Smiley: Love, young and old

I know, Valentine’s Day is over, except for the cheap guys picking up discounted candy for their (hopefully) understanding loved ones.

But here are two stories I liked — so in this column, Valentine’s Day’s not over until I SAY it’s over. …

Mary Grace Simpson tells a story of love and loss:

“From third grade through eighth grade I attended a one-room country school near Wheaton, Ill.

“On Feb. 15, 1939, that schoolhouse burned to the ground. Everything was destroyed, but fortunately no one was hurt.

“The fire truck came from town; however, the farmer’s pond, the source of water, was frozen solid.

“The day before, students had exchanged Valentines, and mine from Luis, the older boy whom I secretly admired, burned in my desk — the greatest loss in my young life.

“We moved into a modern new building two months later, but I still grieved losing that special Valentine. Isn’t young love great?”

Lucy Sloan tells of “the very best Valentine I ever received:

“It was 1995, and my husband of 42 years, Ken Sloan, had passed away just six weeks earlier.

“I woke up early on Valentine’s Day and sadly realized that for the first time in my adult life I did not have a sweetheart.

“Just as I got out of bed the telephone started ringing. It was way too early for anyone to be calling me.

“I decided to go to the kitchen to answer it instead of picking it up in the bedroom, which was much closer.

“The phone was still ringing when I picked up the receiver, but there was no one on the line.

“I started to hang up when I noticed something stuck to the inside of the receiver that I had never noticed before.

“It was a sticker which said ‘P.S. I Love You.’

“My husband was quite the romantic type, who never forgot any special occasion.

“He had obviously placed it there before he died knowing I would see it someday when I needed it most.

“Coincidence? Or undying love?”

Wrong answer!

Marvin Borgmeyer says, “With Valentine’s Day just passed, I am reminded of the man who was asked what his wife’s favorite flower was.

“With his wife standing at his side, he answered, ‘Gold Medal, All-Purpose’ — and he hasn’t been the same since!”

Mardi Gras song?

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says our seminar on New Orleans’ Carnival music reminds him of a story: Bob Dylan “began writing his classic ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ after seeing his first live New Orleans Mardi Gras parade.”

Song No. 1

Maybeth Hahn says in our discussion of Mardi Gras tunes, we didn’t mention the first one, “If Ever I Cease to Love,” called “the anthem of the Rex organization” and performed at the first Rex ball in 1872.

Sample lyrics:

“If ever I cease to love, if ever I cease to love,

May fish get legs and cows lay eggs,

If ever I cease to love.”

Making The Times

Dr. Joe Ricapito says the Feb. 16 New York Times Travel section featured “Baton Rouge in 36 hours.”

Places profiled included Buddy Stewart Memorial Music Foundation, the Shaw Center Restaurant IPO, GoYaYa’s Crepes, Circa 1857, Tony’s Seafood, Cottonwood Books, Fleur-de-Lis Pizza, Red Dragon Listening Room, Teddy’s Juke Joint, Coffee Call and Tiger Deaux-nuts.

Worthy causes

The YMCA and several other charities benefit from the “Trash and Treasure Sale” of the Inner Wheel Club of Baton Rouge on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the old Mervyn’s in Cortana Mall.

Times are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Special People Dept.

Lela Dedon celebrates her 94th birthday today.

Theresa and Willie Morgan Jr., of Independence, celebrated 63 years of marriage Monday.

Dot and Eddie Bennett celebrated their 63rd anniversary on Feb. 11.

Ex but not forgotten

Sid Mack must be a very special guy. He sent me a note asking me to mention that today is the 99th birthday of Edith Rossell, of Anaheim, Calif. Sid explains she’s his former mother-in-law.

Now, I know a lot of guys with ex-mothers-in-law, but this is the first time I’ve ever had any of them ask me to remember her birthday — or remember her at all. …

Animal house

Bo Stepp says on Saturday, St. Alphonsus Catholic Church’s annual auction and taste fair will include, in addition to great food, auction items that include a quarter horse colt and a calf.

He adds, “I am planning on ‘pigging out,’ so the only thing we lack in having a full barnyard is a donkey.

“So are you busy that night?”

(Now why would Bo think I could find him a donkey?)

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