Smiley: The tallest tale

Jack Belcher, of Clinton, offers us the kind of tall tale that would have delighted my dad. Smiley Sr. was a country boy from Mississippi (is that redundant?) and loved to tell stories that he swore were true.

He was so convincing (he was a great salesman) that I was in college before I realized that most of his stories were bogus.

Jack says this story is about a family in south Georgia:

“Back in the old days, there were people who went from farm to farm to help the farmers plant or reap their crops.

“One family that helped the farmers would have to move many times to find work during the year.

“Each time they moved, the man of the family would load the family’s belongings in an old wagon, pulled by a mule.

“He had a small flock of chickens that he would catch, tie their legs together and then throw them in the wagon.

“The family moved so many times that when he walked in the backyard, the chickens would lie down and cross their legs.”

High drama

Larry Sylvester winds up our series on great car songs with a bang by telling of “the best car song no one has ever heard.”

He says it’s “Saulnierville Station” by the Celtic French Canadian group Suroit:

“You probably haven’t heard this song unless you were fortunate enough to catch this group at a festival in Lafayette some years ago, or unless you were fortunate enough to be traveling in Nova Scotia and heard a band performing the number, with the crowd singing along to the chorus, word for word, with much gusto, extolling the high spirits of the driver who jumps the train tracks at Saulnierville Station going 100 mph, hears the ‘POW’ of a blow-out, feels the heat of his gas tank exploding, holds his breath as the old station wagon flies 100 feet in the air, and lands in a ball of fire.

“Not to worry, everyone comes out alive (except the car, of course).

“It’s the best car song I know.”

(Well, certainly the most exhausting …)

Creep of the Week

I love running stories about Good Samaritans, but Virginia K. Waghorne reminds us of the other kind of people:

“A nice neighbor or passerby brought my newspaper to my door for me — such a great help for a 90 year old!

“So I made a sign saying ‘Thank you so much,’ taped it to my walker, and placed it in the center of my driveway.

“I had high hopes for this to continue, and eagerly looked outside for maybe another good deed the next day.

“Imagine my chagrin ( and various other worse feelings) when I not only didn’t find another newspaper, but the creep had also taken my walker!”

Worthy causes

The Rena Stevens Cancer Fund benefits from a jambalaya and art show featuring Rena’s work Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 8224 Summa, Suite D. Call (225) 936-5005.

Special People Dept.

Thomas Kent celebrates his 95th birthday Friday. He’s a World War II veteran, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Katie Nell Morgan celebrated her 95th birthday Wednesday. She’s a retired educator in East Baton Rouge Parish.

James F. Hudson Sr. celebrates his 93rd birthday Sunday. He’s a founding member of the Gem and Mineral Society.

On Sunday Mandy and Ray Bates, of Zachary, celebrate their 68th anniversary.

Dwight and Ivonia Smith celebrate their 66th anniversary Friday.

Earl and Carole Corkern, of Hammond, celebrate their 61st anniversary Friday.

Anthony and Nancy Michelli celebrated their 59th anniversary Thursday.

Sylvester and Jackie Giroir, of Jackson, celebrate 54 years of marriage Friday.

Escape route

James A. Culotta adds to our seminar on rest rooms:

“Back in the ’50s, before interstate construction caused a change in the building, the Pastime had a back room with bar and large dance floor separated from the front bar by the galley kitchen, where Hazel’s historic pizzas were served.

“It was a very nice lounge where local bands like the Jokers sometimes played.

“I was told by lady friends that there was a pay phone in the ladies’ room.

“Probably for when some young lady needed an alternate way back home or to the dorm.”

(So THAT’S what happened to all my dates …)

Ultimate bargain

Ronnie Plauché, of Morganza, says our mention of Baton Rouge’s legendary Jefferson Highway store Joe D’s reminds him of “this conversation overheard at Joe D’s by my brother, Emerson Plauché Jr., a regular habitué of Joe D’s.

“A lady walks into Joe D’s and asks the butcher for two pounds of ground meat.

“The butcher prepares the package and says, ‘That will be $1.50, ma’am.’

“‘A dollar fifty!’ she replies. ‘They’re selling it at Hi-Nabor for 59 cents a pound!’

“The butcher responds, ‘Why didn’t you get it there?’

“She replies, ‘They were out.’ “ ‘Ma’am,’ says the butcher, ‘When we’re out, we GIVE IT AWAY!’ ”

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