Wandering minstrels bring joy

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This story from Ed Ruzicka is from my “Why Baton Rouge Is a Cool Place to Live” file:

“After the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, when most revelers had left, a small cadre lingered on Becky and Stuart Roberts’ porch across from City Park.

“Clarence Freeman was picking out a bluegrass song on his resonator guitar when a stranger with a guitar appeared on the stairs. At his shoulder, a tall dude held a trombone.

“The guitarist started a light, swaying tune. Within seconds Clarence joined in.

“Then came the trombone’s uplifting notes. Soon the whole group was tapping feet, nodding, swaying.

“These two troubadours transported us to a place of great beauty and endless possibility.

“I just want to thank them for the joyous gift they gave before merely sauntering off down the bead-laden street.”

Penny foolish

Brick Harrell sent me a check.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t a bribe to get his story in the column (although, come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea …).

Brick sent the check to show me he had figured out why Entergy is seeking a rate increase.

The check to him from Entergy is for 2 cents “interest on deposit.”

He says if they did this for all their customers, those pennies would certainly add up to a considerable sum (not including handling and mailing costs).

He mailed the check to me because “ain’t no way I’m going to walk in the bank and deposit a check for 2 cents!”

Ups and downs

Henrietta Didier, of Rayne, says our mention of directions in Acadiana “reminded me of the 1950s when my husband worked for Amerada Hess Corp. in the Raceland area.

“People would ask me where Raceland was located.

“I’d always answer ‘It’s right between up the bayou and down the bayou’ — and always saw a strange look on their faces.”

Exchanging treats

Mike Lukacin says, “A few years ago (make that quite a few), I took some marinated crawfish tails to Pennsylvania.

“Now if I don’t bring crawfish my family is not happy.

“In fact, my sister has told me if I don’t bring the crawfish, she won’t make any pirogies.

“Needless to say, crawfish will be heading north.”

Drink and ride

New Orleans taxicab passengers can now buy soft drinks (or, as they’re known in New Orleans, “mixers”) from dispensers in the cabs.

New Orleans Carriage Cab, which also operates Yellow-Checker Cab, will have the vending machines in some 250 cabs, says owner Simon Garber.

Simon says in 2007, his son Shaun, then 14 years old, gave him the idea. He’s been working ever since with patent attorneys and technical people to develop the vending machines.

A dry rain

Jeanie says, “Who would think you would have to use your windshield wipers on a beautiful day?

“Well, I did — just to get all the pollen off the windshield! And my car was parked under the carport.”

Nice People Dept.

Butch Peno says, “My wife, Cindy, wears my daughter’s opal birthstone ring.

“There is a lot of sentimental value in it, because Jill died in 1994 at the age of 14.

“The band was worn thin and one prong was bent, so Cindy brought the ring to Lee Michaels for repairs.

“When she picked it up, she was told ‘No charge.’

“Needless to say, tears flowed. Thank you, Lee Michaels!”

Camping with Tigers

The Big Buddy Program and the LSU Athletics Geaux Givers have a “Touring with the Tigers Spring Break Camp” Monday through Thursday.

The kids will tour Tiger Stadium, lunch with Mike the Tiger (at a safe distance, I assume), and meet with the softball team, cheerleaders, swim team, gymnastics team, etc.

Call (215) 388-9737 or visit http://www.bigbuddyprogram.org.

Special People Dept.

On Friday, Mildred Hopper celebrates her 92nd birthday.

Aging process

Richard Guidry, of Zachary, says, “At my age, if I wanted to keep in touch with my old friends, I’d need a Ouija board.”

Spare that egg

Teacher Bertha Hinojosa says her youngest gifted student at Glen Oaks Park Elementary came home after a day of decorating Easter eggs.

His mother asked the 3-year-old, “Did you dye eggs today?” The lad responded, “No, I didn’t kill anything today.”

The littlest scam artist

Liz Mac says her 3-year-old great-granddaughter got a new purse, and “now all she wants to do is put money in it.

“I gave her some change and a dollar bill on Sunday. On Tuesday she asked for some money, holding her purse open.

“I told her, ‘Granny already gave you money.’

“She said, ‘I lost it.’

“I asked her, ‘Where did you lose it?’

“She looked at me with the cutest smile and said, ‘In your purse, Granny!’

“Now, how could I refuse?”

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.