Carl Enna, of Little Rock, Ark., says, “Us oldsters (and of course I include you in that) are truly excited at this time of year, when ‘Deck the Halls’ is played.
“As the comic strip ‘Pogo’ was as much a part of starting our day then as reading Old Smiley now, sometime soon after Thanksgiving we were gifted with Pogo’s Christmas carol.
“I often find myself singing along with Pogo’s words when I hear instrumental versions of ‘Deck the Halls.’ ”
For you youngsters out there, what he’s talking about is cartoonist Walt Kelly’s version of “Deck the Halls,” sung by Pogo and his swamp critter friends, which went like this:
“Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Walla Walla Wash an’ Kalamazoo!
Nora’s freezing on the trolley
Swaller dollar cauliflower, alley-ga-roo!
Don’t we know archaic barrel?
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou!
Trolley Molly don’t love Harold
Boola boola Pensacoola hulla-balloo!”
Thou shalt snuggle
Bill Smith says our recent spell of chilly nights convinced him that Baton Rouge is experiencing “Biblical weather.”
He bases this on his reading of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4, Verse 11:
“… if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?”
Kelly Simoneaux says the recent death of John Staples reminded him of John’s dedication to his fellow veterans:
“John was a veteran of World War II and Korea.
“In April,1943, John and 45 other junior-year artillery cadets at LSU were drafted out of school and sent to Fort Sill, Okla., for basic training and Officer Candidate School.
“After being commissioned second lieutenants the group scattered, some to Europe to confront the Germans and others to Pacific islands to engage the Japanese.
“Three years later, after the war ended, the group returned home to various states.
“Although only 10 were from Baton Rouge, John was able to locate most of us and set up annual reunions in Baton Rouge, San Francisco, Memphis, New Orleans and San Antonio, where others lived.
“Our last gathering was earlier this year, when seven of the remaining nine members attended — all about 90 years old now.
“On behalf of those of us still living here, including Julius Bahlinger, Oley Cross and Floyd Roberts, we are greatly appreciative of John’s efforts in keeping the group together these 67 years.
“He left us with our thanks for many fond memories.”
A special tape
William V. “Beanie” Bean, of Slaughter, a collector of old songs, needs help putting a cassette tape back together, because it’s one he treasures — Kate Smith singing “God Bless America,” which brings back a special memory.
As a child in 1938, he recalls being in Soldier Field in Chicago with his parents for the show in which Kate sang Irving Berlin’s new version of the song he first wrote in 1918.
“This last number was the highlight of the evening.
“The field lights came on, and the audience saw 57 Hammond organs in a large circle.”
In the spotlight was Kate, who sang the song again and again as the audience demanded.
“If I recall correctly, she sang it 10 or 12 times,” says Beanie:
“She finally asked the audience to please let her voice rest.”
If you can help Beanie hear her sing again, he’s at WBEANLA@aol.com.
Sad Songs Dept.
Janice DeJean adds to our collection of offbeat Christmas songs with Alan Jackson’s tear-jerker “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).”
Part of the lyrics read:
“Just last year when I was only seven,
Now I’m almost eight, as you can see,
You came home a quarter past eleven,
And fell down underneath
our Christmas tree.”
Special People Dept.
Bob and Mary Jane Dale, of Hammond, celebrated 63 years of marriage Nov. 23.
Inquiring Minds Dept.
Indy asks, “I’m wondering — is ‘routine’ just a longer, prettier word for ‘rut?’ ”
Beat it, kid …
I suspect Algie Petrere’s note might have something to do with my recent diatribe about overexposure to “The Little Drummer Boy” this time of year:
“I just ran across this Chinese curse: ‘If thine enemy offend thee, give his child a drum.’ ”
Sharon Law says, “Last week my 9-year-old daughter and I were reviewing local history, specifically the origin of the name ‘Baton Rouge.’
“She informed me that Baton Rouge is French for ‘Red Stick.’
“I asked her why the explorers called this area Red Stick.
“Her answer: ‘Because there were so many rednecks running around in the sticks …’ ”
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.