Smiley: Easily amused

Larry Lemoine, of Grosse Tete, says, “My grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been taught by me to respond, ‘Give him a hug,’ when asked, ‘What are you supposed to do when you see an old Paw Paw?’

“Shortly after having eye surgery which left me with a patched swollen eye, and breaking a crowned front tooth which gave me a Halloween grin, I had to remind my granddaughter, Harley Gaudet: ‘What are you supposed to do when you see an old Paw Paw?’

Seven-year-old Harley responded by looking me directly in the remaining eye and saying, ‘LAUGH!’ ”

Cajuns united

Camile Gaspard, of Blanks, tells of a childhood in Hessmer in Avoyelles Parish, where the charivari was not just to celebrate a new marriage:

If a married couple was about to split up, “a group of unofficial community leaders would organize a very loud bunch of fellow residents to arrive at the couple’s home, or a friend’s house where one of them was staying, with much honking of car horns, clanging of cowbells or other noise makers.

“If the couple relented and made up, the noisy crowd was invited in for food and drinks.

“If the first attempt failed, another charivari, usually bigger and better, happened the next night. This was embarrassing, and could get expensive.”

By the pound

Audrey Schilling says in addition to the charivari in rural St. Landry Parish, there was another tradition:

“The first week after a wedding, a pound of every grocery staple available would be presented late at night. This was called a ‘pounding.’

“Preachers often had the same courtesy directed to their household.”

LSU connection

Richard M. Gibson, of Lafayette, says Saturday, Dec. 14, is the 50th anniversary of the final football game played at New York City’s Polo Grounds, by the Jets and the Bills.

The stadium was known as the home of the New York Giants baseball and football teams, but other tenants over the years included, for baseball, the Yankees and Mets, and, for football, the Titans/Jets.

Richard points out that LSU played a football game at the Polo Grounds in 1942, defeating Fordham 26-13.

And the final college football game played there was in 1962, when Army, led by former LSU coach Paul Dietzel, beat Syracuse 9-2.

Special plants

Anna S., of Mandeville, tells of some nice ladies who grow and sell plants at the East Louisiana Mental Health System facility in Jackson:

“Plants make good holiday gifts; ask for the greenhouse. In addition to beautiful plants, they have fresh eggs, vegetables and fruit.”

Happy 13th

Sylvia Essex Winder says, “I know some people say the number 13 is unlucky, but my sister Connie and I are celebrating 13 years of new life for her since she received one of my kidneys on Dec. 12, 2000.

“She lives in California, but was here for Thanksgiving and we talked about how grateful we are that the transplant was successful.

“We encourage others to support organ donation. Visit the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency at www.lopa.org.”

Special People Dept.

  • C.B. Wheat, former Live Oak High School basketball and baseball coach, celebrates his 96th birthday Friday, Dec. 13. Sam King says his basketball record was 306-56, with a state title in 1956.
  • Trina “Punkin” Scott, of Southside Gardens in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 93rd birthday Saturday, Dec. 14. She’s a former mayor of New Roads.

    Willie Lee Phenald celebrates her 90th birthday Friday, Dec. 13.

Acid test

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says mention of the dangers of childhood reminds him of the time in third grade when his school, for an outdoor performance of “Hansel and Gretel,” needed a puff of smoke when the witch was shoved in the oven (a cardboard box):

“Someone asked the father of a classmate how to do it. Charles’s father worked in a lab, and did indeed know how.

“Charles and I hid behind the box with a glass bowl containing granulated sugar and a bottle of some clear liquid.

“When the witch entered the oven, I poured the liquid into the bowl held by Charles.

“The sugar immediately began to boil, and a large plume of black smoke erupted from the back of the oven.

“I’ll leave it up to your readers who are familiar with chemistry to guess just how strong that sulfuric acid had to be to cause the reaction.”

Bear with me

Has Shirley Fleniken recycled an old Aggie joke?

“Three nature lovers went for a drive in the mountains to see if they could spot some bears, so they would take pictures of them for their photo album.

“They drove along an old dirt road until they entered the trees. As they rounded a curve, they spotted a sign that read, ‘BEAR LEFT.’

“So they turned around and went home.”

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.