Smiley: Peace through gumbo?

Michael Dille tells of son, Stephen, a foreign service officer with USAID, stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan:

“For Thanksgiving he yearned for something Cajun, so he had my gumbo recipe translated into Farsi, and sent an Afghan to get the ingredients in Kabul. (How do you say “First you make a roux” in Farsi?)

“Everything was found except the pork sausage, of course.

“He had to go to a married couple’s apartment to use the kitchen. There was a Russian making borscht and an American making potato salad, crowded into their tiny kitchen.

“The people in the apartment, Russians and Americans, were fascinated with the roux-making process, especially the ‘game’ at the end where you see how dark you can get the roux without burning.

“The gumbo went to two separate functions and the people really liked it, including Afghans.

“Has Stephen discovered a new peace process?”

Novel nuptials

Readers recall the custom of “charivari,” raising a rumpus around a wedding:

    Arthur Matherne, of Vacherie, says in his area it was the custom to transport the groom to the reception in a wheelbarrow, especially when a widower married a young lady. But he says he has no clue why.

    Loretta Toussant says, “Years ago in Maringouin, when there was a wedding the wedding party would parade through town blowing their car horns, which would result in everyone else in town blowing their horns!”

Dana’s last call

I learned long ago that there were three kinds of people I would always treat with respect and never cross: editors, Family Court judges and bartenders.

One of my favorite members of the latter group, Dana Griffith, is retiring Friday from her job as day bartender at the Pastime after 24 years.

Dana was trained by the legendary Papa Joe Lippian, and she presided over the Pastime bar with his same gruff, good humor.

You would never hear, “Hi there, I’m Dana, and I’ll be serving you today.”

More like, “What the hell do YOU want?”

Which is why those of us who quaffed our root beers at the Pastime loved her, as we loved her mentor, Joe.

Historic hill

“Old Metry Girl” presents “the real skinny on Monkey Hill,” at the Audubon Zoo:

“There was a concession stand right near the hill. The park people decided to build a small lagoon (maybe a pond) near the stand. Monkey Hill was the dirt left after the pond had been dug.

“After a few years, they realized it was a feature in the park and poured a concrete slab on the top. This made a place to stand and prevented erosion.

“They built a low fence using railroad ties around the end and left several openings for access to get to the top of the hill.

“I remember going to the park on Sunday afternoons and catching minnows and tadpoles in a tin can. We would drop bread to draw the minnows to the shallow water at the edge of the pond. We fed ducks there also.

“On one memorable occasion my 3-year-old cousin fell in the pond. Such excitement! The water along the rim of the pond was only a few inches deep, but we had to go home — and that busted up the afternoon at the park.”

Nice People Dept.

A lady describing herself as a grateful 95-year-old says she was shopping in the CVS drugstore on Florida Boulevard the day before Thanksgiving and returned an item she thought cost $1 when she found out it was $2.99.

In the parking lot, she was stopped by a young lady in blue jeans who handed her the item, said it was a gift, and departed with a “Happy Thanksgiving!”

“It made my holiday,” says the lady.

Special People Dept.

  • Antoinette Kapfer Gueho, of Livonia, celebrates her 92nd birthday Thursday, Dec. 5. A native of Alsace, France, she met her future husband during World War II when he was stationed outside her village.
  • Ferne and C. Hewitt Underwood, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 67th anniversary Thursday, Dec. 5. He’s a World War II veteran, serving in the South Pacific.

Stamp out gobbling

Della Stout’s story brings up this question — do we really NEED electronic dining equipment?

Della says, “There is a new-fangled utensil you can buy to use at the dinner table.

“It is a fork that alerts you to slow down when eating.

“It has flashing lights and vibrates, too, to alert you to slooooowww down.

“My husband says if I had one it would probably alert 911 to check to see if I am alive, because I eat too slowly already. (So he says!)”

Sore loser

Glenn says, “I understand the Alabama field goal kicker has received rude remarks, nasty comments and even a death threat. Someone has to make Coach Saban stop!”

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.