Smiley: The hole truth

You never know what’s going to interest you people. (I almost said “turn you on,” but that could have other connotations.)

I didn’t figure an off-the-cuff mention of childhood marble games was going to be a hot topic, but the stories about marbles just keep, uh, rolling in.

For instance, Thaddeus Marcell, of Morgan City, tells this one:

“Looks like someone beat me to the story about the game of trying to drop marbles through a hole in a cigar box or lose them.

“However, here is the rest of the story.

“During my grammar school days, one enterprising kid (not saying it was me) would make a square hole instead of a round one in the top of the box.

“Round objects do not go into smaller, square holes very easily — the house always has the advantage.

“Goes to show gambling (sorry, gaming) has been around a long time in Louisiana.”

(Tell me, Thaddeus — did that kid go on to operate casinos in Vegas?)

The Marbles Queen

Most of our tales of marbles describe it as a boy’s game, but Bonnie Clary, of Denham Springs, says her daughter “Shorty” was in first grade at Walker Elementary School when she discovered she was very good at marbles:

“She played with the boys at recess, and their teacher got complaints from the boys because she kept their marbles when she won.

“She told them that if they didn’t want to lose, then they shouldn’t have played.

“But she gave their marbles back after they went crying to the teacher and their parents.”

Never say no

Another Justin Wilson story, from Roy Miller:

“In his later years, Justin lived near Colyell Bay at French Settlement.

“My friend Jerry Cupit and I both knew Justin, and stopped by with our wives one day to say a brief hello on our way somewhere else.

“Justin had just finished cooking supper, and offered samples of all of the delicacies to us, including some wonderful, gigantic mushrooms.

“Three of us took large samples of all that fantastic food, but I was on a diet and thought the right thing to do was decline.

“Dumb decision. I can still visualize those mushrooms, and I think about them at least once a week.”

Devilish response

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, has another story about dealing with unsolicited telephone sales calls:

“Several years ago my daughter-in-law Heather Tosdale told me that when those folks called and tried to sign her up for a credit card, she would tell them that her family believed credit cards were ‘of the devil.’

“I asked why she didn’t just tell them she wasn’t interested.

“She replied that she liked to ‘hear them grovel’ when she suggested that they were asking her to go against her religious beliefs.

“For the record, neither Heather nor her husband, Thomas Pitchford, believe that credit cards are demonic — though they probably believe that telemarketers can be tormenting.”

Thank-you note

Donna thanks “Miss Marie and the church family at St. Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge:”

She says, “I met with her about my bills being behind since I switched jobs and salary dates changed.

“They sent a payment toward my rent to my landlord.

“I can’t begin to say thanks enough. I am still not totally caught up, but their act of kindness gives me courage to keep on the path I am on.”

Special People Dept.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, Jennie LeBlanc, of Paincourtville, celebrates her 96th birthday.

Al Dowty Jr., of Harahan, celebrates his 91st birthday Friday, Oct. 18.

Harold Harms Sr., of Central, formerly of McComb, Miss., celebrates his 90th birthday Saturday, Oct. 19. He is a Navy veteran of World War II and a retired Illinois Central engineer.

Jimmy and Germaine Pretlove, of Harahan, celebrate their 60th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 19.

True lies

After contributor Robert Begnaud described himself as a “retired know-it-all,” I heard from Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville:

“Having had the privilege many years ago of working with Robert, the ‘retired know-it-all,’ I can assure you that upon his retirement, all he did was add ‘retired’ to his title.

“I would like my old friend to ponder a thought-provoking question that was posed to me by legendary philosopher and current affairs analyst Steve Fourrier: ‘What good does it do you to know everything when what you know isn’t so?’ ”

Mirror image

Linda Dalferes heard this story from a comedian:

“She was commenting on the fact that she didn’t think that state troopers ought to be allowed to wear mirrored sunglasses.

“She said the whole time he was reaming her out about her driving she was thinking, ‘I really do need to get my bangs trimmed.’ ”

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.