Peggy Davis, of Baton Rouge, says, "I’ve really enjoyed reading about how Cajuns used their French language skills during World War II, and am so proud of their contribution.

However, not all Cajuns were sent to France during the war. My father, Webster Mouton of Abbevillle, enlisted in 1941 and was sent to the Panama Canal to protect the mainland from possible attack from that direction.

"He was well trained as a machine gunner and mortar crewman, but the Army soon discovered other Cajun skills they could utilize.

"He became an Army cook. Whoever made that decision was a military genius! It must have been a win-win, because he re-enlisted for two more years. What could be better than a fun-loving Cajun as a cook in the Army?"

Lazy dogs?

"I was outside this morning," says Harry Clark, of Lafayette, "and there were two dogs checking out the neighborhood.

"I watched as a couple of cars drove past and the dogs completely ignored them. I realized I haven't seen a dog chase a car in years.

"Maybe rural dogs still do, but I haven't observed this in my infrequent journeys into rural areas.

"Maybe dogs are smarter now than they used to be, or the cars are just not as interesting to dogs anymore. Thoughts?"

(Cars are certainly not as interesting; they all look alike.  But I think what happened is one day a dog actually caught a car, and couldn't figure out what to do with it. Word got around the dog world, so they stopped the pursuit.)

Dad Standard Time

Eddy "Doc Banjo" Arnold says, "My dad, Sam Arnold, born in 1904, refused to reset his wristwatch when the time changed.

"When my brothers and I would say, 'Let’s go…it’s already 7:30!' Dad would ask, 'Is that sun time?'

"To my knowledge he never gave in…"

All in the family

Due to early-deadline pressure and my effort to remember all 10 of my great-grandchildren, my Thanksgiving column left out part of my family — the part I married into.

Lady Katherine's (slightly) older sister Valeri lives outside Philadelphia (the one in Pennsylvania, not Mississippi), markets "place-based tourism," and is writing a book about it.

Valeri's son Wil is vice president of IT for a cable TV company in Frisco, Texas, where he lives with wife Jen and daughters Arabella and Aliana. Son Wes is an economist with an international architectural firm in Chicago, where he lives with wife Michelle (a data analyst in healthcare administration, working on her second master's) and daughter Nola.

Interesting, accomplished people and three lovely little girls — I'm happy they're family.   

Holding pattern

Harold Chastant III is my kind of guy.

"I love holding and reading a newspaper," he says, remarking on our mention of living without Facebook.

While he owns and uses an iPhone, he says he won't need Facebook or Twitter "as long as the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate prints the obituaries, and I have person-to-person contact by email, texting, and this old form of communication called 'talking.'

"Everybody doesn’t need everything that comes along."

Special People Dept.

  • Ruth Elisar celebrates her 94th birthday Monday, Dec. 2. 
  • Claude Todero celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday, Nov. 30. He is a World War II Navy veteran. He is a barber, working five days a week.
  • Elizabeth and Al Brown celebrate their 58th anniversary Monday, Dec. 2.

What accent?

S. Boseman uses poetry, more or less, for this language lesson:

"A true Louisiana Who Dat 

can be identified with comparative ease.

Simply note which persons discard

Certain pesky silent T's

In big words like Tchoupitoulas and Tchefuncte

And little words like this, that, those and these."

Drinking problem

Our French language lesson for today, class, comes from Francis Celino, the Metairie Miscreant:

"I just read that 'latte' is French for 'you paid too much for that coffee.'"

Beyond their means

Algie Petrere came across this tale:

A mother and her daughter, 5, were shopping. The little girl picked out a dress. The mother said, "That's too expensive."

Her daughter grumbled, "Well, why did you have me if you can't afford me?"

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.