Smiley: Dad was a gunslinger

Melba Thibodeaux, of Opelousas, has a tale of a misheard message:

“My husband, Howard, has been retired from Schlumberger Well Services for many years, but while employed there he was sent on ‘hotshots.’

“Hotshots are expedited delivery runs of oilfield equipment from one location to another.

“On one such occasion, the company dispatcher called to let me know he was sending Howard on a hotshot to Houma.

“Our son Steven, a very young lad at the time, took the call and message.

“After hanging up the phone, he ran to me wide-eyed and, hopping up and down, excitedly explained that his dad was being sent on a ‘shoot-out’ to Oklahoma.

“What thrilling news that was for a young cowboy fan!”

Happy child

Malcolm Wright tells a story of a clever handling of a difficult situation:

“Several years ago, Kang joined my department at LSU as a graduate student in engineering from Korea.

“His command of English was minimal at best.

“The first week of class, I assigned a paper on a rather esoteric machine design subject.

“When time for reports arrived, Kang was first to volunteer.

“I tried very hard to convince him to wait and hear several reports from other students, but he insisted on being first.

“I soon discovered he was more aware than I understood.

“As he walked to the front of the class, he said, ‘Child who is punished first is happy.’

(Kang is now a senior member of the faculty of Kangweon University in South Korea, and has been so for many years.)

Murder, she said

Sarah Stravinska says our mention of “murdered town names” brought these thoughts:

“Unless you live there, you would probably pronounce Natchitoches as ‘Natch-e-toe-shus.’ Natives pronounce it more like ‘Nack-u-dush.’

“And some Yankee relatives told us they had been through a town named ‘Thigh-bow-dex.’

“Took us a while to figure out that they had been to Thibodaux.”

Gem in the gym

Here’s some sports nostalgia involving LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, from Anna Lee Gautreau, of Donaldsonville.

Anna Lee came across a Donaldsonville Chief newspaper from March 1969, and found this local news item:

“D.D. Breaux, a member of the Powell Gym Team, participated in the Memphis Invitational Gym Meet Friday and Saturday.

“Nineteen teams took part in the meet.

“D.D. won first place ‘all around’ in the senior division, first in balance beam and first in free exercise; second in vaulting and fifth in uneven parallel bars.”

The last hurrah

After more than 60 years, Prescott Middle School is closing at the end of this school year.

A teacher, Elroy Johnson, is working to raise funds so 20 of the school’s top eighth-grade students can make an end-of-the-year trip to Dallas to visit colleges and have other educational experiences.

“This will be our last school project,” says Elroy. “We have been working hard to fund this trip, and are trying to raise another $3,000 by the end of April.

“I am reaching out because I’d love to get my students’ stories to a larger audience and possibly accrue some donations to make this dream a reality. Most of my students haven’t been outside of Baton Rouge.”

Go to http://www.gofund

Worthy causes

HAART, the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, benefits from Dining Out for Life on Thursday.

Six Baton Rouge restaurants will donate 25 percent of lunch or dinner sales to HAART.

The restaurants are Bistro Byronz, the Jambalaya Shoppe on Government Street, Mestizos, Monjunis, Restaurant IPO and Table Is Bread.

Go to www.diningoutfor

The 11th Alexis’ Angel Sale, to promote organ donation through Donate Life Louisiana, will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 14340 Villar Road, Gonzales.

In addition to the sale, which includes plants and arts and crafts items, there will be a jambalaya lunch sale and a blood drive.

Go to www.AlexisAngel

Speaking Southern

Loretta Toussant says, “Years ago, while driving through Mississippi looking to buy a new bull, we stopped to ask a local for directions to a particular farm.

“The gentleman informed us that we should turn right ‘yonder past the maiter house.’

“My husband and I looked at each other and wondered, ‘What’s a maiter?’

“We continued to drive until we spotted an enclosed hot house with a sign that read ‘Tomato Farm.’ ”

Accident report

Marvin Borgmeyer reports on a near-tragedy involving a friend who works in a furniture factory:

“The guy fell into an upholstery machine — he’s now fully recovered.”

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.