Smiley: Accidental vegan

I’ve just had a life-changing revelation.

After daughter Tammy posted on Facebook a recipe for a rich chocolate dessert, I got to thinking.

Chocolate, so we’re told, is made from roasted cocoa seeds ... seeds that have been grown and harvested in an agricultural process.

Therefore, it dawned on me, chocolate is a VEGETABLE!

Then I read a description of coffee — made from “the roasted and ground beanlike seeds of a tall tropical shrub …” and realized that coffee is a VEGETABLE JUICE!

So enjoy that mocha — it’s good for you.

Happy return

Bill Johnson comments on Bob Irwin’s adventure on the Panama Limited train, where he thought he had lost his shoes:

“In about 1960, I had a business trip to Chicago and decided an overnight train trip would be a simple solution.

“I got a compartment with all the necessary appliances.

“When it was time for bed, I spotted that nifty little slot in the wall and was so impressed that there was a good place to park my wallet and watch.

“About daybreak there was a knock on the door, and a distinguished porter was standing there with my wallet and watch.

“First he asked me to count my money, then he explained that the nifty spot was for shoes that needed attention, and could be accessed from the aisle.

“You better believe the next time I will think twice before placing my wallet in any old hole in the wall.”

North to Louisiana

One of the biggest Louisiana festivals is held in an unlikely place — Augusta, N.J.

Mike Arnone’s 24th annual Crawfish Fest is Friday through Sunday at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

The musical lineup includes Aaron Neville, Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Papa Grows Funk, Tab Benoit, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Anders Osborne and others.

Food includes boiled crawfish, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, po-boys, alligator sausage, chargrilled oysters, etc.

Visit: http://www.crawfishfestcom.

Making do

Dewey L. Mizell, of Zachary, says the discussion of our passion for strong drip coffee “reminds me of the time when coffee and sugar were rationed.

“I saw my dad and grandmother, out of desperation, roast and grind corn in an attempt to get the taste of coffee.

“Canned tripe was a common food commodity as was cane syrup and cathead biscuits. We found baked sweet potatoes in our Christmas stockings!”

He says dyes in socks and other clothing at that time would run when they were washed:

“To color Easter eggs, we’d boil them in the colored materials, and the eggshells would come out in bright colors.

“We also would put green leaves from our shrubs in an old nylon stocking with an egg. This leaf imprint would transfer to the Easter egg.

“Good memories — I wish my children could experience some of these old joys.”

(I don’t know, Dewey — I somehow can’t picture canned tripe as an “old joy.”)

Which reminds me

During one of my single periods, I shared an apartment with a guy I worked with who had also become suddenly single.

He had the apartment before I moved in, and when I did I discovered that he had never learned the art of cooking.

The stove looked as if it had never been used, and the refrigerator contained ice cubes and a couple of beers.

In the cabinet there was one can — of tripe in milk. He had no idea where it came from.

During the year I lived there, there were nights when I was hungry but didn’t feel like going out.

I would open the cabinet, regard the can of tripe — and head out the door.

The can was there when I left, and for all I know may still be there.

There are worse things than starving …

Special People Dept.

Earl Harps, of Denham Springs, celebrates his 96th birthday Monday.

Ruth Brown celebrates her 90th birthday Monday.

The Rev. Joel and Lurline Hilbun celebrated 62 years of marriage Sunday.

Big catch

A reader tells of a fishing retreat at Grand Isle sponsored by Catholic Community Radio:

“I caught more than redfish and trout — I caught a moving violation!

“I thought I would have gotten that at Golden Meadow, on the way to Grand Isle, which is famously known for giving out ‘tourist driving momentos!’”

(Sounds like the gendarmes in Grand Isle are learning from their neighbors to the north …)

The hole truth

Alex Crochet, of Abbeville, says, “My good friend Raymond Gagne tells the story of a traveler observing a highway beautification project.

“One man was digging a hole, and another came behind him to fill up the hole with the dirt.

“So then he stopped and asked them what they were doing. “The first man says, ‘We’re planting trees.’

“The second man explains, ‘The man who normally plants the tree is not here today.’ ”

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