Smiley: The pink building

I knew of the family squabble involving Brennan’s, the iconic New Orleans restaurant, but it was still a shock to read that it had resulted in the closing of the pink building on Royal Street.

Memories of good times started flowing thick and fast:

When my granddaughter and her husband graduated from the LSU School of Nursing, their celebratory luncheon was held there, adding a touch of class to their achievement.

When I helped host a national conference of newspaper columnists in New Orleans, our kick-off dinner was at Brennan’s, where the food and ambiance left the diners speechless — a extremely rare condition for a columnist.

Lady Katherine and I recalled some long, memorable meals there with the New Orleans writer and bon vivant Bonnie Warren, bringing us up to date on the city’s abundant supply of characters.

And I remembered when we were invited to dinner at Brennan’s on the evening of the Super Bowl (by Lady K’s mom, who was in New Orleans escaping a Minnesota winter).

We accepted, using the reasoning, “Hey, there’ll be another Super Bowl next year …”

As we settled in, I asked the waiter how the game was going.

“Lousy game,” he said. “No score in the first quarter. …”

Meaning my “0-0” on a football board had held up, and I was due enough cash for — well, dinner at Brennan’s. …

Easily entertained

Paul Major, of Livonia, says, “You know you’ve reached a certain point in your life when you and your wife find yourselves sitting on your back steps with a glass of wine at 9 on a Friday night watching cattle being unloaded from an 18-wheeler at the barn next door.

“To paraphrase Garfield, ‘We’re retired, baby!’ ”

Exploded theory

Michael McNeese, of Prairieville, and Dale Eichelberger say the danger of an explosion while pumping gas and using a cellphone, mentioned by a reader, is an “urban myth.”

Michael says it “was perpetuated by gas stations posting signs based on the myth before they had investigated the facts.

“Static electricity is a problem in this setting, but its source clearly is not cellphones.”

The website says, “Warnings about the dangers of using cellular phones in the presence of gasoline fumes began circulating on the Internet in 1999 …” but “… we have found no real-life instances of … an explosion occurring.”

Michael adds, “That being said, living with a phone to your head is only likely to produce a vacuum in your head. Put down the phone and try thinking instead.”

Yes, when I’m next to someone pumping a highly volatile liquid, I want them to fully concentrate on the task at hand.

Yes, Master …

“As a former Boy Scout scoutmaster, I contributed to the ‘life lessons’ of the boys,” says Robert Smiley, of Denham Springs. (Although it seems to me his lessons were along the lines of “Don’t trust adults.”)

“On camping trips I would send the newest Scout to other campsites in search of a ‘smoke shifter’ for the campfire.

“Sometimes I would send them down to a campsite around the lake is search of a piece of ‘shore line’ to tie down the tents.

“I also taught them the little pellets on a log or stump were ‘smart pills.’ ”

But, he says, “some got so smart they refused to listen to my suggestions! Thus was completed their education, preparing them to be readers of your column!”

Flying low

I was receptive to Algie Petrere’s story about a police officer’s sense of humor, having just met a state trooper Saturday on U.S. 190 who stopped me to say I was driving at a somewhat rapid pace and would be well advised to proceed to my destination with a bit less haste.

He was polite and professional, looked sharp, and, most of all, showed mercy on a poor old man hurrying home before his Krotz Springs boudin got cold.

Where was I?

Oh, Algie’s story:

“Andy has always loved fast cars. Taking advantage of the empty roads one morning, he accelerated down a wide-open stretch.

“Unfortunately, a young police officer was waiting at the other end, and Andy was flagged down.

“He greeted the officer with a cheery, ‘Good morning.’

“ ‘And a good morning to you, Wing Commander,’ replied the officer. ‘Having trouble taking off?’ ”

Special People Dept.

Harold and Jan Rowland celebrated their 63rd anniversary Saturday.

Slogans revisited

Jack P. Tourres, of St. Gabriel, says he was on La. 30 when “I found myself behind a home delivery oil truck. Lo and behold, their slogan was ‘Passing gas since 1928.’”

Vermilion humor

Tim Palmer says this joke is big in Vermilion Parish:

“I got in the other afternoon and my wife was mad. She asked why I said I would cut the grass, and then just left.

“I told her that I didn’t say I was going to cut the grass, I said I was going to Meaux.”

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.