Smiley: ‘Recovering Yankee’

Kelan Madore, of Metairie, joins our conversation about folks who make their way down here from the Frozen Nawth:

“Harriet St.Amant recently wrote of two types of Yankees — Yankees and Damn Yankees — prompting me to interject that there is a third — ‘Recovering Yankee.’ (I believe she may qualify. Of course, it would take a clinical evaluation to be certain.)

“Having lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line for over 35 years (29 south of I-10), I too have cleansed myself of Northern inclinations.

“But it is important to remain vigilant and have a support group to avoid a relapse.

“For me, it is the Wednesday Night Bourré, Social & Pleasure Club — a group of fine Louisiana gentlemen dedicated to social drinking and deep thinking, while teaching a recovering Yankee the game of bourré.

“To them I will be forever indebted — both figuratively and literally.”

Which reminds me

One afternoon many years ago, after I wound up a business meeting in Opelousas, I found myself in need of refreshment.

I went into a nearby saloon (there was always a nearby saloon in Opelousas) and found no one at the bar except the lady bartender.

The other patrons were gathered around a large round table playing cards.

The players consisted of two sunburned gents in khakis and straw hats I assumed were farmers; two Opelousas police officers in uniform, and two attractive young ladies wearing a bit too much makeup and clothes designed more for evening wear than a south Louisiana afternoon.

After I ordered a beverage and sat down at the bar, the bartender asked me, “You play bourré, honey?”

When I told her I didn’t, she said, “Why don’t you sit in? They’ll teach you. …”

I eyed the pile of bills on the table and the intensity of the players, and declined the offer.

Later I told a friend from Acadiana about the incident, and he informed me that for what that education would have cost me, I could have gotten an advanced degree from Harvard. …

Birds of a feather

Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, says, “I just love this time of the year, enjoying aerial shows provided by the return of birds — especially those huge black clouds of birds that twist and turn, swirling in one direction, then changing in an instant and darting in another, then changing again, apparently having no idea where they are going.

“Funny how they always show up at the same time the Legislature is in town.

“Probably just a coincidence. …”

Worthy causes

If you reserve your $100 ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home drawing by Friday, April 25, you’ll qualify for an additional drawing to win free groceries for a year. The winner of the $400,000 house will be announced June 22.

Reserve tickets at Citizens Bank & Trust, The UPS Store or by calling (800) 726-6409.

Special People Dept.

Frank Haddox, of Slaughter, celebrates his 91st birthday on Wednesday, April 23.

Albertha Johnson celebrates her 90th birthday on Wednesday, April 23.

Let’s do lunch

I love groups that meet just to get together and share stories — such as the annual Ellis’ Lounge Reunion, for former patrons of a long-closed Baton Rouge watering hole.

Chick St. Germaine tells of one like that in Harahan — the “Tabs Club,” which has been meeting for lunch on Holy Thursday since 1979.

He says 67 gents attended the one this year, at Smilie’s Restaurant.

(Chick told me the origin of the name last year. As I recall, it wasn’t printable. …)

Where’s the beef?

Ron Smith, of Ethel, says our seminar on early pizza places reminded him of his Istrouma High days in the ’60s, when the shrimp pizza at Europe’s on Airline was a Baton Rouge culinary treasure, making it a popular stop on date nights.

Ron adds, “I chuckled at a sign behind the bar that read: ‘Ribeye — 99 cents. With meat — $4.99.’ ”

Leaping to conclusions

Algie Petrere says, “Comments about a ‘damn Yankee’ in your column the other day reminded me of this story”:

One day, a very gentle Texas lady was driving across a high bridge in Austin.

As she neared the top of the bridge, she noticed a young man fixin’ to jump. (Fixin’ in Texas means: has the means or ability to take action.)

She stopped her car, rolled down the window and said, “Please don’t jump! Think of your dear mother and father.”

He replied, “My mom and dad are both dead; I’m going to jump.”

She said, “Well, think of your sweet wife and precious children.”

He replied, “I’m not married, and I don’t have any kids.”

She said, “Well, then you just remember the Alamo.”

He replied, ‘’What’s the Alamo?’’

She replied, ‘’Well, bless your heart! You just go ahead and jump, you damn Yankee. You’re holding up traffic.”

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.