Smiley: No thrill ride

Mary Ann Sternberg’s train story is also a kid story:

“Many years ago, my late husband Josef and I decided we would take our three young children on the train from Hammond to New Orleans, as they had been on airplanes already but never enjoyed the fun of train travel.

“We had both loved riding the train and, after getting seated, told them to look out of the windows and see the sights whipping by.

“About 15 minutes into the ride, as I assumed they were happily entranced, our son — age 6 — leaned across the aisle and asked, in obvious confusion, ‘Is this all it does?’ ”

Fighting boredom

Speaking of traveling with bored kids, Joe Glass says he’s found a way for adults to preserve their sanity:

“Many years ago we taking our grandchildren on a trip and the remark ‘Are we there yet?’ kept coming up.

“I took a ruler with a paper clip on it and told them, ‘This is where we are, and this will be the end.’

“I would move the clip and tell them where we were at that moment, and that worked well.

“Try it sometime.”

Singing of trains

Dr. Joe Ricapito adds to our seminar on favorite train songs:

“I don’t think you can do better than Odetta singing ‘Freight Train.’ ”

Local hero

Terrance Johnson, a garbage truck driver for Republic Services Inc. in Baton Rouge, was honored as “Driver of the Year” in the Large Residential Category by the Environmental Industry Associations at a national awards ceremony in New Orleans.

He has a 14-year clean driving record, and drives an average of 800 miles a week along his city routes for 13,750 garbage pickups.

Terrance was selected from a group of nearly 900 applicants nationally and from 33 applicants in Louisiana.

The little trains

Clay Fourrier tells “all those folks waxing nostalgic about trains” that they can “relive those fond memories by visiting the operating displays of the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders, located in Jackson in the Republic of West Florida Museum.”

The displays are on view every second and fourth Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Day of remembrance

Alejandra “Alex” Juan says the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum will hold a Memorial Day celebration at 11 a.m. Monday in the Louisiana Memorial Plaza.

Former U.S. Rep. Henson Moore, “The Father of the USS Kidd,” will be keynote speaker.

After the ceremony the Baton Rouge Music Club Chorus will perform in the museum theater.

Guests are encouraged to wear red, white and blue and bring an American flag. Ship tours will be available at the regular admission prices of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children 5-12.

Call (225) 342-1942 or visit our

Looking for people

Volunteers are needed Saturday morning to help Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts place American flags at graves in Port Hudson National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

Registration is at 8 a.m. near the cemetery entrance on La. 3113, off U.S. 61 near Zachary.

Special People Dept.

Friday marks the 94th birthday of Fred Heroman, retired florist and greenhouse grower. His family came to Baton Rouge in 1835, and a Heroman has been in business in Baton Rouge ever since.

Doris Wilkerson celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday.

Johnny and Shirley O’Conner celebrate their 55th anniversary Friday.

All too true

Shirley Fleniken came across this gag, obviously directed at all-thumbs people like me:

What it says: “Some assembly required.”

What it means: “Take the day off, borrow your neighbor’s 2,000-piece tool kit and don’t make any other plans.”

Sign language

Former journalist Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says our recent discussion of silly signs reminds him of this:

“A sign on the door of a men’s rest room at a hotel where the Louisiana Sports Writers Association was voting on all-state football teams read, ‘This rest room locked for your convenience.’

“It may have been locked for my safety or my peace of mind, but it was certainly NOT for my convenience.”

Say what?

Jerry Leggio says, “In the early ’90s my wife Gloria and I took the family to Pensacola, Fla., for a week of fun-in-the-sun.

“Our 5-year-old nephew Charles was also in attendance, along with our daughter-in-law Claudia.

“Claudia could not bring herself to go into the water for fear of getting stung by jellyfish, especially the heavily tentacled Portuguese man-of-war.

“Charles, taking pity on her, advised her, ‘Aunt Claudia, just watch out for their testicles and you’ll be OK.’ ”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.