Smiley: The write stuff

Gene Capeheart on friendship, fishing and Cajuns:

“I love trout fishing, and a couple of years ago, I lost one of my best trout-fishing buddies, Henry McKinell, to a long-term illness.

“Henry grew up in New Orleans and was the type of guy you liked instantly — except, of course, when he mentioned that he was an IRS agent, and then conversations with new acquaintances ended quite quickly.

“Henry loved all animals, and never quite recovered from having to do away with his boyhood pet alligator after it had eaten the neighbor’s cat.

“One very early morning on the way to our favorite fishing hole, Henry and I stopped at a backwoods store in hope of buying bait.

“When we asked if they had any bait shrimp, the person answered in a manner I couldn’t decipher, and when I turned to Henry for clarification (he understood Cajun French), even he didn’t have any idea what was said.

“We finally found a pencil and paper, wrote down our request, and left with the bait needed for a great morning of fishing.

“Henry — hope you’ve got a morning paper up there and can see just how much you’re missed!”

Shrimp show

Carl Enna, of Little Rock, Ark., weighs in our discussion of the Asian tiger prawn, an invasive species in the Gulf:

“Besides making me hungry, all the talk about Gulf shrimp vs. prawns makes me think that there has to be some late night-oil burning in the ‘New Show Development’ department at the Food Network.

“They could develop a show where chefs with Louisiana ties — say Emeril and John Besh — would prepare Louisiana cuisine against a team of outside chefs.

“Each dish would have shrimp as its main focus, and judges would have to determine whether Gulf shrimp or prawns were that week’s winner.

“They could call the show ‘Prawn Stars’ — hey, SOMEBODY had to say it!”

(But why YOU, and why HERE?)

More on marbles

Robert “Sonny” Harris, of Bunkie, says our seminar on marbles reminds him that growing up in Melville, “We shot marbles all the time.

“There they called the large shooters’ marbles ‘taws,’ ‘glassies’ or ‘monnies.’

“To shoot first, players had to ‘lag.’ A line was drawn in the dirt called the lag line, and everyone would either shoot a marble or drop a marble to try to be the closest one to the line, and therefore the first to shoot.”

Sonny’s daughter, Joy Cheramie, says of her father, “He’ll be 93 in December, and can tell you some stories just about ANYTHING you want to know from way back when. And by the way, I have some of his marbles from way back when.”

The hole truth

Speaking of marbles, Pete Gremillion recalls this game, a mild form of gambling:

“Do some readers remember having a cigar box with a hole in the top, just big enough for a marble to barely fit through?

“Players would drop a marble, and if it went in the hole, you would have to give them a marble. If it rolled off, you kept their marble.”

Worthy causes

Debbie Hebert says, “You are cordially invited NOT to attend the Baton Rouge Eye Bank Auxiliary’s ‘Phantom Breakfast’ on Thursday, Oct. 31.

“Sleep in and avoid traffic snarls, masquerade in your most comfy pjs and support a worthy cause while you enjoy your usual breakfast.

“We request your generous donation as we help support those in need of sight through cornea transplant.”

Send donations to Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank Auxiliary, 2132 Rue Beauegard, Baton Rouge, LA 70809.

Special People Dept.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Don Louis Broussard, of Lafayette, celebrates his 94th birthday on Monday, Oct. 14. He is a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.

Garland and Marilyn Landry celebrate their 68th anniversary on Monday, Oct. 14.

Eunice Downey, of Brusly, who has subscribed to this newspaper for 70 years, celebrated her 90th birthday on Sunday.

Mother’s day

Algie Petrere tells this one:

“A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school presentation.

“His mother, sitting in the front row to prompt him, gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it didn’t help — her son’s memory was blank.

“Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue, ‘I am the light of the world.’

“The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice said, ‘My mother is the light of the world.’”

Creative geography

Alex Chapman, of Ville Platte, says, regarding my misspelling of “salamander” in a spelling bee, that “the popular word ‘Gerrymander’ takes its origin from your favorite amphibian.”

The practice of drawing political districts to favor one faction over another was named for Gov. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, because of a state senate district drawn up in 1812 that had the look of a salamander.

(For an example, see a map of Louisiana’s congressional districts. ...)

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.