Smiley: Simple way to help

Thanks to Virginia Grenier for passing along a little story that’s going around Facebook. I’m not sure about the author, but it seems a nice idea:

“We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and go to the counter:

“ ‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended.’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.

“I ask my friend: ‘What are those suspended coffees?’

“My friend: ‘Wait for it and you will see.’

“Soon a man dressed in shabby clothes, who looks like a beggar, comes in through the door and asks, ‘Do you have a suspended coffee?’

“It’s simple — people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who cannot afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world.

“In some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.”

Virginia says, “I wonder what eateries in Baton Rouge would be ones that homeless and needy would be likely to approach, so those places could be asked if they were open to doing the suspended coffees, meals etc.?”

Story bugs readers

As you know, this column examines Major World Issues, so much of my Monday morning mail was devoted to the tragic story in The Advocate that day about freezing temperatures exterminating the 300 performers of a flea circus in Germany.

Tommy Watts says at first he thought it was an April Fools Day joke.

Then he started wondering: “How does one train a flea? Is a tiny buggy whip used, like in the ring with the big cats? Shock collars, maybe? Are they punished when they horse around rather than paying attention to their lessons? How? Must PETA be called in to monitor training procedures?”

And Macon Callicott cites a great follow-up story in the German newspaper Der Stern, in which the owner is quoted as saying that he had lost all of his fleas and would have to ‘start from scratch.’ ”

Fairway View memories

Is Baton Rouge the only place that holds reunions of bar patrons mourning the loss of favorite watering holes?

The Ellis Lounge patrons have been meeting for three decades or so to get nostalgic about the Government Street pub, and now patrons of the Fairway View Club (1979-1983) are meeting on Saturday.

The gathering will be at the Hawk’s Nest from noon to 5 p.m. You’re asked to “bring a chair, sunscreen or raincoat” to enjoy the ’70s music outside, and “bring a THEN picture so we will recognize you.”

Other instructions: “Carpool if possible — parking is limited. No borrowing money or collecting old debts.”

Which reminds me

The Fairway View Club was tucked into the apartment complex of that name, and in its day it was a happening place, drawing what passed for Baton Rouge’s “cool set” at the time.

I wasn’t a member of that set, of course, but I do recall that the food was excellent — great gumbo and burgers especially.

I was introduced to the burgers one day at lunch, when I was pondering the menu and trying to decide what to order.

I was sitting at the bar, and could look into the kitchen.

There I saw a stately lady in a white uniform reach into a huge metal bowl and bring out a handful of ground beef. She began to pound it with both hands into the shape of a patty.

This scene convinced me. “I’ll have the hamburger!” I cried.

It was sublime. …

Special People Dept.

  • Dorothy and J.F. Harold “Johnny” Fussell celebrated their 67th anniversary Sunday.
  • Betty and Iverson Gandy Sr. celebrated their 62nd anniversary Monday.

Room for improvement

Tom Parker, of Lafayette, comments on Irving Domingue’s story about patent medicine entrepreneur Dudley LeBlanc mailing his Hadacol tonic to the president and members of Congress:

“Concerning the comment from Mr. Domingue that he can’t say if Hadacol improved Washington or not…it could not hurt! There is only one way it could go!”

Chew that brew

Gene Duke addresses our seminar on Louisiana coffee:

“To be classified as REAL dark coffee, you have to bite it out of the cup.”

Getting personal

Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, says when their toaster died after 15 years, wife Mary bought a new one:

“Like most guys, I don’t read instructions for new gadgets. But, with retirement time on my hands, I read them.”

He now feels Mary picked a model only SHE could use:

“It says, ‘This appliance is not intended for use by persons with reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and knowledge, unless they have been given supervision or instruction concerning use of the appliance by a person responsible for their safety.’

“Except for ‘sensory’ capabilities, the restrictions seem to be aimed directly at ME!”

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.