Smiley: Operator sees all

Jody Aycock, of Lafayette, tells of growing up in Franklin:

“We had telephone operators who would come on the line when a customer’s handset was removed from the cradle and would say ‘Number please.’

“My Grandmother Champagne lived two blocks from Main Street, and would walk to the beauty shop each week.

“One time I tried to call my grandmother, and after the operator said ‘Number please,’ I responded ‘290.’

“At which time the operator said, ‘Your grandmother’s not home. She just went to the beauty parlor.’

“The operator’s window faced the street and she had seen Grandmother walking down the street.

“That was the beginning of the neighborhood watch!”

The long walk

John Torbert says, “In 1944, my wife was in Baton Rouge and I was at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss.

“Occasionally we would meet in New Orleans for the weekend.

“You had to have a marriage license to get a hotel room (quaint?).

“Once it was too late to make reservations, so we met and spent most of a night strolling up and down Canal Street.”

Musical interlude

Winston Day says, regarding my mention of obscure Christmas songs, that he and Mike Russell will be playing unusual and obscure Christmas tunes on their show, “That Special Music,” the next two Saturday afternoons on the public radio stations at Baton Rouge High, WBRH-FM, 90.3 and KBRH-AM, 1260:

“I’ve already scheduled one song you mentioned, the Drifters’ version of ‘White Christmas,’ as the second song on our Dec. 21 show, and the Drifters’ version of ‘The Christmas Song’ in the third hour of that show.

“Of course, the obscure songs will be mixed in with some old favorites and beautiful lesser-known Christmas ballads by folks like Brook Benton, Tommy Edwards, Bobby Blue Bland, Jackie Wilson, Elvis, Fats, etc.”

The less-well-known tunes include these:

“(I’m Gettin’) Nuttin’ for Christmas” — “big hit from 1955 by an 8-year-old kid from Cincinnati named Joe Ward.”

“Donde Esta Santa Claus” and “Ol’ Fatso (Get Off My Roof)” from 1958 by 12-year-old Augie Rios.

“I Want Elvis for Christmas” from 1957, by Eddie Cochran and the Holly Twins.

“The Day It Snows (in New Orleans) on Christmas” by Allen Toussaint.

“Christmas on Bourbon Street” by Frankie Ford.

And, says Winston, “if time permits, I’ll squeeze in one of my personal favorites, ‘Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ ’ by Tinsley Ellis on Alligator Records.”

Got corned beef?

Congratulations to third-grade student Harper Darbonne, of Lake Charles, the Louisiana winner in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, who grew a truly humongous cabbage.

She’ll get a $l,000 savings bond toward her education from Bonnie Plants.

Go to www.bonnieplants.com to see how your kids can take part in the program.

Mystery show

Dot Patterson wonders if someone who watched “The Blacklist” TV series, starring James Spader, this past season can help her:

“It was a very complex show, and I didn’t understand what the heck was going on.

“Each week, I would get my hopes up and pay special attention, only to be just as disappointed as I was last week, as far as understanding what was going on.”

If you can clear this up, she’s at dotpatterson@aol.com.

Worthy causes

The St. Paul Good Samaritan Food Bank at St. Paul Lutheran Church benefits from a “community sing-a-long” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12.

It’s free, but “nonperishable food and/or monetary donations will be gratefully accepted.”

Special People Dept.

  • Frances Williams, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 96th birthday Sunday, Dec. 8.
  • Elois Soule celebrated her 94th birthday with family and friends in Covington this past weekend. She will be 94 on Dec. 29 — she had the same birthday as her deceased husband, Fred.

    Robert “Sonny” Harris, of Bunkie, celebrates his 93rd birthday Tuesday, Dec. 10.

    Felicie L. Rogillio, of Rosedale, celebrates her 92nd birthday Tuesday, Dec. 10.

    Dorothy D. Romero, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday Tuesday, Dec 10.

Secret of happiness

Bo Bienvenu came across this one: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy boudin. And that’s kind of the same thing.”

Staying informed

Maxine Bradford, of Metairie, says, “When my friend’s grandson was asked by his grandfather what he wanted for Christmas, the grandson said he wanted a wristwatch.

“When asked why he wanted a wristwatch, the boy answered, ‘So I will know when it is recess time.’ ”

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