After last Wednesday’s Great Traffic Snafu, I announced a Traffic Horror Story Contest, to collect tales of being late to work, the search for alternate routes, etc.
It was a light-hearted, somewhat tongue-in-check gesture.
But, as Janet Kliebert points out, gridlock can have serious, emotionally devastating consequences.
Here’s her story:
“Wednesday was a morning of great sadness which turned to a morning of total panic.
“My 88-year-old dad, Ray Lorio, passed away the Saturday before.
“His funeral Mass was to start at 10:30 Wednesday morning. We left home at 8:15 for the 9 a.m. viewing at Our Lady Of Mercy.
“We thought we had plenty of time. We did not know about the accident which turned every Baton Rouge road into a parking lot.
“Every road we tried to take was another parking lot. The panic and sadness at not seeing my dad before the coffin was closed was almost too much to bear.
“After two hours on the road, we made it 10 minutes before the closing of the coffin and Mass.
“My son, Joe, who was one of the pallbearers, did not make the closing, the Mass or the burial at Roselawn.
“He was broken-hearted, as we all were.
“I am astonished that an accident caused this much chaos and sadness.
“I don’t know what I would have done if I had not made it to my dad, my hero, in time.”
Then there are the stories about people who just missed Baton Rouge’s traffic nightmare, like this one from Robert Cabes, of Lafayette:
“My wife and I were driving from our summer home in Maine last Wednesday, on the last leg from Chattanooga.
“Our route would normally be to Jackson, Miss., then down I-55 to Hammond and on to Baton Rouge.
“We stopped in Brandon, Miss., for a shrimp and grits lunch at the Heart & Soul diner, attached to a Shell station (hard to find grits in Maine).
“After lunch we decided to take the Natchez Trace Parkway to St. Francisville and then down U.S. 61.
“When we got to St. Francisville after a peaceful drive down the parkway, we got 89.3 FM (WRKF public radio) and learned of the snarled-up traffic in Baton Rouge.
“So we took the new Audubon Bridge across to New Roads and enjoyed Pointe Coupee Parish.”
(The way your luck was running that day, Robert, you should have gone from there to Evangeline Downs.)
Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, says, “Regarding outdated expressions, there is one that is now a regular part of the digital age.
“When you check your voice mail, place an order at your pharmacy or leave a message on an office phone, an automated voice says, ‘When you are finished, you may hang up.’
“Hang up what? I guess the more appropriate option would be, ‘Press END.’”
(And how about the instructions to “dial” phone numbers? When’s the last time you dialed a number?)
Mike Humble addresses “all the recent chatter about cartoon strips:”
“Although not a strip, The Far Side (I have the ‘second to last of the Mohicans’ still taped to my refrigerator) redefined cartoons and rests alongside Calvin & Hobbes in the cartoon hall of fame.”
And John LaCarna says, “Tops among my gone-but-not-forgotten comics is L’il Abner’s favorite, Fearless Fosdick, a strip within a strip. It was a parody of another great strip, Dick Tracy.”
She kills by night
In our wasp eradication seminar, Mary J. David says Roddy Boudreaux’s trick with soap and water works, “but should only be done after dark, when all the wasps return to their nest. No survivors to build another nest.”
Special People Dept.
- Joy LeBlanc Samson celebrates her 90th birthday Wednesday.
- Frank and Terry Janca celebrate their 59th anniversary Wednesday.
Too much quacking
Loretta Toussant says our discussion of old sayings reminded her of one her dad often used:
“When he had decided that I was talking too much (which was often), he’d say, ‘You know, Loretta, nothing spoils a duck but his bill,’ meaning my mouth was a problem!”
“Regular Reader” tells of growing up in a small town in Mississippi before air conditioning when folks kept windows open in the summer:
“One summer night my parents and I walked to my aunt’s house to visit.
“As we approached, we heard someone playing the piano.
“We walked in, and it was my cousin playing.
“When he stopped we all said, ‘Oh, Warren, please don’t stop.’
“He said, ‘I was just playing ‘The Wedding March.’
“He had been playing ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’ ”
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.