Smiley: Whose nez is it?

Kathy Higgins, of Metairie, heard a classic Southern accent story years ago from a college student in a class she was teaching:

“She was on vacation with her family in the Southwest when they stopped at a diner somewhere in Arizona for lunch.

“Her dad gave the waitress an order for cheeseburgers. When asked if he wanted anything on them, he replied, ‘Mynez, lettuce and pickles.’

“The waitress pointed to my student’s mother and asked him, ‘What does SHE want on hers?’

“ ‘Mynez, lettuce, and pickles,’ was his reply.

“Getting testier by the minute, the waitress then pointed in turn to my student, her sister and her brother, asking the same question each time. Her father gave the same reply.

“In an aggravated and impatient tone, the waitress loudly sighed and, while tapping her pen on the order pad, said to the father, ‘Mister, I know YOURS has lettuce and pickles. What do THEY want on theirs?’

“Everyone was silent until my student realized the communication problem and burst out laughing.

“She explained that ‘mynez’ was a common term used in New Orleans for mayonnaise.”

Mama mia!

Mike Romano, of Lake Rosemound, says although his parents were Italian, they didn’t want him speaking that language, and told his grandmother not to use it around him:

“In my teen years I really wanted to learn Italian. I would put my ear to the wall to hear what my mother was saying on the phone to my grandmother.

“Frustrated, I asked my uncle when we went fishing one Saturday why I wasn’t taught some Italian words.

“He taught me some words, but I had to promise to say that he didn’t teach them to me.

“I was so excited when I got home. I walked right in with my chest up — and before I could yell out three of the four words I learned to say, my mother was pulling my hair out.

“The next Saturday my uncle did not volunteer any more Italian words.”

The Liberty days

Thanks to Bill Black, aka Buckskin Bill, for shedding some light on Mike Haley’s old poster advertising LSU football game broadcasts on the “Liberty Network.”

Bill says when he worked for a small daytime radio station in Oklahoma, they carried re-creations of Major League Baseball games on the Liberty Broadcasting System, founded by Gordon McLendon, “The Old Scotchman,” of KLIF in Dallas.

The network only lasted from 1948 to 1952, but it made its mark for its innovative broadcasting. The great sportscaster Lindsey Nelson got his start on Liberty.

Bill says one day at noon a voice came over Liberty to announce that the network was shutting down.

It was Brooks Read, later to become an iconic figure in Baton Rouge television at WBRZ.

“We used to laugh about it after we both wound up in Baton Rouge,” says Bill, creator of a legendary children’s TV show on WAFB.

After Liberty, Gordon McClendon went on to pioneer the Top 40 radio format at KLIF.

He’s the subject of LSU journalism prof Ronald Garay’s 1992 book, “Gordon McLendon: The Maverick of Radio.”

Worthy causes

  • Bill Simon says 15 Lions Clubs in the Baton Rouge area are now taking applications for the Lions Camp for children with disabilities, a free one-week summer camp. Download an application at lalionscamp.org or call Bill at (225) 756-7077 or (225) 261-8683.
  • Children’s Hospital in New Orleans and the Westwego Fire and Police Departments benefit from Mo’s Pizza Fest 12 on Saturday, April 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mo’s Pizza in Westwego. Four bands will perform at the event, which over the past 12 years has raised more than $140,000 for the three agencies. Call (504) 341-9650.

Biting wit

Chapman Morgan, of Santa Maria, Calif., says, “My answer to those who ask me the same question asked of Melvin Daigle, ‘How old are you?’, is ‘Old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth.’ ”

Baked wisdom

Alan P. Carey says, “Last week I tore into a fortune cookie and therein was contained the old chestnut, ‘Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.’

“It’s STILL true.”

Christmas tree

Eleanor Cocreham offers “an addition to your mishearing song lyrics thread:

“Many years ago, riding in the car not long after the Christmas season, my husband and I were commenting on the budding foliage.

“As we were unable to identify one tree, our daughter Lauryn Hanley, then 5, leaned over the seat (before seat restraints) and solved the mystery by announcing it was a Gennapear.

“We had her repeat it several times, trying to understand.

“Finally, thoroughly exasperated, she yelled, ‘You know, Partridges Gennapear Tree!’

“Needless to say, it became our favorite tree. ...”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.