Smiley: Yams and chocolate

Ever so often I’m reminded of why I love south Louisiana.

I’ve been invited to be a judge at a “Soirée Royale” being held Sept. 9 by the Opelousas-St. Landry Chamber of Commerce at Evangeline Downs.

Other than me, the judges are distinguished in the culinary arts — chefs, food writers, bloggers and critics, food scientists and foodies of all types.

When I received my instructions, I noticed how smart the organizers were — they scheduled the food judging BEFORE the wine tasting.

Also, in addition to the usual categories — appetizer, soup, meat, seafood, dessert — they have added separate categories for yams and chocolate.

How can you not love any place that singles out these delicacies?

(I only wonder where they put chocolate-covered yams.)

A public service

Marvin Borgmeyer says, “As LSU approaches another football season, Brother Eldon Crifasi of Catholic High School once again is volunteering to fill any empty Tiger Den Suite or Stadium Club seats.

“He is especially concerned that some folks may not be willing to attend the first three home games, since the competition is slightly less than stellar.

“So, to ensure that Death Valley is completely filled, he (and I as his designated driver) are willing to help.

“Free ticket pickup can be arranged by calling (225) 769-0002. Be the first to call and help ensure a successful season for our LSU Tigers!”

Heavy traffic

Maria Stuckey says a car song we haven’t mentioned is the 1956 novelty song “Transfusion” by Nervous Norvus, aka Jimmy Drake. It’s about a careless driver who has to get blood transfusions after every wreck.

Shirley Fleniken says a car song she loves is “Long Black Limousine” by Elvis. It’s on his 1969 “Elvis in Memphis” album.

Nice People Dept.

Bill Pomeroy, a financial planner, says, “I have been retired/disabled for the past three years, but my former clients have kept my spirits up.

“One special lady is Kay Babin’s wife Mary. Kay and Mary have been retired for many years, and were always among my favorite clients.

“So I wasn’t too surprised when she baked me a lemon pie soon after I had to retire.

“That was three years ago, and Mary — the ‘pie lady’ — has baked me a pie (from scratch) every couple of weeks since then, and they are delicious!

“Mary is the typical Southern lady we see in movies, but a much better pie-maker!”

Nostalgia Corner

Tom Simoneaux, of Paincourtville, waxes nostalgic:

“Back in the 1950s the Coca-Cola Bottling Co., each new school year, would give elementary school students a Coca-Cola pencil and a ruler with the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ inscribed on it.

“Also, on the school bus, the person sitting in the first seat behind the bus driver would hang a red flag out the window to warn oncoming traffic to stop when the bus was unloading students. And one person would stand at the front door with a red flag to escort students across the highway.”

Above and beyond

Jeanette Gatzman says, “After attending the wake for William ‘Bill’ Daniel, three friends and I had lunch at Sammy’s Grill in Zachary.

“One of our ladies had polio as a child, and wears a brace and uses a walker.

“She was having difficulty getting up from her chair, and two sheriff’s deputies seated at the next table came over and assisted her.

“We thanked them, but I feel such a random act of kindness needs to be acknowledged publicly. We thank them again for an act that truly went above and beyond the call of duty.”

Getting results

Donna Hightower says when she told of the cedar box Kornmeyer’s Furniture gave seniors at St. Joseph’s Academy in 1971, she mentioned her need of a key to open hers:

“I heard from Mary Beth Drez, of New Orleans, a 1963 graduate of SJA.

“She had the same box and two keys, so she sent one to me and it worked. My thanks to both of you for allowing me to open a box of memories.”

Special People Dept.

Vergie Hamilton, of Hattiesburg, Miss., celebrates her 97th birthday Monday.

Bollan and Nell Corkern, of Watson, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Monday.

The other French

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says our story about a gent hitting the wrong phone button and calling Seattle reminds him of another misplaced call:

“Many years ago a friend of mine, a certified Cajun from Pierre Part, made a call to a home not too far away, but in a different area code.

“Someone answered the call in French, prompting my friend to speak the same.

“After a few pleasantries, my friend asked to speak to someone else.

“The person on the other end didn’t recognize the name, so the two realized a wrong number had been dialed.

“She had entered the wrong area code and was talking to someone in Quebec, Canada!”

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.