Smiley: Rockin’ the gumbo

Keith Horcasitas recalls his “stone gumbo” and its one small problem:

In the mid-’90s, he says, when he worked at Baton Rouge General, “Our case management department wanted us to do a different kind of potluck meal.”

He recalled the old story about stone soup:

“It’s a story about hungry travelers who go door to door, asking villagers to share food with them. After being refused again and again, they decide to share their special recipe for a ‘magical soup,’ using a stone as a starter. Each villager then makes a small contribution to the soup, leading to a great meal and the optimistic realization that sharing is the magic ingredient.”

So, he says, he decided to make a “Yat” version of the soup — a “stone gumbo” — to promote the teamwork message of the stone soup story.

“When I poured some gumbo for Gino, a fellow social worker and fellow Yat, I must’ve accidentally scooped too far into the pot, since I heard some crunching sounds next to me and witnessed Gino spitting out a few rocks!

“Fortunately, no dental consults were needed!”

Lean, mean machine

An “accent” story from J.B. Castagnos, of Donaldsonville:

“Years ago, a man from New Zealand came to my shop in a Toyota truck.

“Talking to him as I repaired his truck, I learned that he was ‘on holiday.’

He had flown into Los Angeles, bought the truck and was traveling across the U.S. He’d sell the truck on the East Coast and fly home.

“I asked what he drove at home, and he told me a ‘Lean Driver.’

“We talked a while, and I learned that he was a furniture maker.

“I showed him pictures of a cypress hutch I had just finished in my hobby shop.

“He said if I could complete one of those ‘in a fortnight’ I could make a good living at it.

“I finally asked him to tell me more about this ‘Lean Driver.’

“Turns out to be Land Rover.”

Say what?

Some misheard words our readers report involve religious songs and services.

Roselyn Hebert says when she went to Catholic schools starting in the ’40s, “I thought everyone was saying ‘Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like a design.’ (A fairly cryptic message. …)

“It wasn’t until I began Sacred Heart High School that I found that the correct wording was ‘Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart LIKE UNTO THINE.’ ”

Chuck Richard, of Eunice, says, “While attending Christmas Eve Mass with six of my eight grandchildren, when the Hosanna (‘Hosanna in the highest …’) was sung, two of the youngest were singing ‘LASAGNA IN THE HIGHEST.’

“Bet that would have been a surprise side dish at the Last Supper!”

No trivial matter

Richard Harris adds to our pizza nostalgia items:

“My favorite pizza joint was Shakey’s on Airline Highway.

“The pizza wasn’t so good, but they had dollar-a-pitcher beer and a fabulous atmosphere.

“It had wide, thick, dark-stained oak picnic tables lined up in a large dark room with a fireplace roaring at one end, like eating in a medieval castle’s grand hall.

“But the best part was the piano player who would sing, tell jokes and ask trivia questions.

“If you successfully answered his questions, he would give you a ticket for a free drink. If you were good at trivia, you could drink free all night!”

Dining on turtle

David Beatty says a recent photo of a huge snapping turtle reminded him of his father’s tales of the turtle soup served at the Hoo Shoo Too Club on the Amite River 50 or so years ago.

Our archives show that the men’s club dated back to 1885 when it was a long, buggy ride out there.

A lady named Pearl was given credit for the soup, made from Amite River snapping turtles.

One story said she also kept guinea hens and was known for her guinea gumbo.

Special People Dept.

Mary Langlais, of The Care Center, celebrates her 99th birthday on Friday, April 18.

Louise Humphreys McCollister celebrates her 96th birthday on Saturday, April 19. She is a resident of both Baton Rouge and New Roads.

Ory G. Poret celebrates his 95th birthday on Sunday, April 20. A World War II veteran, he is a state Land Office retiree and a longtime docent at the Old Governor’s Mansion.

Catherine “Kaye” Balhoff celebrates her 92nd birthday on Friday, April 18.

Celebrating their 65th anniversary Saturday, April 19, are Anthony V. and Marie Dimaio Noto.

Death wish

Algie Petrere came across this little tale of domestic disharmony:

Marie was so mad at Boudreaux she wanted to kick him out of the house.

She said, “Pack your bags and get out of this house RIGHT NOW!”

Boudreaux packed his bags, and just as he left the house, Marie ran to the door and shouted, “I wish you a slow and painful death, Boudreaux!”

Boudreaux turned and said, “So now you want me to stay?”

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.