We’ve had a lot of cold-weather stories, but I found this one by Richard Fossey especially memorable:
“Northerners like to think they take cold weather in stride, but sometimes the temperature gets too low even for them.
“Here’s a story I heard when I lived in Alaska years ago.
“One winter, temperatures dropped to 60 below zero in the Alaska interior, which is highly unusual.
“A radio station DJ in big-city Anchorage, looking for a local color story, made a telephone call to the postmaster in one of the little villages and asked him what the temperature was.
“ ‘Let’s see,’ the postmaster said. ‘According to the thermometer, it’s 24 below zero.’
“ ‘But I heard it was 60 below zero in your village,’ the DJ exclaimed.
“The postmaster replied, ‘Oh, you mean OUTSIDE!’ ”
Andy Maverick says, “I saw your picture on the front page of The Advocate in a stocking cap and scarf the day you referred to ‘The Storm That Must Not Be Named.’
“Here’s an idea:
“How about if, every day, you have your photo taken in clothing appropriate for the day’s weather?
“In the summer, Hawaiian prints and a straw hat. Or maybe a seersucker suit.
“In fall and spring, your traditional outfit would be just fine, with an umbrella as needed.
“You’ve got winter covered, so to speak.
“Naturally, this would be MUCH more work for you, so you would need a raise.
“But they wouldn’t need that other forecast on the front page, so that would save a few bucks. And Pat Shingleton could keep doing what he’s doing.
“I just think The Advocate may be onto something here, and I want you to know that we readers are paying attention!”
(Yeah, and on extremely hot days I could be pictured in my Official LSU Tiger-Striped Thong. …)
Marsha Reichle adds to our seminar on funeral processions:
“Since retirement I seem to have taken up the profession of attending funerals.
“The modern procession to the cemetery is distinguished by the use of hazard lights. (Once you can remember how to turn them on.)
“So the folks in that long line of cars with blinking lights are not simultaneously experiencing engine trouble, but merely making their pilgrimage visible.
“And in small Louisiana and Texas towns, oncoming cars and trucks still pull to the side of the road to acknowledge the passing mourners with old-fashioned courtesy.”
Speaking of headlights
“Faithful Reader” asks for information about “the LSU marching band having candles or lights on their hats around the 1940s.”
Since I’m not nearly old enough to remember that, maybe some of you can help our reader.
Dee Mather-Muenzler says Barry Manilow, at his Baton Rouge concert, asked his audience “to look in the attic and around the house for musical instruments that could be delivered to the River Center, restored and donated to schools in need.”
A fine idea, says Dee.
The Tamale Connection
Gayle Guidry, of Denham Springs, says this about our tales of Baton Rouge/New Orleans hot tamales:
“I used to live a block from Carrollton and Canal in New Orleans, and I remember the lighted tamale stand on wheels on the corner.
“Dad would take me there on Saturday nights.
“Henry Mandella started selling his tamales in the Morning Advocate/State-Times composing room. He would go to New Orleans for a lot of his supplies.
“His tamales were the best.
“He would tell me it was a long process to make them, and after a while he gave it up — he couldn’t keep up with the demand.”
Carl Causey, of Greenwell Springs, who took both chemistry AND physics at Istrouma High, addresses the issue of salt and freezing, discussed by a reader recently:
“If you ever made home-made ice cream, an important ingredient was rock salt.
“This was not to prevent the ice from melting, but rather to lower the melting point of the ice.
“This allows the water to reach temperatures lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Without the rock salt, the water and ice mixture would not go below 32 degrees. No ice cream at 32 degrees — and warm beer, too.”
Talking that talk
Malcolm Wright says this story deals with Cajun communication methods:
“One cold, cold day Boudreaux and Thibodeaux were walking in the road.
“Boudreaux says, ‘Hey, Thibodeaux, let’s us talk.’
“And Thibodeaux says, ‘Mais no, I don’t want to talk, me.’
“ ‘Why you don’t want to talk with me, mon ami?’ asks Boudreaux.
“Thibodeaux says, ‘Mais, I don’t want to freeze my hands.’ ”
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.