March, 1988


Ten years ago, as your editor was writing this article, to go into the May 1978 issue of Understanding Magazine, there was a continuing controversy as to the conditions under which we would be allowed to give our canal to Panama, whose officials had decided that they could operate it better than we. Besides, it was in their country, they were not very good at reading treaties and they simply could not understand what the word perpetuity meant.

Panamanian Officials insisted that the gift must be made in fee simple, with full sovereignty, and that it be accompanied by a donation of cash sufficient to ease the critical economic situation then existing in Panama as the result of a degree of fiscal irresponsibility almost as great as that which exists here.

Opponents of the treaty in the United States, point out that we already had a national debt about the same size as the rest of the of the world combined; a currency that loses purchasing power at a steadily increasing rate, in spite of anything government can or will do about it, and a rate of inflation that at any moment, may get out of hand and wipe out our economy completely. They further pointed out that we managed to achieve this monumental state of fiscal degeneration by our determination to act in ‘loco- parentis’ to the rest of the world, and to bail out other countries from the results of their fiscal irresponsibilities.

It must be realized however, that the Republic of Panama is unique country which the U.S. itself created, in order to be able to build the canal, and which it has supported with its money and defended with its army and navy ever since. It may therefore be argued, with some justification, that there is a certain parental responsibility involved which must be considered in any dealings between them.

The principal problem between the two countries seems to be that Panama, as a state, has reached the stage of adolescence and, as any psychiatrist can testify, one of the most basic needs of the adolescent is to free itself of all parental authority, even though it still expects to be supported by them.

Some portions of the treaty have been reported to the public, but in the most generalized terms, so that the average citizen has no real basis for judgment as to its merits, its dangers or its ultimate cost to him. Since the citizen will have no say in the matter this is not considered important.

One of the provisions that have been mentioned, in passing, have been that the U.S. will never construct any other canal in any part of Central America, thus guaranteeing Panama a total monopoly in perpetuity. It is difficult to see any logical reason why the U.S. should agree to any such a restriction, especially in view of the fact that it has apparently agreed to build one in Nicaragua eventually. (At least the citizens of Nicaragua are convinced that such a promise has been given.

During the closing months of world war II, your editor spent some time in Nicaragua, and could not help but notice that every map of Nicaragua plainly showed (Nicaraguan canal) as under construction.

No one seemed to know exactly which U.S. official or agency had promised to build the Canal but all were sure that it had been promised.

If your editor were in a position to advise our national legislators, which (fortunately for both of us) he is not, that advice would have been have given the Canal in five years with no strings — but not the money that was to have been given with it.  (If Panama wants money from the U.S. it should be given on a different basis.) Meanwhile during the five years the U.S. should arrange to have the Nicaraguan Canal built, either by purchasing the necessary land outright, or by loaning Nicaragua the necessary money and contractors to build it themselves (with today’s technology and earth-moving equipment it could be done for somewhat less than Panama wanted for taking ours from us. As soon as that Canal was completed we could give it to Nicaragua and forget the whole thing.

All we want is to get our ships from one ocean to the other in a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost, a situation which is very unlikely with one country in complete domination of the only route.

Now we may have to take it back by force if we wish to block the drug traffic which has taken over the military and much of the country.

Daniel W. Fry

This is Success

to do Something good

when you can –

where you can –

while you can!

l only know l owe so much

to people everywhere

And when I put my thoughts in verse

it’s just away to share

The musings of a thankful heart,

a heart much like your own,

For nothing that I think or write

is mine and mine alone…

Show me the way

not to fortune and fame,

Not how to win laurels

or praise for my name

But show me the way

to spread “The Great Story”

That Mine is The kingdom

and Power and Glory.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar

So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

Author Unknown


Many years afro in Ireland

St. Patrick looked around

And noticed the tiny shamrocks

Covering the ground…

He picked one and closely studied it

And came to realize

What the three leaves on one shamrock

Might be Said to symbolize…

One leaf to show the Father,

One leaf to show the Son,

One leaf to show the Holy Ghost –

The blessed Three-in-One

And so that is the way

The shamrock came to be

The symbol to remind us

Of the Holy Trinity.

The Fairies

By William Allingham (1824-1889)

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;

Green jacket; red cap,
And white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocks shore
Some make their home

They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;

Some in the reeds
Of the Mack mountain lake.

With frogs for their watch-dogs.
All night awake.

Wishing you

the blessings of love,

health, and happiness

on St. Patrick’s Day

and always!

(hand written) I regret that you cannot se all the green upon this page!!  I believe in gnomes, fairies, leprechauns, wee folk and of course unseen helping angels.  Don’t you?

It is with pleasure and pride that I tell you I am totally Irish!

Cleona Quigley Fry