Recent mention of retirement has led to several comments on this condition. Here's one:

Peter Clemente, of Walker, says, "Having recently joined the retirees of the world, and now in my training phase, I have found learning to do nothing constructive every day is very difficult to accomplish.

"But I now see it as having seven Saturdays every week."

The hungry Americans

A couple of stories about dining in other lands:

  • John Murphy says, "In Belgium, I was in a restaurant having lunch. Two young couples were seated near me. From their conversations I assumed they were American college students touring Europe on a budget.

"The menu was in French and Dutch. One of the guys, pondering the menu, said that for this meal he would splurge and order a steak. When the waiter came, he proceeded to order 'Fillet Americain avec frites.'

"The look on his face was priceless when the waiter placed a plate of finely ground raw meat with spices and fries in front of him.

"His friends were astonished, and burst out laughing at him.

"When the laughter subsided, I interceded and asked the waiter to take it to the kitchen and fry it as a patty and I’d pay for the guy's meal."

  • Richard Haerther, of Baton Rouge, says, "In 1985, my younger brother, parents and myself were visiting family friends in England and Germany.

"Our German host insisted we go to a small village in France for dinner. About the only word I recognized on the menu was French for steak.

"I ordered that dish despite strange looks from our host.

"It came out perfectly seasoned and cooked. It was great.

"After dinner our host asked how I enjoyed the horse steak."

Literal translation

Here's one about a customer getting what she ordered — just not in the way she expected.

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Mary Kay Cowen, of Marrero, tells of stopping at a chain restaurant not known for its mastery of steak preparation.

"I ordered a medium-rare steak. What I got was a thin piece of meat — medium on one side and rare on the other."

Double meaning blues

Ken Diebold, of Covington, addresses a recent column topic, language confusion:

"Double meaning words are often called Janus words or contronym words. I’ve been found a few in my time:

"Sanction: To allow (the government sanctions the ownership of guns by private citizens) or to penalize (some states impose sanctions on gun ownership).

"Left: To depart (he left the building) or to stay (he was left behind).

"Strike: To hit (a person) or miss (a baseball)."

Special People Dept.

  • William F. "Charlie" McCarthy, of The Blake, Baton Rouge, a retired SEC basketball official, will be 100 Sunday, Aug. 7. The celebration will be held Saturday, Aug. 6.
  • Ethel LeBlanc, of Donaldsonville, celebrates her 100th birthday Sunday, Aug. 7. She mowed her grass until she was 95.
  • Gretchen Gottfried, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 95th birthday Friday, Aug. 5.
  • Claudia Hebert, of Marrero, celebrates her 94th birthday Friday, Aug. 5. She is a volunteer at the West Jefferson Medical Center Auxiliary.

Days of songs and cigars

Yogi Naquin, of Bayou Blue, recalls an idyllic time in his youth:

"Reading about the bus rides to Nicholls State reminded me of when I went there.

"Some days I drove my car; other times I rode the bus from 'down da bayou' in Chauvin. The bus was driven by a good friend, Slick.

"After we dropped off some students at the local schools, it was just Slick, a young lady going to Nicholls, and myself.

"We would sing 'Alouette' to her. She would laugh and we would laugh. When it was just me and Slick, we would still sing, and each would light up a King Edward cigar.

"Oh, the good ole days!"


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.