"Here is one of my experiences while traveling in France," says Peter Dassey, of Kenner:

"In the '90s I would 'crew change' in Paris on a monthly basis while on my way to West Africa to work in the oil field.

"One evening for dinner, I went down to the hotel restaurant to sample their buffet. Most of the entrees involved fish of some sort.

"I am not particularly fond of the way they cook fish there. Too many little bones to pick through.

"But I came across something other than fish in a red sauce; I think it was some kind of pork. It was round and about the size of a baseball.

"As I sat trying to figure out how to eat this dish, the waiter approached, and saw I was in mild distress.

"'May I?' he politely asked.

"Taking my knife and fork, he proceeded to explain the delicacy before me and stabbed the stubborn meal — only to have it squirt away from his assault, skidding from my plate and falling off the table onto the floor.

"As we looked at the escapee and then to each other, he politely bowed and said, 'Monsieur, may I recommend the fish?'"

Short story

"For the past 40 years I have owned a two-seater convertible," says Sheila Hebert, of Abbeville.

"I’m a perfect fit, being only 4 foot, 10 inches. But I still have a problem seeing below the car hood; a pillow does help but not completely.

"Years back I was in a parking lot driving out of my space when there was a terrible thump. Terrified, I opened the door and found my car teetering on the yellow concrete marker for the space!

"I couldn’t help laughing to tears.

"I called my husband to come get me, hardly able to talk from laughing. When he arrived he just shook his head. He was not surprised or mad, because he said nothing shocked him.

"We had met years before after I backed right into his car in another parking lot. Did I mention it’s hard for me to see backing up?

"I still drive my little beep-beep, and will till I can’t get in or out in my senior years! I'm 72 years young!"

Which reminds me

When I worked for the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, I drove an Austin-Healey Sprite.

One afternoon at quitting time, the other guys suggested we retire to The Pastime for refreshments, and we all headed out for the parking lot.

I noticed them standing around rather then getting in their cars, and when I tried to back up I discovered why. My car wouldn't move.

When I got out to check, fearing some major mechanical disaster, I found they had lifted up the little car and put a wooden Coke case (remember those?) under my axle.

The case was just tall enough to keep my back wheels from touching the ground.

They were greatly amused; me, not so much…   

Remedial French

"You brought this on yourself," says Larry Sylvester, of Baton Rouge.

He's referring to my questioning of "geaux" or "gaux," as in "Geaux Tigers:"

"The letter 'e' in 'geaux' softens the g-sound. But we have alternates in Louisiana in some Cajun names like Gaudet and Gaudin, which are pronounced like 'go.'

"But the most compelling arguments are found in two other French words, 'gauche' and 'gaudir.'

"Gauche, means left; for example, 'la main gauche' (the left hand).

"Gaudir is a verb that might mean 'to make fun of' or 'to deride.' We could use 'gaudir' to taunt the other team…

"There are some definite possibilities here."

Special People Dept.

— Anna Ladmirault Darensbourg, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 100th birthday Tuesday, August 24.

— George and Ethel Sexton, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 71st anniversary Tuesday, August 24.

Smart Southerners

Roger Wattam, of Baton Rouge, says, "Tim Palmer's Monday recollection of a short-lived 'intellectual' cheer reminded me of a similar one we had in high school in Arkansas — but with a Southern flair:

"Repel them, repel them,

Make them relinquish the ball!

Retard them, retard them,

Y'all!"


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.