Smiley: Modern worship

Malcolm Wright tells of discovering a new religious sect:

“The other day, Martha and I were eating breakfast at Louie’s. Several tables down from us were five young people who had just received their meals from the waitress.

“Their heads were bowed, and we smiled to see so young a group saying grace in public and so unconcerned with what others might think.

“Several minutes later, after receiving our meal, I looked over at the table of five and behold — their heads were still bowed.

“As I watched, one after the other raised his or her head, put his or her iPhone in a pocket or handbag and began eating.

“Amen.”

He said WHAT?

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, addresses a topic we’ve dealt with before — mishearing song lyrics etc.

She says she and several friends shared stories of childhood misunderstandings, bringing back these memories:

“The one that sticks in my mind is that I, along with probably millions of other girls at the time, thought Jimi Hendrix (on ‘Purple Haze’) was saying, ‘Excuse me while I kiss this guy’ (instead of ‘the sky’). We used to sing it like that.”

“All those years of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I thought it was ‘…and to the republic for Richard Stanz.’

“I remember thinking, ‘Who IS this Richard Stanz person and why is he so important to our country?’

“Of the 23rd Psalm: ‘And good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life.’

“I’ll bet your readers have some more.”

Which reminds me

My brother Louis is eight years younger, so by the time he was a young teenager, I was working and away from our parents’ home, then in Kenner.

But when I returned for a visit, he would be playing his favorite tunes — “Runaround the Zoo” by Dion and “Only Baloney” by Roy Orbison. (Better known as “Runaround Sue” and “Only the Lonely.”)

The Poorhouse Fair

Algie Petrere tells this tale of self-inflicted poverty:

“Our daughter Lynn and our great-grandson John are preparing for another trip to Disney World.

“These trips have taught John the value of money; they save for months for the trip.

“Once, John even gave up his favorite, chicken nuggets. As Lynn was pulling into the drive-in, he told her he wanted to go home and eat lunch, and put that money in the Disney fund.

“Recently, another child at school asked John if he had any money in his pocket.

“When he said he didn’t, he was asked why not.

“He said, ‘Because my family’s broke … we’re going to Disney.’ ”

Mississippi Santa

Bernard Berry says our Western Auto stories “brought back many fond memories of growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in my father’s Western Auto.

“It was the center of much activity in our small, south Mississippi town.

“My very favorite time was on Christmas Eve, when all the ‘Santas’ of the community would come in to pick up their layaway packages of toys.

“Around 8 or 9 p.m., when the last of the packages were disappearing, many of the less fortunate folks would begin to drift into the store (my dad was well known for his generosity).

“He would begin to give away the leftover toys, making sure no child in the county woke up on Christmas morning without a toy.”

Worthy causes

Tickets for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway are available at Citizens Bank & Trust branches and UPS stores, by calling (800) 726-6409 or visiting www.dream home.org.

Tickets reserved by Monday, March 31, have a chance to win a $5,000 Visa gift card.

Winners of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway and additional prizes will be drawn Sunday, June 22, on WBRZ-TV.

Special People Dept.

Mae Mollere celebrates her 97th birthday on Friday, March 28.

Austin Fontenot celebrates his 97th birthday on Sunday, March 30. He is a World War II veteran.

Helena “Nonnie” Swindler, of New Roads, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Saturday, March 29.

Elizabeth Duhon, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Saturday, March 29.

Mazie Oubre Guerin will be 90 on Sunday, March 30. She celebrated on Sunday, March 23, arriving at her birthday party on a Harley motorcycle driven by her son. She made the same entrance for her 80th birthday and plans to repeat it for her 100th.

Worshipping snowballs

Danny Dufreche, of Ponchatoula, says the kids in his large family used to enjoy his swimming pool in the summer:

“Most days ended with a trip to the local snowball stand and me getting them snowballs.

“One Sunday morning, I went to Mass and sat in front of my brother John and his wife and two little ones, Aimee and Justin.

“I gave each a dollar for the collection.

“As the plate was passed, I heard Justin say, ‘No, Dad, Uncle Danny gave me a dollar to get a snowball!’ ”

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.