“Your recent stories about Cajun accents and names brought this story to mind,” says Fay Weilbaecher, of Covington:
“I was transferred to Tucson, Arizona, and worked with wonderful people. Very few co-workers were native to Arizona, except my boss, who had lived there all his life and knew very little of Louisiana — except when he played football for the University of Arizona and they played LSU.
“He always said he got a kick out of my accent. But one day while I was making an announcement over the loudspeaker he told me it would be better if someone else did the announcements, because people were having trouble understanding some of my words.
“He saw my shocked face, so he said, ‘You say AX instead of ASK...people are listening to how you say things instead of listening to the announcements.’ I accepted it, and we both laughed when I told him I might sue him for ‘accent harassment’ in the workplace.
“Well, guess what? A few years later he was transferred to New Orleans, and his wife had a baby girl.
“My gift was a pink shirt with ‘I’M A CAJUN BABY’ printed on the front, and a note saying now I have the last laugh, because he will have to listen to a Cajun accent the rest of his life.”
Frank Fronczek, of Baton Rouge, says, “When I first taught chemistry at LSU, one of my students was a member of the St. Cyr clan.
“Being relatively new to this area, I was not familiar with that name. The university helpfully listed it on the class roll as ‘STCYR’, unadorned with punctuation. I don’t recall exactly what my attempted pronunciation was, but I do remember the class got a kick out of it.”
Rick Gebhardt says, “My lifelong friend, Vickie Bourque, from Gonzales, now living in Prairieville, entered the U.S. Army and was sent to Fort Polk for basic training. After many attempts by his platoon sergeant to pronounce his last name, the sergeant gave up and just renamed him ‘Private Bar-B-Que’! Ironically, he later became a cook in the military.”
Guys and dolls
George E. McLean, of Metairie, says, “The phrase that irritates me most is when I’m dining with a female companion and the server asks, ‘What do you guys want…?’
“I immediately point out that my companion is not a guy, and ask that she not be de-feminized by referring to her as a guy.
“With the money, time and effort women spend to be attractive females, one would expect them to object to be called a guy.
“If the server persists in calling my lady friend a guy, it has considerable effect on how I tip. Guess I’m old school.”
Blues in the news
Dusty Kling reminds those of us who love the blues that the Baton Rouge Blues Society All-Star Jam Benefit is Tuesday, April 26, at Phil Brady’s, 4848 Government St. Dusty says, “$20 gets you BRBS membership, food, and great music.”
Sue Robinson says, “I’ve been yelling at sportscasters all baseball season for saying ‘less than three outs.’
“I was taught in school that you should say ‘fewer than three outs.’ ‘Fewer’ is used with numbered things where you can substitute ‘a smaller number of’ in the sentence. Conversely, ‘less’ should be used when referring to amounts where ‘a smaller amount of’ can be substituted in that sentence.
“I readily admit I am a dinosaur, so perhaps this rule has gone by the wayside. Can someone set me straight on this?”
Special People Dept.
Ruth Bezet Barbay, of Plaquemine Manor, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Sunday, April 24.
Linnie Crayton, of the Woodhaven community of Tickfaw, celebrates her 91st birthday on Friday, April 22.
Maurice Roques, of Darrow, celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, April 22.
Katie Scalise, of Brusly, celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, April 23.
Ora Kinchen Smith celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, April 23.
Lowell and Mary Anne Singletary celebrate their 68th anniversary on Sunday, April 24.
Orville and Meredith Stephens celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, April 22.
One picky fisherman
The New Orleans writer George Gurtner tells this story: “On a recent trip to Williams Seafood & Po-Boy on Williams Boulevard in Kenner, I found a note from a fisherman pasted to a bulletin board near the entrance to the restaurant. This, from a guy who knows what he wants in a fishing buddy:
“‘Looking for fishing partner to share fishing expenses. I have boat, motor, trailer and truck. No smokers, Democrats, socialists or communists. Call Hal...’”
Terri Karam Willett got this story from Kim Allen Moody, of Mount Airy, about Kim and her little daughter, Jessica:
“So we’re saying our prayers one night, and after we are finished with our normal prayers, Jessica says: ‘Dear Jesus, please take care of our poor that need food, and give them can openers...’”
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.