There’s been considerable social media chatter about Gov. John Bel Edwards installing chicken coops at the Governor’s Mansion to provide eggs and bring a more down-home feel to his new abode.

Personally, I think it’s a cool idea. My dad raised chickens when he lived in Oakdale, and my brother and sister-in-law in Oakdale still raise them, as do my son and his wife in Zachary. So I come from a family of chicken people.

Still, I’m keeping an eye on the mansion, which is just across the street from my neighborhood.

If I see a sign out front saying “Fresh eggs, $4 a dozen” I’ll know the state’s money problems are REALLY out of control. …

Speaking Cajun

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, says our stories about people mangling Cajun names, “reminds me of my first year at LSU Law School. Our torts teacher was Walter Mizell, a Dallas attorney from Oklahoma.

“Whenever we discussed Louisiana cases that had Cajun folks as the parties, I was the ‘Designated Cajun Interpreter.’

“He really murdered those names when he tried to go solo.”

The un-Cajuns

“What’s with all these people having trouble pronouncing perfectly normal French and Cajun names?,” says Paul Major, of Livonia.

“Could it be that they’re all from Chicago and have names like Szczepanski, Wojciechowski, Wisniewski and Kazmierczak?”

Strange-sounding names

Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, says, “When I was in basic training in 1968, we had an ‘Alphabet’ in our company, but his name was spelled ‘Lyszyzynsky.’

“We also had a corporal named ‘Kamperamoupoulous.’ The name tag on his fatigues went all the way under his shoulder.

“In my entire company, there were only three of us going to the Army Security Agency: myself and two others whose last names were Fair and Hair.

“You can’t make this stuff up. …”

Sarge knows best

Ray Schell, of Prairieville, says, “Your many readers’ comments on their drill instructors’ pronunciation of their names reminded me of my favorite drill instructor story.

“When in basic training in 1960 in the Army, I had Sgt. Montez as my drill instructor.

“I have a slight difference in the height of my cheekbones, so when we fell out in formation Sgt. Montez yelled out to me to hold my head up straight.

“I told him, ‘I am, Sgt. Montez.’ He replied, ‘Well, hold it crooked so it looks straight.’ ”

A boy named Jean

“Yes, Louisiana names do cause problems,” says Jean Haydel.

“I was amused while reading your Wednesday column about Louisiana names. You were kind enough to publish my comments concerning choudrant. However, I was additionally amused that my name, Jean, was assumed to be that of a female.

“Oops … historically in southern Louisiana, the French name was given to males.”

(Sorry, MISTER Jean…)

Holding pattern

Pat Alba, of Metairie, says our recent seminar on out-dated items such as church keys “reminds me of the corn holders. Did anyone actually use them for corn on the cob? I still have just one, which I use to de-vein shrimp — even in the shell. It really works.”

Yes, Pat, the Anders household has these little items, yellow plastic handles made to look like an ear of corn, with two metal prongs to insert into the end of the ear. We have three of them, which means that one of us gets to put two on a buttered ear, and the other one (guess who that is) has to use just one and get butter all over his bare hand.

Over the years we’ve had several of the holders, but since we rarely eat corn on the cob, we’ve misplaced at least one of them periodically.

Probably forks would work just as well for holding an ear of corn, but since we’ve got these little gems, we feel obligated to use them. …

Special People Dept.

Della Haydel Himel, of Geismar, celebrates her 103rd birthday on Monday.

A sailor’s hymn

Bobbie Spencer, of Lafayette, adds to our “joyful noise” stories:

“During my growing years in Crowley, I attended St. Teresa’s Catholic Church. I remember the choir being composed of only Ms. Julia, who sang with a deep voice as she played the piano, accompanied by Ms. Precious, whose voice was high-pitched.

“One Sunday, the ladies started their program by singing ‘Ohh Glory, Ohhhh, Ohhhh, Glory,’ but this singing was soon made more joyful by a proud young voice singing his version of ‘I’m Popeye the sailor man toot, toot. I’m Popeye the sailor man, toot, toot …’

“People in the audience thought this was cute, but when Momma was told, she didn’t think so!”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.

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