Smiley: Our state bird

Eileen Turowski Taylor, of Walker, tells of an encounter with one of our state’s featured creatures:

“I recently returned to Louisiana from the ‘Frozen North,’ following my brother’s funeral.

“While I was there, an accumulating snow fell on April 13.

“My brother, Eugene ‘Chuck’ Turowski, was quite a jokester, considering that he was a scientist.

“He had no sympathy that I had to remember how to drive in snow conditions.

“After the funeral and life-changing decisions, I flew back to New Orleans.

“During a bathroom break while waiting for my luggage, I noticed a mosquito buzzing me in the stall.

“I smiled, because I was thinking about how Chuck knew I hated the cold weather and snow.”

(And nothing says “welcome home” like a Louisiana skeeter…)

Which reminds me

Years ago, Lady Katherine and I attended a columnists’ conference in Boston, where the weather was a mite chilly.

After we arrived at the New Orleans airport on our return home, we picked up our luggage and headed outside to catch a cab to her sister’s apartment in the French Quarter.

As the door to the outside opened, we were smacked with a burst of hot, humid air, and a cab driver who greeted us with, “Hey, where y’at?”

We looked at each other and said in unison, “We’re home!”

Kiss of death

“I believe I’ve backed into a new profession,” says John LaCarna.

“I pulled for the Broncos in the Super Bowl, and they were destroyed 43-8.

“I then pulled for the Louisiana horse, Vicar’s in Trouble, in the Kentucky Derby, and he came in dead last.

“I think I’ll hire myself out to political candidates to vote for their opponents, but I’m not sure that would be legal.”

Spicy idea

Malcolm Wright says, “There is a surefire way of guaranteeing success for the Tiger baseball team in any game they play in Hoover, Ala.

“That is to post a big Tony Chachere’s sign just behind home plate.

“It works at the Box!”

Back in town

It was a treat to get a note from Jean West, former WAFB-TV anchor, who was back in Baton Rouge for the unveiling of the South Baton Rouge “Walls of Fame” at the Leo S. Butler Community Center.

Jean’s dad, Robert D. West Jr., has a plaque on the wall. He was the first African-American principal at Istrouma High, my alma mater, and also served at Capitol High, Scotlandville High and McKinley High.

Jean’s still in broadcasting, at the Raycom NBC affiliate, WAVE-3 TV, in Louisville, Kentucky.

When she was on the air at Channel 9 with Paul Gates, Jay Townsend and Mike Graham, I always referred to her as “the one with hair.”

Back in town II

A reader tells us that Bayou Country Superfest this weekend “will bring a Baton Rouge boy home.

“Jon ‘J.D.’ DuCrest, of Tara High and LSU, is the sound monitor engineer for Reba McEntire.

“J.D. has had a wonderful career working with such greats as Conway Twitty, Alan Jackson, Ricky Van Shelton, Clint Black, Elvis Costello, Olivia Newton-John and LeAnn Rimes.

“But, even with world travel, he prefers to come home for crawfish, boiled crabs, shrimp and gumbo.’

“You can take the boy out of Louisiana, but you can’t take Louisiana out of the boy!”

Nice People Dept.

Evelyn and Carolyne Coco say, “On Saturday we took a friend to lunch at Hunan Chinese Restaurant to celebrate her 82nd birthday.’

“When we were ready to leave and asked for our check, we were informed by our waiter that someone had already paid it!

“We’ve no idea who did this kindly deed, but want them to know how much we appreciate it, and that we will ‘pay it forward’ at our earliest opportunity.”

Special People Dept.

  • The Rev. J. Wilson Matt, of Consolata Nursing Home in New Iberia, celebrates his 96th birthday on Tuesday, May 20.
  • Harold “Fox” Vicknair, of Harahan, celebrates his 90th birthday on Tuesday, May 20.

Thought for the Day

From Marvin Borgmeyer: “Wine does not make you fat, it makes you lean … against tables, chairs, walls, etc.”

Different careers

Ken Pastorick says, “My 9-year-old son, Brady, really cracked me up this weekend.

“While we were driving away from his baseball game he spotted Mike Lamana, who works at the College Drive Albertson’s.

“ ‘Hey dad, there’s Mr. Mike,’ he said.

“I said, ‘Who’s Mr. Mike?’

“My son replied, ‘You know, the drug dealer at Albertson’s.’

“When I finally stopped laughing, I said, ‘Son, Mr. Mike would be a PHARMACIST.’ ”

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.