I’ve lived so long in the Deep South (spent only two years in the Frozen Nawth — Shreveport) that I’ve come to take the speech patterns here for granted.

But Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, says there is a Southern way of talking, and it involves using more words than are absolutely necessary:

“When my daughter returned from living in California, she said she noticed Louisianans overuse prepositions, more so in speaking than in writing.

“How about these expressions: ‘I called him up. I looked up under the bed. Where are you at? The dog chased after the mailman.’

“When you hear ‘reverse back,’ do you flinch or scrunch your shoulders? How about ‘raise up?’

“Since ‘unique’ means ‘the only one of its kind,’ why do people quantify it by using the adverb ‘very?’

“And then there’s a whole other oddity of words unique to us: zink, hose pipe, chimley, banquette, icebox, coke (generic for any drink), etc.

“I’m sure everyone can come up with more than these few. Even though these expressions are filled with redundancies and an abundance of useless prepositions, aren’t they what make south Louisianans ‘very’ unique?”

Word imperfect

Kathy in Mandeville offers an example of a wrong word:

“Many years ago when we were stationed with the Army in the Panama Canal Zone, we were coming back from the beach with our 8-year-old daughter, Maggie, and her Catholic friend when we passed some ‘ladies of the evening’ standing by the side of the road.

“‘I know who those women are,’ Maggie’s friend told us very authoritatively (and indignantly). ‘Those are the PROTESTANTS!’

“We all had a good laugh at that, as did her mother when we told her — but we left it to her mother to correct her.”

Speaking of words

Sid Harp, of Donaldsonville, says, “Twenty years ago I participated in a weekly poker game, usually with the same seven or eight guys.

“There was the chance to win a few bucks, but the education was priceless.

“It was there that I learned of a pasta dish called vegeteeny (fettuccine).

“Then there was the stomach condition called gyroticulitis (diverticulitis ).

“And, of course, there is the outdoor structure called a bajebo (gazebo).”

Hitting the hedges

Calvin Golden of Baton Rouge, adds to our discussion of Tiger Stadium hedges:

“There were hedges in the north end zone. The back of the end zone was almost to the stadium wall.

“Players running through the end zone to track down a pass often ended up in the hedges, which I am sure were put there to prevent them from hitting the wall.

“After the south end was enclosed, the field was moved 10 yards to the south.

“I know this because my season tickets were on the 30 yard line and ended up on the 20 yard line after the move.

“That is where we still sit after 63 years of season ticket ownership.”

Special People Dept.

— Emily Lacaze Vercher, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 96th birthday on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

— Three residents of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge celebrated September birthdays:

Camille Piccinati, 93 on Tuesday, Sept. 29; Mary Marino, 91 on Sept. 8; and Marie Bruns, 90 on Sept. 23.

Thought for the Day

From Francis Celino, the Metairie Miscreant: “I think my guardian angel drinks.”

S-m-a-r-t d-o-g

“You have to be careful what you spell,” says Algie Petrere.

“Our dog, Neiko, gets very excited when Andy asks him if he wants to go for a walk.

“One day, Andy said, ‘I guess I’ll take Neiko for a w-a-l-k.’

“Neiko started jumping around and got ready for the leash. Who knew a German shepherd could spell?”

(Sounds like Shadow, the cat who shares our house with us. When Lady Katherine says it’s time for his t-r-e-a-t-s, he stops whatever he’s doing, which is usually sleeping, runs to the drawer where she keeps cat treats, and starts meowing impatiently.)

Name that car

Frank Fronczek comments on one of my recent diatribes:

“Cars DO all look alike these days.

“A few years ago, while foolishly defending myself in traffic court, I had a lot of fun at the expense of the police officer, a self-described expert at car identification.

“I simply pointed out that the make and model of the car he wrote on the ticket were both different from the one I was driving at the time. Even experts can’t tell the difference.

“I was still found guilty, but hey, it was worth it. (Don’t get me started on that judge, though).”

(You must have felt like Marisa Tomei on the stand in “My Cousin Vinny.” Not that you LOOKED like her...)

Contacting Smiley

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.