Smiley: Good times and Jell-O

Jenny made her last visit to Baton Rouge’s Westmoreland Piccadilly on Friday, before it closed Sunday after 55 years:

“As I waited in line, a gentleman, Mr. George, told the staff that his son, as a child, wanted to ride on the belt behind the ‘dirty dishes window.’

“I told Mr. George that before I started high school in 1976, I had a summer job working for Bill Nesbit, CPA.

“At least once a week, several of us in the office would ‘eat out!’ (remember when that was a big deal?) at Piccadilly, where lunch was under a dollar (a 48-cent bowl of seafood gumbo, a small serving of green beans, also 48 cents, plus free water and lemons for lemonade).

“Looking back, it wasn’t just the 98-cent lunch but the ongoing memories — a lunch date with my soon-to-be husband, after-work dinner as a newly married couple or pushing each of our four children down the line in a high chair as they reached for the red cubed Jell-O.

“It was a consistent place to have a good, homestyle meal. Thanks to the wonderful staff.”

On the road again

A few final hitchhiking tales:

    Kelly Simoneaux says, “As an 18-year-old private at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in April 1943, I received my first weekend pass and decided to hitchhike to Oklahoma City, 90 miles away.

“My first ride took me only about 30 miles, to a fork in the road, with no buildings or houses in sight. It was getting dark, and the wind and sand were blowing up pretty good.

“A Greyhound bus came along, and I flagged it down.

At my destination, I asked the driver, ‘How much do I owe you?’ He said, ‘Soldier, this one is on Greyhound.’

“While I thanked him, I never thanked Greyhound. I am doing that now, 71 years later.”

    Robert “Sonny” Harris, of Bunkie, says, “During World War II, while stationed in Sabine Pass, Texas, I had leave at the same time as two shipmates, Louis Berthelot and Elmo ‘Legs’ Frederic.

“They rode with me in my car all the way to Bunkie but then had to hitchhike to New Orleans.

“After leave was over and we returned to our station, Louis told me he would NEVER EVER hitchhike with Elmo again.

“I asked why, and he said that when the first car stopped to offer them a ride, Elmo asked the driver if he had a radio. When the driver told him no, Elmo said, ‘Thanks anyway, but we’ll catch the next car.’ ”

    Paul Duffy says, “As an adolescent on a family trip to California in the ’50s, I was amazed to see young ladies in beach communities hitchhiking in bikinis! I was sure I had died and gone to heaven.

“And no, despite my urging, my family didn’t pick up any of them.”

Failure to communicate

Ernie Gremillion says, “Some years back, we had a group that would make one-day trips to play golf courses in the area.

“I made the arrangements for the trips.

“On one occasion, I could not do this — because the club required arrangements to be made by the pro at your home club, and I was not associated with a club.

“When I explained this to Roy Chustz and told him that he had to get the pro to call (meaning his golf pro to make the arrangements), he mistook what I said to mean ‘protocol,’ which he thought would be my responsibility.

“After several rounds of what appeared to be an Abbot and Costello routine of ‘Who’s on first,’ he finally realized what I meant.”

Worthy causes

Sonia Fitzhugh tells of a raffle to benefit her husband Heath, who has cystic fibrosis and is on the transplant donor list for a double lung transplant. Children’s Organ Transplant Association also is helping raise funds for medical expenses.

The raffle is for an iPad Mini. Tickets are $5, and the drawing is Aug. 2 at 11 a.m. during a fundraising jambalaya at S&Z Discount, 2452 Florida Blvd. in Denham Springs. Call (225) 223-8625 or email heathfitzhugh96@gmail.com. To donate to COTA, go to cota.org.

Special People Dept.

  • Mildred Hebert, formerly of White Castle, now in Bedford, Texas, celebrates her 99th birthday on Tuesday.
  • Myrtis D. Bourgeois, formerly of Morganza, now at Lakeview Nursing Home in New Roads, celebrated her 95th birthday on Sunday.

    Leslie J. LeBlanc celebrates his 91st birthday on Tuesday.

    Helen Rome Hebert was 91 on Sunday, an event celebrated on Saturday at The Haven at Windermere with family and friends.

    Joe Daniel, the mayor of Elm Park in West Feliciana Parish, celebrates his 90th birthday on Tuesday.

    Evelyn Beauchamp, of Clinton, celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday.

    Luci Mae and William “Beagle” Dupre celebrate their 69th anniversary on Tuesday.

Send in the clowns

I was surfing around the TV the other day and came upon a couple of shows that reminded me of this sad fact:

You probably won’t find Louisiana politicians on CNN, but you’re likely to spot them on Comedy Central — or whatever channel “Duck Dynasty” is on.

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.