Smiley: Language barriers

Jana B. Walker tells of her experiences with regional speech differences:

“I moved down here from the snow-covered mountains in 1968.

“My first day of school I was sent to the principal’s office for disrespecting my teacher.

“I answered her with ‘Ya,’ not ‘Yes, ma’am.’

“After calling my mother, they finally believed us — and it wasn’t long before I got ‘carried to the store’ to ‘make groceries,’ ‘got down’ when we got there, and drank ‘Coke,’ no matter if it really was Sprite.

“In 1975, I moved back up to Colorado. Again, my first day of school I was sent to the office, this time for smarting off to a teacher.

“He wanted me expelled for saying ‘Yes, sir.’ ”

Isopods galore

Nathan Gautreau comments on the Tuesday Advocate story about LSU researcher Robert Carney donating his ocean specimen collection to the Smithsonian.

Accompanying the story was a photo of him holding a giant isopod.

Says Nathan: “The Tuesday edition of The Advocate was probably the only newspaper in the world that featured an isopod on the front page and one in ‘Sherman’s Lagoon’ on the comics page.”

Geaux, Breaux!

Southern Living magazine has named Breaux Bridge as a “Small Town We Love” in the upcoming July issue, on newsstands Friday, June 20.

The article features five small towns that “evoke the best in Southern life and tradition.”

Breaux Bridge, the only Louisiana town among the five, is described as a “bevy of Cajun and Creole eateries” with a “lovingly preserved downtown district” just steps away from “nature’s paradise brimming with bayous and teeming with wildlife.”

Piano man

I don’t normally plug books I didn’t write, but I have to make an exception for the new LSU Press book, “Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues” by Advocate entertainment writer John Wirt.

The first half of the book is a joyous account of New Orleans rhythm and blues musicians in the ’50s and ’60s — from Guitar Slim to Shirley and Lee; Professor Longhair to Doctor John.

It tells how bands introduced New Orleans R&B to the world and had a wild time doing it, despite the indignities and dangers of the Jim Crow South.

The second half of the book tells a sad story of how Huey, living in Baton Rouge, fought fruitless legal battles to reap the rewards from the songs he wrote, including “Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” “Don’t You Just Know It,” “High Blood Pressure” and “Sea Cruise” (which was given to white teenager Frankie Ford by Huey’s record company managers).

John Wirt has done his usual meticulous job of chronicling a special time for New Orleans music. If you love R&B, you’ll love his book.

Northern exposure

For years, hundreds of former residents of north Baton Rouge have gathered the Thursday after Independence Day to recall old times in their old neighborhoods.

This year, the reunion is on Thursday, July 10, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. You’re asked to register at the front table so they can get a head count and bring at least one nonperishable item for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Call Haskell Douglas, (225) 274-6060; Wayne Price, (225) 333-6280; or Jim Carruth, (337) 652-7325.

Special People Dept.

  • Rebecca Elsensohn, of Walker, celebrates her 95th birthday on Thursday.
  • Sharkey Vance Chaney celebrates his 94th birthday on Thursday. He’s a World War II veteran, having served in the Signal Corps.

    Joseph P. “Blackie” and Natalie Roumain celebrate their 66th anniversary on Thursday.

Defining moment

Dudley Lehew offers this definition:

Split second: That interval of time from when the traffic light turns green in front of you and the honk of the car behind you!

Now that’s power!

Harvey Pashibin, of “Upper Lafayette,” says he “got quite a scare Tuesday morning” when he read about President Barack Obama’s creation of a Pacific Ocean preserve by expanding a national monument around remote islands between Hawaii and American Samoa.

“Was checking Monday night’s email and the Washington Post’s News Alert read: ‘Obama to vastly expand Pacific Ocean.’

“I don’t have time to read the article. I’m in the backyard now tuning up my boat … in case he decides to do the same with the Gulf.”

Louisiana version

Ronnie Stutes, our unpaid puzzle reporter, says he enjoys doing the daily NEA crossword puzzle in The Advocate, “but I have to point out an obvious error in the Monday puzzle.

“The clue for 52 across is ‘Ewe’s mate.’

“Everyone in Louisiana knows the answer is ‘Trina,’ but there is space for only three letters.”

Write 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.