Courtland Chaney says while teaching at U.S. military bases in Europe, he lived in the French-speaking part of Belgium and worked in Germany and The Netherlands.

One night he drove to the border between The Netherlands and Belgium and "the border guard pointed at the trash bag I kept in my car and asked what was in it.

"Using my rudimentary French, I attempted to say it was nothing: 'Ce n’est rien.' Then I realized I did not know how to say 'trash' in French.

"I blurted out 'C’est le garbage,’ pronouncing the word in a way that sounded French (at least to me).

"The guard then ordered me to bring the bag into the border facility and empty the contents onto a table for inspection. When I complied with the order, you should have seen the faces!

"I think the guard learned the English word for garbage that night. And I learned how to say garbage in multiple ways the next day to be better prepared.

"So, for your readers: 'garbage' in French is usually 'la corbeille' or 'des ordures,' and 'garbage can' is 'le poubelle.'

"Yes, 'garbage can' is a masculine noun in French. I should have known…"

Brees & Co.

Dudley Lehew, of Marrero, addresses a column topic:  

"I really like your reader's suggestion that tribute be given Saints legend Drew Brees by reworking Lee Circle in New Orleans with a statue of Brees.

"However, I think it should be expanded to include many others, i.e., Morten Andersen, the Mannings, Willie Roaf, Chris Paul, Jim Mora, Deuce McAllister, Marcus Colston, Tom Benson, Anthony Davis, etc.

"Perhaps a structure like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, with Brees the dominant likeness. The result could be called 'Champions' Circle.'

"By the time Brees' career ends (and New Orleans goes into mourning) the project should be completed.

"If all Saints and Pelicans fans contribute $1, perhaps through a 'GoFundMe' arrangement, no tax dollars would be needed.

"Finally, after seeing Brees in his inspiring role as a father sharing his record-breaking moment with his family, I think excess funds could go to the Drew Brees Foundation in honor of a truly great dad."

Eve of destruction?

The suggestion of GoFundMe financing by New Orleans athletic supporters came the same day I got a similar idea for a project involving the LSU Tigers.

At first I thought Linda Henning's prediction a tad extreme, but given the way things are going these days — $100,000 field-storming fines, Devin White billboards, white-outs, etc. — she might be right:

"If Coach O can beat Alabama, LSU fans will storm the field and tear down the stadium, and every fan will happily mail in $50 to build a new one."   

Sears nostalgia

Harold Mayeux says, "Stories about the old Sears and Roebuck brought back many memories for me also.

"Not only do I also remember the Allstate car, but the biggest mistake I ever made was selling my Sears motorcycle, made in the '50s.

"My mom and dad would get a Sears mail order catalog that would be good for about two or three years. (Today's are seasonal — spring, summer, fall and winter — with price increases in each one.)

"I can remember getting a 10-cent toy wooden truck from Sears for Christmas, and would enjoy for hours pushing it around in the dirt under our house (which was on pillars).

"Compare that with today's children's Christmas gifts."

Special People Dept.

Clifford J. Loudon, of Walker, celebrates his 94th birthday on Friday, Oct. 26. He is a World War II veteran.

Quiet times

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "After years of being yelled at for asking 'What?,' I got hearing aids.

"Now the things I can’t understand are a little louder, but there is a bright side.

"When I ask 'What?' and my wife sees my hearing aids, she doesn’t yell. They have actually made things quieter at my house."

Which reminds me

After I got my hearing aids, Lady Katherine saw me taking them out as soon as I got home from work. Big mistake…

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.