Dear Smiley: I moved to Louisiana through a job transfer in 1985 and decided to remain here after I retired.
I can shuck crawfish elbow to elbow with the best of them.
I jitterbug to swamp pop, dance to zydeco and enjoy the sounds of Cajun music.
I am familiar with the Acadians’ migration from Nova Scotia, and I know the story of Evangeline.
I also know that Louisiana was the first state to have a lone star on its battle flag, long before Texas, my home state, ever did.
I have embraced the Cajun experience, and I might add that I have also embraced a few Cajun ladies along the way.
When we have a stamp on our Louisiana drivers licenses to say “I am a Cajun,” I want it stamped on mine as well.
I am asking you, Smiley, to confer upon me the title of “Honorary Cajun.”
Hell, I might even change my name to Francois.
Dear Francois: By the power vested in me by absolutely no one, I hereby dub you an Honorary Cajun. This entitles you to buy me a root beer the next time we’re in Fred’s Lounge in Mamou.
Dear Smiley: Because of your column an amazing thing happened!
You extended birthday wishes to my dad, who is 94 and lives in Addis. You also included that he was a World War II veteran.
Another veteran saw the birthday wishes to my dad, somehow found his phone number and called to wish him a happy birthday and tell him he was a World War II veteran as well, soon to turn 95.
They talked for a while, and this made my dad’s day!
I would like to thank Mr. Thomas Kent for serving our country, and for the camaraderie that he showed to another veteran!
Dear Smiley: I’m an old timer like you, and I figured you could answer this one.
My mother used to mix a small quantity of aromatic spirits of ammonia in water, then drink it.
She claimed that it prevented “fainting.”
Do you know the correct formula? What exactly does it do?
I’ve heard of smelling it, but she actually drank it.
GERARD F. GAUDIN
Dear Gerard: Don’t know — why don’t you ask a REAL old timer instead of a kid like me?
Dear Smiley: More tornado memories:
I was raised in north central Wisconsin, and we had a root cellar built away from the house, made of cement and in a hill.
Many people laugh when I tell them that when father told us to run to the root cellar, we would grab a metal dish pan (back in the days when dishes were done by hand) wearing it like a helmet and making a run for the cellar.
I can tell you that hail hurts, and I’ve seen it as large as baseballs and drifted like snow.
Another of my weather-related stories is about walking to school on top of fence posts because the snow had drifted that high.
I have lived in Louisiana for 42 years now, and I still hate the summers.
But I would never move back up north, because I am spoiled with our winters.
Dear Smiley: Coming back from a frustrating fishing trip on Sunday, I had just passed the Interstate 12 exit heading west at Madisonville when the traffic just stopped.
We were moving forward a few feet at a time, and everyone was steaming in both lanes, when to make matters worse several guys on motorcycles decided to just hop on the paved shoulder, passing up all of us in the other lanes.
True to form, a little Porsche joined them to get to the head of the line.
Then a couple of miles up the road we passed the cause of the slowdown: an 18-wheeler on fire.
And adjacent to the wreck was a state trooper, writing tickets to the motorcycle riders and the Porsche driver.
I laughed all the way home.
Dear Smiley: Did I miss it? In your listing of great train songs I haven’t seen any mention of the best train song ever: “Last Train to Clarksville” by The Monkees.
CINDY BLACK BOUCHIE
Dear Smiley: Cooking oil was rare as a new car tire during the rationing restrictions during World War II.
While innovative families “made do” with almost everything, one family found out Vaseline was no substitute for cooking oil when frying catfish.
Dear Smiley: Long before Facebook, Twitter, etc., Baton Rouge had its own social network.
It was and is called the Smiley Anders column.
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.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved