Smiley: A teacher who made us laugh

Years ago, I started getting jokes from a guy who called himself “Lou Clou.”

They were corny, but I’ve never shied away from corny stories.

I later found that Lou Clouatre was not only a joke teller but a beloved high school math teacher, who made math fun for his students.

Sadly, his career hit a snag when he was fired from his high school teaching job because he wouldn’t wear a tie (preferring a guayabera).

I didn’t hear from him as much after that, and I missed his stories. His former students said they missed him too.

His death got me thinking about some of his favorite tales.

For instance, this one:

When Noah’s Ark finally hit dry land and the animals were ordered to “go forth and multiply,” Noah found a pair of snakes in the bottom of the boat, crying. When he asked them what they were crying about, they sobbed, “We can’t multiply — we’re adders.”

And “How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? As many as you can afford.”

He also told what you got when you crossed a door-to-door evangelist with an agnostic: “Someone who rings your doorbell but doesn’t know why.”

I’ve lost a lot of valued contributors in the three decades or so I’ve been doing this column, but none were more valued than the guy who called himself Lou Clou.

Ride with a view

Ray Schell contributes to our seminar on mules:

“My wife and I were at the Grand Canyon, and I chose to take the mule ride to the bottom of the canyon.

“A few years earlier, I had walked the canyon in a little over 10 hours, but had not visited the Phantom Village at the base of the canyon, so decided the mule ride would be less strenuous.

“A little over a mile into the canyon, I started to have my reservations — every time we came to a sharp turn in the trail, the mules would go to the outside of the trail, where you had a great view of straight down; sometimes 300 or 400 feet down.

“I thought they might be trained to put the fear of God in the riders.

“When we reached the bottom of the trail and I was talking to one of the trainers, I mentioned this to him and he said, ‘Oh yeah, they do that because they don’t like rubbing their bellies against the cliff on the inside of the turn, so they go as far to the outside as they can.’

“It gives the rider a great view of down.”

Coffee culture shock

Our coffee tales remind me of one of my dad’s favorite stories.

When he was in the Army during World War II, he wound up training with a lot of other Southern guys at Camp Blanding in Florida.

They were used to the heat, but they were confounded by the drinking habits of folks from the Frozen Nawth.

Dad said that after one especially long, hot march, their Yankee lieutenant announced that he had a treat for them.

He unveiled urns of ice-cold liquid and told them to drink up.

It turned out to be iced coffee, which the Southern boys — raised on sweet tea — had never encountered before.

Dad said the officer was a bit hurt when his troops rejected his treat for plain old water.

Helping hands

Chuck C., of Denham Springs, thanks the helpful stranger who saw him struggling to move a big refrigerator into his house:

“He stopped what he was doing and helped lift it through my front door and into the kitchen.

“Then he shook hands and went on his way, like it was just another day in the country.

“It’s good to see that Southern hospitality is alive and well!”

Worthy causes

Rhonda Porta says the tenth “Alexis’ Angel Sale” will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at her home, 14340 Villar Road, Gonzales.

There will be plants, arts and crafts, jambalaya, and garage sale items. United Blood Services will hold a blood drive 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds go to Donate Life Louisiana “to help spread the word about organ donation.”

Check Facebook or go to http://www.alexisangelsale.com.

Special People Dept.

Emelda R. Guillot, of Heritage Manor in Napoleonville, celebrates her 102nd birthday Thursday.

Mr. Iron Stomach

Dr. Joe Ricapito says that after a visit to the Isleño Museum in St. Bernard Parish, he and his wife joined a group for lunch at Charlie’s in Violet:

“Across the room, I noticed a fellow opening the little plastic cup of salad dressing.

“When he finished his salad he kept shaking a bottle of Tabasco into the empty cup.

“When he filled the plastic container, he downed it as if it were good Scotch whisky.

“That’s what I like to see, a real man! I was tempted to give him the name of my gastroenterologist.”

Light humor

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, offers this one:

“How many paranoid people does it take to change a light bulb?

“Who wants to know?”

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.