Our seminar on French drew this response from Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge:
"When I was taking beginning French five days a week at LSU, one day, our instructor was comparing the French standard of living to America's.
"She said they lived frugally, without conveniences such as washers and dryers, or many other things we take for granted.
"'Yes,' I piped up, 'but they have one big advantage. They can speak French.'”
A gringo's 'gotcha'
A New Orleans reader, age 95, sends us this Spanish language tale:
"Before a vacation in Mexico some years ago, my late uncle, a true Cajun, decided he should learn some Spanish.
"After his flight, in the taxi to his hotel, the driver had a buddy riding with him.
"They laughingly discussed how they would overcharge this 'dumb gringo.'
"Arriving at the hotel, my uncle told them in Spanish, 'I am no dumb gringo; here is your proper fee.'"
It's in the bag
Althea Ashe continues our small car stories:
"In the early '70s, when I was driving a tiny Fiat Spider convertible, the car suddenly quit running on my way home.
"I went into a nearby business to use their telephone to call AAA, then went back outside and sat on the curb to await their arrival. Beside me was my very large handbag in which I carried everything I needed for the day.
"A huge pickup driven by a very large man stopped to offer assistance. When I told him I was getting to the repair shop soon, he looked from my tiny car to my gigantic handbag, back to the tiny car, and asked, 'How are you getting it there? In your purse?'”
Dick Thevenot, of Baton Rouge, tells me, "In support of the old Cajun saying, 'All the foolish aren’t dead' (Tous les fous ne sont pas morts), I offer the following story from the 1950s, when you and I were in 'J School' at LSU and few students had cars.
"My brother Wayne and I were briefly among the fortunate few when our older brother left his blue Oldsmobile convertible in our care.
"Failing to note that the fuel gauge was on empty, we drove around campus for two hours, always waving and smiling. The sputtering engine ended the tour of fame.
"After reviewing our net assets (80 cents), we decided to sit on the hood pretending that the car was parked while we resumed the smiling and waving.
"That week, we got three unexpected invitations to sorority parties! Who says advertising doesn’t work?"
Language of song
Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, says, "It has been fun to read the many and varied French lingo stories. Mine has a different twist, showing that 'Music is the international language of love!'
"Back in 2016, I took my first European trip. As I was coming into Paris from London via the Chunnel, coming up from the subways, I stumbled upon some musicians who did not not speak English. And I don't speak a bit of French!
"I joined them at their request after I showed them my guitar, and we had a blast, without speaking a word of English or French to each other.
"Like jazz players in the French Quarter, we connected beyond words; they even had a hat for Euro tips!"
Special People Dept.
Catherine Talbot Maloney, of Lafayette, celebrates her 90th birthday Thursday, Sept. 2. She says she "stays young by reading Smiley's column every day." (Works for me too. …)
Shooter Mullins says, "Many years ago, at a school on the river, I heard this cheer:
"'Go! Go! Go for a sco'!'
"Or maybe they were hollering
"'Geaux! Geaux! Geaux for a sceaux!'"
Paul Major, of Livonia, has a culinary question:
"A recent article in The Advocate quoted a study that concluded eating a hot dog could shorten your life by 36 minutes. It also said eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could lengthen your life by 33 minutes. Does that mean if I like hot dogs I should slather them with peanut butter and jelly?"