John L. Guillory says, “My grandparents, lifelong residents of western Louisiana, were born in the late 19th century and spoke with accents very close to an East Texas twang.
“It was a local custom to name landmarks, property and other locations for the families who owned them or lived nearby (e.g., ‘...the old Jones homestead...’).
“When giving directions, my grandfather often used the ‘Narr Bridge’ as a point of reference.
“I couldn’t recall having met the Narr family; so, when I was about 12 or so, I asked him why we called that little creek crossing the Narr Bridge.
“He stared at me for a moment, probably wondering how he could have so seriously overestimated my intellect, and then slowly said, ‘Well, son, it’s ‘cause it’s not very wide...’”
A Cajun’s stories
Over the weekend I got the sad news that long-time contributor Carrol Jordan, who called himself “The Generic Cajun,” had died on Friday.
Since it’s well known that my contributors keep me in business, the loss of any of them is a blow. And Carrol’s little quips and stories were always especially welcome.
Here are examples of his wit, pulled from a couple of columns last year:
After Carencro Curmudgeon Dan Burkhalter told of a friend who developed a “reach impediment” when the bill for lunch came around, I heard from Carrol with this variation: “Back in the Cold War days, this condition was called a ‘shell-out falter.’”
And this one:
Carrol commented on our seminar about how Cajuns use their hands in conversations:
“One very cold morning, Boudreaux and Gautreaux were walking in to work, hands in the pockets of their jackets.
“Boudreaux says, ‘Hey, Gautreaux, are you sick?’
“Gautreaux says, ‘No, why?’
“‘You haven’t said a word all morning. What’s the matter?’
“‘I left my gloves in the truck.’”
Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, gets nostalgic about one of the major food groups — chocolate:
“As I made my annual trip to the store to buy reduced-price Easter candy, I remembered my first chocolate Easter bunny.
“I was a little tyke of 5 years old, and the chocolate bunny was about 15 inches tall and probably weighed over two pounds.
“It looked absolutely huge to my young eyes. In fact, it was so big it took me almost two days to eat it.”
Home sweet hut
It seems “tiny houses” have become quite fashionable of late. There’s even a TV show about them, on that “home improvement” channel to which my spouse appears to be addicted.
But Rosetta Boudreaux, of Morgan City, says they’re not a new phenomenon:
“In 1947, when my late husband Boo and I lived in the ‘little huts’ on the LSU campus near the Coliseum, little did we know that we would be the original ‘tiny house’ inhabitants.
“A year later, when we moved to the ‘big huts’ on Nicholson Drive, we were living in high cotton.”
Clint Womack, of Lafayette, continues our discussion of Diggy Doo, the cool DJ on Baton Rouge’s WXOK radio:
He says this was the way Diggy handled a Jax beer commercial: “Jax beer will make you as smooth as a roach on a poach — too smooth to move. Jax beer will make you as slim as a snake in a lake — too slim to swim.”
Wonder beer, Part II:
Christian “Pete” Sarrat says our discussion of old New Orleans beers and breweries reminded him of this:
“I remember going with my uncle to pick up a case of beer at the Wirthbru brewery, on the side street by the old Hotel Dieu hospital. His doctor told him it had medicinal merits. That was his story...”
Heavenly hot dogs
I know, I said I was winding down the Spam stories — but I didn’t say anything about other processed meats:
Loretta Mattio-Hamilton says, “Our family still enjoys what we call wiener stew. It’s wieners in a red gravy cooked with potatoes.
“My grandmother brought the recipe from her days in Chacahoula (Terrebonne Parish), and we have been enjoying the wiener stew ever since!”
Leatus Still says he figures he’s officially reached old age:
“I went to the bank to get 20 one-dollar bills for a $20 bill, and had to prove I had a business account.
“I mentioned to the clerk that when I got my first checking account, we used counter checks that were by the cash registers. They didn’t even have account numbers until several years later.
“The middle-aged clerk said she had never heard of such a thing.”
Thought for the Day
From Marvin Borgmeyer: “Having gone through the Louisiana elections and now all the national primaries, I am reminded of the famous Jay Leno quote: ‘If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates!’”
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.