Every time I hear the name Newt, as in Newt Gingrich, it reminds me of a funny story about a nature center my husband and I once visited in Myakka, Florida.
Myakka River State Park, one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks, was only about a 20 minute drive from our home and we went there often, but only once did we actually stop by the nature center to take a look around.
Inside the center were displays of the local flora and fauna, but the real draw of this nature center was an interactive display that showed pictures of various creatures native to the area. Each one had a button that you could press to hear the sound that animal makes. We were having fun pressing the various buttons.
I don’t remember all the sounds, but we listened to various frogs, birds and, of course, the call of the alligator. One button in particular, though, sent us both off into gales of laughter, and we must have pushed it ten or more times, each time laughing harder at the response than the time before.
It was the Peninsula Newt button. As with the other buttons we pressed, we fully expected to hear some kind of tiny little chirp or throaty sound. However, instead of making an animal noise, we were treated to a human voice telling us in a very condescending tone…”The Peninsula Newt is Silent,” accentuating heavily on the Newt.
For days after that visit to the Nature Center, one of us would repeat “the Peninsula Newt is Silent,” and get us going all over again. Throughout the years, that simple statement has made us laugh every time one of us says it.
And then along comes a politician whose first name is Newt. While the name does conjure up a very pleasant memory for me, I can’t help but think these days how great it would be if the Newt Gingrich were silent as well.