Smiley: Mardi Gras memories

Hal W. Gould offers a Mardi Gras memory — and a doubloon-catching trick foiled by modern bottling methods:

“One year on Mardi Gras ... in New Orleans, early in the morning before the parades started, there was a large warehouse fire down by the river.

“We were sitting around watching the firefighters putting it out, and struck up a conversation with a gentleman standing there.

“After a while, he asked us, ‘Is something unusual going to happen today?’

“We informed him that, as it was Mardi Gras, everything unusual was going to happen that day.

“It turned out that he was from Sweden, working in Canada, and simply took some vacation time to visit New Orleans, totally unaware of the existence of Mardi Gras.

“He hung out with us all day and had a blast. He was at least 6-2, and when he grabbed something, he kept it.”

“I also discovered at an early age that if I had a bunch of bottle caps, they made a great decoy to ward off competition for doubloons.

“Just chuck of few of them to the side when a doubloon would land, and your competition for that doubloon was halved. (Sneaky little cuss, wasn’t I!)

“In the half-second it took others to realize they were just bottle caps, you had the prize!

“I don’t know what I would do now that bottle caps are plastic.”

Hitting snowballs?

Millie Matherne, of Gonzales, says that due to the recent sleet and cold weather, “I had one unhappy golf-deprived husband sulking around the house.

“One morning in the midst of the bad weather, Pat announced he was going to the clubhouse for coffee with his buddies.

“Soon after came text No. 1: ‘Teeing off at 9:45. Will keep you posted.’

“Then text No. 2: ‘Play going fast. Can go to B.R. after.’

“Text No. 3: ‘No delays. Home in 20 minutes.’

“Upon his return home at 12:30, I commented, ‘Wow, that was quick. How many played?’

“Pat answered, ‘Two. Charles (Huggins) and me.’

“ ‘Were there many others playing?’ I asked.

“He said, ‘No, just two. Charles and me.’

“ ‘Patrick Matherne (a full name gets his attention),’ I exclaimed. ‘Just two on the whole course! Now exactly what does that tell you?’

“ ‘That everyone else is a wimp,’ he replied matter-of-factly.

“Not exactly what I was thinking. What about you, Smiley?”

(I think he’s a guy who really enjoys golf. …)

Baby talk

“Anon Kay” says, “Years ago, we lived in North Carolina and owned Charley, a white miniature poodle.

“With the first deep snowfall of my life, I found I could spend a lot of time thawing the dog — who came in wearing so much ice that he looked as if he had four leg-o-muffin sleeves.

“Once thawed, like a child, he wanted to go out again.

“So a friend who also had a poodle and I conferred, measured leg lengths, and went to Belk’s baby department.

“We were intently measuring the arms and legs on ‘onesies’ when friend said, ‘Remember, the legs are crooked!’

“At that point I looked at the saleslady, who looked aghast, undecided between sympathy and calling Child Welfare.

“I don’t think we explained.”

Vintage malts

Richard Fossey took a trip back in time when he visited Borden’s Ice Cream Shop on Johnston Street in Lafayette, “the last remaining Borden’s retail store in the United States.

“I had a great chocolate malt! It reminded me of the malts I drank as a kid. Borden’s looks like it is still in the 1950s, and everyone was very friendly.”

Local Beatles?

The 50th anniversary of the birth of Beatlemania reminded a reader of “a ‘Beatles-like’ band that played in area high schools and other venues in the spring of 1964.

“Does anyone remember it?”

Special People Dept.

Hamlet Crotwell celebrates his 91st birthday on Thursday, Feb. 20. He is a Navy veteran of World War II.

Theresa “Aunt Co Co” Tumey celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Bill and Joyce Braswell, of Ethel, celebrate 63 years of marriage on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Good question

Pat Tomancik says, “My daughter was chatting with a lovely 5-year-old ‘princess’ who was proud of the Cinderella shoes she got at Disney World.

“My daughter told her, ‘I took my 83-year-old mother to Disney World recently, and we had so much fun.’

“The 5-year-old asked, ‘How did she get to be 83?’”

That’s one of those questions that makes you pause before answering.

I suppose if I had been asked that, I would have said, “She just keeps going. …”

Biting wit

Danny Morvant says, “With poisonous snakes in the news lately, I’m reminded of a joke I heard from my daughter Dawn:

“Two snakes were talking when one snake asked the other, ‘Are we poisonous?’

“The second snake answered, ‘I don’t really know. Why?’

“The first snake answered, ‘Because I just bit my lip.’ ”

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.