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Advocate columnist Smiley Anders

In these difficult times, when civility can sometimes seem in short supply, I welcome signs that people are still doing kind things for one another.

Helen Rankin, of Baton Rouge, gives three examples: 
"My mail carrier and I have become friends since February, when I was not getting a magazine subscription and she did all she could to help me. She left get well cards in my mailbox after she found out I had surgery.
"My paper carrier, after learning about my surgery, now hangs it on my door handle. I could not believe the extra effort that she puts out to be so accommodating, even in bad weather. I am beyond spoiled.
"I would also like to thank the group that has taken the time to clean up Little Misery Cemetery on Old Hammond Highway. It looks really nice all year long. Thank you to people who show respect for the departed." 

Local version

Dale Aydell says, "National media has been lately using the term 'walked back' when speaking about politicians who revise their original statement.

"Of course, in Louisiana what we use is 'crawfished.'" 

Hear the buzz

Ed Fleischmann adds this to our discussion of Maringouin in Iberville Parish:

"The word 'maringouin' is Acadian French for mosquito, and it is onomatopoeic, which means the naming of a thing by the vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.
"A rough phonetic representation of the pronunciation of maringouin is 'mah rang wennnh.'

"The standard French word for mosquito is 'moustique,' which doesn’t sound anything like the warning that the little pest gives us here in Louisiana."

Feel the rush

Speaking of buzzing critters, Roy Blanchard says, "While watching the hummingbirds zoom around, I have come to the conclusion that I am feeding them entirely too much sugar water." 

Cajun with coffee

Paul Crisler, of Denham Springs, says, "Your 'speaking Louisiana' stories reminded me: 

"While serving in the Navy on a sister ship to the USS Kidd, we had a cook named Thibodeaux, from Thibodaux.
"His superior was a chief cook who called him 'Thigh-bo-dex from Thigh-bo-dex.'
"His parents owned a small store in Thibodaux and sent him a case of dark roast Community Coffee.
"You should have seen the faces at breakfast the next morning." 

Initial reaction

Ricky Sizeler, of Destrehan, says, "After reading about all the mispronounced city names in your column, I was reminded of a story a friend once told me.

"He was a TV repairman and had a customer call him about repairing her TV.

"He asked her what brand the TV was, and she said she would have to go look.

"When she came back to the phone, she told him she couldn’t pronounce it but could spell it.

"He said, 'That’s OK, go ahead and spell it.'

"She replied, 'R-C-A.'"

Hunger game

Donald Landaiche, of Donaldsonville, tells this story of survival:

"On a family crawfishing trip off the River Road in St. James Parish in 1969, it started raining very hard.
"I found that my car was hopelessly stuck in the mud, so I had to walk a mile back to the River Road to phone for help.
"By the time my brother-in-law came to the rescue, it was very late.
"I told the mom and kids we could stop somewhere for a hamburger, but they said they were full.

"They had found a sack of raw potatoes and a knife to peel them, so they filled up on potatoes." 

What's 'gratitude?'

"Several years ago, a kitten found its way to our home," says Jeannette Beck, of Donaldsonville. "We could never quite pet him. He was the most aggravating cat.

"We called him 'Horsefly' — always buzzing around for food, but hardly ever could we pet him.

"He got hit by a car, and luckily, my husband caught him and brought him to the vet.

"With all that care, you would have thought he would have liked us. Never happened."

Of course not. He was a cat. …  

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