Dear Smiley: In the summer of the early ’60s I worked on a Texaco field crew in Opelousas.
I had a room with a Mrs. Rakley, but I had to eat out every night.
The guys on the crew told me about a real good restaurant out on the highway named "Swallows."
So that night I rode out that way — but for the life of me I could not find a place called Swallows.
So I stopped at a place named Soileau's and had a great meal.
I told the guys about that the next morning, and when they stopped laughing they told me I had indeed eaten at Swallows, except the Cajun name Soileau was pronounced Swallow.
A great lesson for a city boy from New Orleans!
What, no Dr. Payne?
Dear Smiley: For many years my dentist in Gretna was Dr. James Heurtin.
I think because of his name he was the most pain-free dentist who ever treated me.
And if after seeing Dr. Heurtin I needed an oral surgeon, he would send me to Dr. Akin.
Heurtin and Akin — whodathunkit?
Not so mellow yellow
Dear Smiley: Some of your recent columns made me think of this:
For many years my mother and father owned a real estate and insurance company in northern Illinois.
My mother was very professional when answering the telephone. However, my father would say "Hello,” but it sounded like he was saying “Yellow.”
People would hang up, thinking they had called the Yellow Cab Co.
Of course, this was way before you could call anyone from your cellphone contacts list, and when we had regular taxicab service.
EILEEN TUROWSKI TAYLOR
Never say never
Dear Smiley: In 2004 we lost Chino, our cat of 16 years. As pet owners know, that is tough.
My wife swore, "No more pets."
Soon after Hurricane Katrina, new neighbors moved in next door and brought with them their very friendly pet cat, Bugsy. He would climb the fence and make use of our shade trees from time to time.
My wife warned me not to get attached to him, so I named him RAC, short for Rent-A-Cat. It was like having a pet, without the responsibilities of having to care for him.
Sadly, his two caregivers passed away, and he adopted us as his family.
At the age of 16, he was added to the pet cemetery under our cypress tree, next to Chino.
Once again my wife is saying, "No more pets!"
Dear David: So tell me, what are you going to name your new cat?
Curse that mutt!
Dear Smiley: About pet names:
My mom punished us when we said a bad word, so I named my new dog "Dammit."
The neighborhood kids loved him, too. We could say we were just talking to the dog.
Dammit lived many years, and when I graduated from Lake Charles High School, part of the class poem was:
"When people heard Shaddock shouting,
But she was only calling her dog;
Dammit by name."
JULIA S. GOELLER
Dear Smiley: I have sometimes wondered how many people follow a practice of metamorphosing pet names.
We almost always wind up with different names for the same pet as time goes on.
Our present long haired dachshund came to us as Ingrid Von Squiggle, but became Inky.
We had another dachshund who was originally Loreli, but became Dogapotamus, due to her outsize disposition, and then finally just Potty.
I had a colleague who named his second cat Bestoff, because they already had Katz.
Dear Smiley: My favorite names for dogs were two I heard a long time ago: "Squatlow" and "Didhebiteya."
Or Camp Street
Dear Smiley: Your mention of Tchoupitoulas Street reminded me of the New Orleans police officer who came into the station sweating profusely.
His friend asked what happened. He said, “One of the tour buggy horses died on Tchoupitoulas. When I started to fill out the report, I was OK until I got to the location.
I had to drag that darn horse all the way over to Magazine Street!