There’s been an interesting discussion on Warren Perrin’s email site about what makes a Cajun.
Raymond “LaLa” Lalonde, while pointing out that many Louisiana people with French ancestors aren’t descended from the Acadians forced from Nova Scotia by the British, says, “Cajun is culture, not a blood line. Our ancestors came from different parts of the world and adapted to each other to form our unique culture.”
Sam Broussard added, “‘Precisely Cajun’ means those with Acadian ancestors.
“Cajun more broadly and more usefully means: You’re of the culture. You talk like us. You’re one of us, whether your name is McGee or Boudreaux, doesn’t matter.”
And Phil Comeau sums it up:
“Being Cajun/Acadian is more than a common history and genealogy.
“It is also a cultural identification, a feeling of belonging, and pride.
“We are an international people, and an inclusive culture. It is acceptable to have some Spanish, Québécois, English, German, African or Irish blood and still feel Cajun.
“Your heart tells you who you are.”
Our recent mention of the poor guy who was getting driving directions from both the lady on his GPS and the lady in his passenger seat brought this tale from Mary Sue Disch Meador:
“My mother told us about the first Model T Ford her father, my grandfather, bought about 1925.
“She, her older brothers and friends took their first ride in it on a gravel road, not far from their home in Gilbert.
“They came to a fork in the road, one going left, one going right.
“She said some in the car shouted ‘Go right!’ and some shouted ‘Go left!’ and of course a confused 18-year-old brother went straight into a huge oak tree.
“The only one injured was her younger brother, with a broken nose.
“He was proud of the nose, as he was a champion football player for Gilbert’s school, nicknamed the ‘Blonde Blizzard.’”
W.C. Jordan, of Denham Springs, says, “The blip in your column about cats reminded me of the story of the lady who lived in a high-rise apartment back in the days of house calls.
“She was explaining to the vet that something was wrong with her cat.
“The vet took one look at the cat and told the lady her cat was pregnant.
“The lady indignantly said that this was impossible, since her cat had never been outside the fifth-floor apartment.
“The vet was scratching his head in puzzlement when a big tom cat came crawling from underneath the couch.
“The vet turned to the lady and asked her about the tom.
“She indignantly said, ‘Don’t be silly. That’s her brother!’”
Laughing with Bob
Lee Faucette says, “When I was an LSU undergraduate, I recall fondly seeing the Bob Hope show at the AgCenter mentioned in your column.
“I lived on Oxford, just a block or two off Highland Road, very close to the LSU South Gate.
“Riding my bike to class daily, I would pass the AgCenter, its pens containing enormous Brahma bulls, and its herd of cattle grazing alongside the LSU Golf Course.
“Since the Ag School’s pasture ran alongside the course, one of Hope’s jokes that night was about his sidekick, Jerry Colonna, who always wore a black beret.
“Said Hope, ‘Jerry Colonna hit a ball over the fence, and when he reached over to retrieve it, he picked up three times before he got the beret.’
“The packed AgCenter erupted in laughter, and it seems a good time was had by all.
“In that same era, I remember seeing fellow Warren Easton graduate, Pete Fountain, and his band perform a wonderful Dixieland jazz show at the Huey P. Long Field House.”
Special People Dept.
Vivian Marix Kelly, of Pride, celebrates her 98th birthday on Saturday, Nov. 29.
The nutty gourmet
Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, “I thought some fresh banana nut bread would be nice for Thanksgiving morning.
“Although I have never made it before, I thought I would give it a try.
“Obviously everyone in Lafayette was thinking the same way. I went all over town; not one store had banana nuts.
“I am going to talk to my butcher and see if he has any mince. I understand the meat makes a good pie.”
Room for improvement
“This one tickled my funny bone,” says Algie Petrere:
A retired man who volunteers to entertain patients in nursing homes and hospitals went to one local hospital and took his portable keyboard along.
He told some jokes and sang some funny songs at patients’ bedsides.
When he finished he said, in farewell, “I hope you get better.”
One elderly gentleman replied, “I hope you get better, too.”
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.