)
The Saturday Evening Post, April 17, 1954
The Saturday Evening Post, April 17, 1954
Vocabulario
Kick up my heels: to amuse oneself.
Para saber
Burgoo /bérgu or bergú/ es un guiso picante, similar al Irish o Mulligan stew, frecuentemente servido con maíz o magdalenas de maíz. Es comúnmente preparado en reuniones sociales.
Clinton es un pueblo de 1.388 habitantes (censo de 2010). Clinton parece haber sido nombrado así por un barco o capitán militar que estaban estacionados en el lugar en el momento en el que fue colonizado a fines de 1820.
McCracken County es un condado con una población de 65.565 (censo de 2010).  McCracken County fue fundado en 1825 y fue nombrado por el capitán Virgil McCracken, que murió en la batalla de Frenchtown durante la guerra de 1812.
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Revista
The Saturday Evening Post, April 17, 1954. Tapa rota en los bordes. Contratapa: falta un poco menos de la mitad. Tapa con manchas de humedad. Hojas en buen estado, solo algunas dobladas en las puntas. Completa. Estado: regular más. En venta a coleccionistas, solo de Salta.