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'Tis the season for gumbo and football. Here's a story about the latter that I enjoyed:

Jim Miller, of Diamond, Mississippi, says, "Sonny Chapman's Tuesday note that Bear Bryant suggested football was larger than life reminds me of the greatest response I ever heard a coach make to a reporter.

"After I left my executive position with the Saints in 1996, I took a similar post with the Buffalo Bills and had the privilege of working with Coach Marv Levy.

"Marv was not your typical coach — an English literature major and Phi Beta Kappa who always put football in perspective.

"I'll never forget the time a reporter asked Levy if an upcoming game was a 'must win.'

"Marv looked the scribe in the eye and responded: 'Son, World War II was a "must win." This is a football game.'

"Not exactly what the Bear would have said, but probably more accurate."

Fun with French

Thanks to Dr. May Waggoner, professor in the Languages Department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, for lending her expertise to our discussion of French phrases:

"Responding to your anonymous correspondent, 'Laissez les bons temps rouler' is not originally French: It is a direct translation from colloquial American English, and as such there is no 'proper' word order in another language.

"Even the word 'temps' does not mean this kind of 'time' in French. So the word order is acceptable in equally colloquial French.

"But please! I have spent my entire university teaching career trying to teach people to spell it correctly. 'Temps' is plural. So 'bons' should be plural. The correct spelling is 'LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER.'"

Eat your greens!

Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge, continues our seminar on gumbo with mention of Leah Chase's famed "green gumbo" (gumbo z'herbes):

"Ever see this recipe? It seems to cry out for potato salad. And why not — it has everything else in it."

The recipe, which Bill found on the "Creole Classics" site, says, "She actually only made her famous green gumbo once a year on Holy Thursday. Every year she would cook 100 gallons … made with nine different types of greens."

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"The ingredients included mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, beet tops, cabbage, romaine lettuce, watercress, spinach and carrot tops."

Sputnik memories

In our Nostalgia Corner, Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, reminds us that Oct. 4 was "the anniversary of the 1957 launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik, by the Russians.

"I can remember sitting around a radio slowly turning the dial, trying to pick up the signal the Russians wanted the world to hear.

"It was a remarkable feat at the time, and led the United States to increase its presence in what would become the 'space race' and the moon landing in 1969!"

I happened to be in a science class at LSU when the news broke about Sputnik. The professor, whose field as cryogenics, predicted that scientists in the U.S. would finally get the government support they needed for such revolutionary projects in space and elsewhere, due to the Cold War.

Nice People Dept.

Joe and Elonia Cronan, of Baton Rouge, say, "The 'Good Neighbor Award' goes to Kenny Hernandez, who has cut our grass weekly since Hurricane Ida when we were unable to contact our yard guy. This 93-year-old neighbor and his wife says, 'Thank you, Kenny!'"

Special People Dept.

Joseph E. Darensbourg, of Baton Rouge, celebrated his 90th birthday Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Not flattering!

K.C. Spaulding says, "I saw in your Tuesday column where the residents of Michigan's U.P. (Upper Peninsula) were described as YOUPERS.

"The U.P. is separated from lower Michigan by the Mackinac bridge. As a kid I lived in the Detroit area, and the residents of lower Michigan were called TROLLS because they lived below the bridge."

Not polite!

Speaking of names, Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "At the risk of drawing the ire of my hometown brothers and sisters, I have been told, usually after doing or saying something not considered high class, that people from Opelousas should be called Opelousasses."


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.