Dear Smiley: Business trips before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall not only allowed me to chip my own piece of the wall and buy a souvenir T-shirt, but reminded me how much we take for granted in our great country.
Two months before the fall, I took a picture of a plaque on the wall where the last person was killed trying to escape to a free life.
After the fall, I was fascinated by the huge number of people looking in all the store windows. I was told that in the East, even if a person was one of the few with any money, the stores had almost nothing to sell.
The people from the East had never seen that much merchandise, and could not believe there could be that much stuff to sell.
Dear Smiley: Your stories about Cajuns serving as French language interpreters in World War II reminded me of this tale.
I'm originally from Youngsville, and my uncle, Mabry Romero, of Lafayette, took part in the liberation of Paris. He used to tell this story about his being a French interpreter for his Army buddies.
Once, his buddy asked him if he could ask a certain young French lovely for a date with him.
Uncle Mabry told him to ask, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” That describes a more intimate “occupation of Paris.”
She slapped his buddy!
Dear Smiley: Regarding your recent series of stories:
Senior citizens without a lot of activities now harass telemarketers! It makes my day!
WALTER B. MERRILL
Stop the music!
Dear Smiley: Granddaughter Callie Jo can now just reach the doorbell.
She ran up to the door, stood up on her "tippie-toes," and punched the button several times, then turned around and said to her grandmother, "Maw Maw, the ding dong thing won't ding dong."
I reached around her and opened the door so she could hear it inside.
GARY "PAW PAW" WATSON
Dear Paw Paw: And I know you and Maw Maw must be thrilled that she's learned this little trick…
Dear Smiley: My father, a sugar cane farmer and Cajun storyteller from West Baton Rouge, told me this tale over 60 years ago:
Once upon a time a momma crawfish took her baby crawfish on a tour of the local bayous and coulees deep in the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin.
They came upon a cow, knee deep in the bayou. Baby crawfish exclaimed, "Momma, Momma, what's that?" She told baby crawfish, "Not to worry; that's a cow, she will not harm you."
They went a little farther down the bayou and spotted a big brown bird with a long beak in the water. The inquisitive baby crawfish said, "Momma, Momma, what's that?" She replied, "That's the state bird of Louisiana, the brown pelican. He will not harm you."
They swam farther down the bayou, and Momma crawfish suddenly shouted, "Run, Run like hell!"
When they finally reached a safe spot, baby crawfish was out of breath and shaking with fear. He excitedly said to Momma crawfish, "What was that creature wearing those white boots?"
Momma crawfish replied, "Son, what you saw was a Louisiana Cajun. When you see a Cajun decked out in white boots, run like hell, because they will eat anything that don't eat them!"
No Popeyes biscuits?
Dear Smiley: Our great-granddaughter Emmy, 16 months old, is learning how to name animals from a book of animal pictures.
She looks and points, then says the name. It goes like this:
When she is pointing to the chicken, she always adds, "French fries!"
JOEL d'AQUIN THIBODEAUX
Dear Smiley: About your mentions of Ogden Nash:
It has been quite a while since I wrote you; but being 90, things move a little slower.
When pursuing a young lady, I like this Ogden Nash poem (titled "Reflection On Ice-Breaking" and written in 1931):
Dear Buddy: I'm impressed that at age 90, you're writing about your pursuit of young ladies in the present tense!