Dear Smiley: We in south Louisiana have what most Americans can recognize as a certain patois, commonly known as a Cajun accent.

People up north often comment immediately, saying that I must be from Louisiana or definitely the South.

Last year, my husband and I happened to be in Prague, in the Czech Republic, when I hurriedly entered an elevator without checking to make sure it was going up.

I turned to a couple in it and asked, “Pardon me, but this elevator is going up, isn’t it?”

Upon getting a yes, I pushed the button for the eighth floor.

The woman turned to me and asked, “WHERE did you learn to speak such beautiful English?”

I replied, “America.” Needless to say, she was most embarrassed.

My husband said that I should have said, “Mais cher, Louisiana, yeah.”

They looked American, but I could also be mistaken, because they did speak beautiful English.



Picture imperfect

Dear Smiley: Melvin Daigle’s article about the color-blind technician reminded me of our first television.

We lived in the country and were the first in our area to own a television.

It was installed by a Mr. Jumonville and had the customary antenna, etc.

The only problem was that after the installation, it was determined that the newly purchased TV had a burnt or broken picture tube.

To our disappointment, a new tube would have to be ordered and replaced in a time period of several weeks.

Since we were so excited about the TV and had told all our neighbors about it, that first night, we had “company” and everyone sat around the new-fangled TV and listened to the broadcast!

No picture, just sound, but we all watched the big box with nothing but sound! No different than the radio days.



Happy discovery

Dear Smiley: About 50 years ago, when I made $8 a night plus 8 cents a mile as an “Advocate sports correspondent,” I was sent to cover a state playoff football game between Woodlawn and St. Bernard High.

Making good time, I realized I was in “the parish” well before kickoff time and decided to look for a place to eat.

I saw a place with lots of cars, went in and ordered a shrimp po-boy. I was stunned to see how much shrimp was being piled onto the French bread and became concerned about the cost.

It turned out to be quite reasonable.

It was, of course, Rocky & Carlo’s, and I still remember that meal five decades later.



Turn! Turn! Turn!

Dear Smiley: Please remind your readers that the middle turn lane is for those turning. It is NOT a “squat and wait for an opening in traffic to merge” lane.

This is very dangerous to people using the lane properly and to those who are in the travel lanes because they are not sure if you are turning or merging.


Baton Rouge

One-sided conversation

Dear Smiley: Oh, this aging process.

Last week, Annette and I were at this buy-in-bulk-for-a-lower-price type store in Lafayette.

Annette had gone up ahead to locate an item that wasn’t in its usual place. I remained behind, slowly pushing my cart along.

A young woman’s voice behind me asked, “Would you like to try our new hand lotion?”

I hesitated but replied, “No, thank you. Maybe next time.”

But then, I had second thoughts. I stopped, turned and told her, “Well, on second thought, maybe so.”

Then I quickly looked at the shoppers near me to find out if they had witnessed or heard my brief conversation with a machine.


Church Point

Close call

Dear Smiley: Your “left behind” stories reminded me of how it looked like I was to be left behind at the altar.

As Mom and I were riding a taxi toward the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City, we spied my husband-to-be walking AWAY from the church.

I wasn’t too worried, as I was familiar with his absent-minded behavior and thought he’d figure it out in a bit.

At the church, our best man, Josh, who was Jewish, got concerned when I jokingly told him that if the fiancé failed to turn up, the best man was required to marry the bride.

Poor Josh believed me and started pacing and looking out the door.

I continued to tease him, saying, “Come on, I am cute, and your mom would only sit shiva because you married a shiksa.”

The relief on Josh’s face when my future husband showed up was priceless.



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