Smiley: Mom’s song

Dear Smiley: My favorite odd Christmas song is “Daddy’s Little Girl”:

“You’re the spirit of Christmas, the star on our tree.

You’re the Easter Bunny to Mommy and me.

You’re sugar, you’re spice, you’re everything nice,

And you’re Daddy’s little girl.”

My brother Roland, who died this July, presented to my mother on Christmas a record he and his voice teacher had created.

Roland’s sweet soprano voice was singing that song.

An odd choice for a 10-year-old to be singing, but my mom wept with joy.

Even odder is that no one in the family even knew that Roland HAD a voice teacher!

He had arranged to pay for his lessons by mowing the lawn and doing odd jobs for the voice teacher.

Since our parents could have afforded to pay the teacher, we have no idea why Roland did this on his own.

So the Christmas record was a real “gift” and a complete surprise.

SARAH STRAVINSKA

Chestnut

Flexible rules

Dear Smiley: I had to smile when I read of the disagreement among your contributors about bourré rules.

I played the game a lot when I was young and single, and I quickly learned that bourré rules varied from place to place.

Whenever I sat down to play, I asked about what rules the other guys played by.

ROY PITCHFORD

Monroe

Frank assessment

Dear Smiley: The death of New Orleans TV personality and writer Frank Davis was a topic of conversation between my husband Buddy and me at the breakfast table.

We reminisced about his nightly visits to our home, sharing his knowledge of Louisiana’s fish and game and New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, food, Creole heritage and accents, delivering “Naturally N’Awlins” in his gravelly voice and unique persona.

We agreed that the characteristic that made Mr. Davis special was his “natural” self: his down-to-earth, get-what-you-see humorous (laugh-at-self foibles) attitude.

Buddy and I agreed that in many ways Mr. Davis reminded us of you.

We especially enjoy when you laugh at yourself, teaching us to laugh at ourselves.

KAREN POIRRIER

Lutcher

Let’s party!

Dear Smiley: I did a paper on the charivari when a student at LSU.

The charivari came to us from our French ancestors, where a celebration occurred after the marriage of an older man to a younger woman or when an older man married a second wife after the death of his first.

My father, “Scoot” Bourgeois, reminisced about his father’s second marriage in Lutcher in the mid-1920s.

The crowd banged pots and lids, blew horns, and made a racket until they were invited into the house and served “pop rouge” and cake.

DANNI BOURGEOIS PECUE

Baton Rouge

Spirited celebration

Dear Smiley: My brother-in-law, Pete Roy, of Marksville, married a widow, Silvia, with three children.

They were the recipients of a charivari when several truckloads of friends went to their home after their marriage.

They arrived banging on pots, pans and whatever else they could get hold of to make noise.

His brother made him aware of the event, and they were prepared for the crowd, who also loved a party.

The purpose of the celebration is to drive away the spirits so that a new life together will be peaceful.

They have been married for 52 years and added four more children to their family.

TED LANDAICHE

Baton Rouge

Tough as a bear

Dear Smiley: I was in LSU Law School at the same time as Jay Dardenne when he was the Student Government Association prez.

Coach Bear Bryant was scheduled to make or receive some kind of pre-game award at the Bama/LSU game.

Jay was involved in the presentation, and had to touch base with The Bear during the week preceding the game.

I asked Jay how did that conversation go, and was told that The Bear spoke in a rather raspy voice and was a little hard to understand.

I realize now that not only did Paul Bryant rassle with bears, he also kinda growled like one.

ALEX “SONNY” CHAPMAN

Ville Platte

Sing a silly song

Dear Smiley: Speaking of Christmas songs, my favorite silly song is “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

A little boy sings, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippopotamus will do. No crocodiles or rhinoceruses, I only like hippopotamuses, and hippopotamuses like me, too.”

The whole song is so cute, and it can really get in your head.

BEVERLY BULLIGAN

Kenner

Dear Beverly: You’re right, it can get stuck in your head. It’s in mine now, and I can’t get it out.

Thanks a lot. …

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.