Smiley: One special server

Richard Fossey tells how a personable server can turn a restaurant visit into a special occasion — and give you a great story to boot:

“Many years ago, my wife and I went with friends to have dinner at Phil’s Oyster Bar on Government Street.

“I recall it was a Friday during Lent. I was a brand-new Catholic, looking forward to a meal of fried shrimp and french fries and calling it a ‘fast.’

“For some reason, it took a long time for our food to arrive. I think maybe one of the cooks didn’t show up for work.

“Our waitress tried to keep us happy by giving us crackers from the bar, but we were getting hungrier and hungrier.

“Finally, she came to our table with a big pitcher of cold beer, which she said was on the house.

“Everyone felt better immediately — but to our surprise, our waitress poured a glass of beer for herself and sat down at the table with us.

“She was a great conversationalist, and our group enjoyed talking with her — until the manager came over and told her to go back to work.

“ ‘In a minute,’ the waitress told the manager. ‘Let me finish my beer.’

“I will never forget that enjoyable evening. We gave our waitress an extra big tip, figuring she would probably be looking for a new job the next morning!”

Royal reading

Regarding the Louisiana Legislature’s search for a “state book,” Jim Jeansonne says, “I think the state book — and required reading for the state legislators — should be ‘All the King’s Men’ by Robert Penn Warren. It’s about, among other things, the abuse of power. …

Rake that muck

Speaking of a Louisiana state book, I just got this note from John Bliss Camp:

“I realize this is a shameless plug, but my memoir, ‘Odyssey of a Derelict Gunslinger,’ meets all requirements. Especially the subtitle describing my investigative reporting career in Baton Rouge: ‘A Saga of Exposing TV Preachers, Corrupt Politicians, Right-Wing Lunatics … and Me.’

“Ah, for the good old days of Louisiana muckraking.”

Musical mayhem

I know, I said I had wrapped up our “misheard song lyrics.”

But I lied. …

The problem is, I keep getting lyrics that make me chuckle. For instance:

G.G. recalls the Rolling Stones song in which Mick Jagger says, “I’ll never be your beast of burden. …”

But G.G. heard it as, “I’ll never keep your pizza burnin’. …”

Sarah Stravinska says her kids sang this version of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away:”

“Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your toilet bowl and flushed away.”

(I suspect we’re not talking about an honest mistake here. …)

Kenneth Holditch says, “When I was a boy in Mississippi, there was a popular country and western song, played regularly on the radio, with the lyrics, ‘When it’s roundup time in Texas/And the bloom is on the sage,’ which I misheard as ‘the bloomers on the stage,’ and regularly sang until my mother corrected me.”

Southern exposure

Harriet St. Amant says, “Your mention of your grandmother’s talking about ‘those Yankees’ in the antebellum home in Natchez (after three generations!) reminded me of something my mother-in-law told me shortly after Phil and I were married in New York.

“It seems that the generally held opinion of a ‘Yankee’ down here is someone who comes down for a visit, sees the sights and spends some money, and then goes back up North.

“A ‘Damn Yankee,’ on the other hand, is one who comes down and then stays here.

“I guess I knew where I fit. Now, however, after almost 51 years in the family, she says I’m more Southern than any of them.”

Looking for stuff

Ted Castillo says Glen Randow seeks film of the second half of the 1963 Istrouma-Catholic High football game, which the Bears won 15-12, their first victory against the Indians in 27 years.

Glen’s at (225) 383-0397. (Ted says that’s the Catholic High number, which figures — I can’t imagine any old Istrouma people wanting to see THAT game again.)

Special People Dept.

Carrol and Gloria Jordan, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 66th anniversary Thursday.

Berry disturbing!

Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, says, “Mention of Knott’s Berry Farm Amusement Park in California brought back a funny memory.

“In the ’60s, Daddy and Momma took us on vacation out West.

“At the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant, Daddy was ready for some good old-fashioned food, and ordered the fried chicken plate.

“The waitress said, ‘For dessert, we have boysenberry ice cream or boysenberry pie. … What’ll you have?’

“Daddy said, ‘POISON berry pie?’

“She was highly indignant, and set him straight.”

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.