Kathy Abbott says, "Your column recalling one reader’s experience during the fall of the Berlin Wall brought to mind my husband’s experience in Dusseldorf during the German Reunification Celebration on Oct. 3, 1990.

"After a hard day’s work, Bob’s German counterpart asked if he would like to see some of the sights in Dusseldorf that evening.

"Bob jumped at the chance, hoping to participate in some of the Reunification festivities. Imagine Bob’s surprise when his guide appeared dressed in cowboy boots, bluejeans, a fringed leather jacket and a Stetson hat.

"They proceeded to a Texas karaoke bar, where Bob was placed in the center of a large booth, surrounded by hard-drinking Germans singing country music.

"After an especially rousing rendition of George Strait’s 'All My Exes Live in Texas,' Bob excused himself to 'use the restroom,' never to be seen again.

"As he walked back to his hotel at midnight, he was able to see the distant fireworks over the city and hear the roar of the celebration, so his evening was not a total loss."

A Sears burro?

Diann Talbot, of Baker, says, "I don't know how many people know this, but in the early 1960s you could order live animals from Sears.

"Someone ordered a Mexican burro, but would not take it due to a slight foot deformity. My father was told to find someone to take it.

"He had three grandchildren, 4, 6 and 7, so my kids got it.

"We took out the back seat of our ’47 Ford and put it in the back. Heading for home through downtown traffic, a car came alongside with some boys in it. One of them shouted, 'I told you there was a jackass in that car!'

"We got a lot in what is now Central for him. My children loved Taco the burro."

Twin pianos?

Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Clinton, comments on a recollection about late music store owner Jack O'Neil:

"Earl Newman mentioned the piano playing mechanical Santa Claus in the O'Neill's front yard on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. I don't remember there being two piano-playing Santas on the boulevard.

"The Fruge family had a Santa playing a red upright piano for years. They owned Fruge's piano shop on Coursey Boulevard."

Mobile customers

Bob Guchereau Jr., of Lafayette, says he appreciates "the generous assistance I receive as I grocery shop in the Lafayette area in a 'mart cart' provided by the thoughtful store managers.

"Helpful men and women offer to reach unreachable items for me, and cashiers reload my cart so I can get to my car.

"Because of my health and mileage, at 87, I'll be using these battery-powered carts into the future."

Special People Dept.

  • Hurschel Burleigh, of Luling, celebrates his 95th birthday Monday, Nov. 18.
  • Marian and Gerald Frederick, of Delcambre, celebrated their 60th anniversary Thursday, Nov. 14.

Language barrier

After we heard from a reader who thwarts telemarketers by speaking Cajun French, we got a note from another reader signed "Name withheld to protect my secret strategy:"

"I have used a similar strategy for several years now. However, I find it tiring to have to say 'Je parle pas anglais' all day, so I have enlisted my answering machine to do the work.

"It has three prerecorded messages, in English, French, and Spanish. I like the French message best, so Pierre, as I call him, has become my default phone answerer.

"Persons with legitimate business will leave a message after the tone. Most others will hang up during the message.

"Pierre answers, very politely, 'Bonjour. Nous ne pouvons pas prendre un appel à ce moment.' (We can't take a call now, but just wait for the tone and leave a message.)

"However, I am not convinced it is the French that dissuades them. Even if I switch to English, they still hang up.

"I guess even a telemarketer realizes that leaving a toll-free number, and asking me to call so they can tell me how much money they want from me, does not make me likely to call. N'est-ce pas?"

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.