“The most amazing thing happened just before the start of the Mardi Gras Mambo race this past Saturday,” says Dick Speyrer.

“There were probably 2,000 people on North Boulevard in front of the Old State Capitol, both race participants and spectators.

“Before the gun sounded to start the race, the National Anthem was played over loudspeakers.

“About halfway through, the speakers went silent for a few seconds.

“They came back on, but in the few seconds that they were quiet, it seemed as if the entire crowd of people picked it up and sang it to the end.

“The swell of the voices was magnificent to hear.

“Wouldn’t it be great to hear everyone singing our National Anthem at sporting events as happened Saturday morning?”

Truth in advertising

Tom Pyburn, of New Orleans, says, “Your recent entries regarding oxymoronic signage brings to mind one that we saw several years ago while driving through some rural areas in the beautiful West Virginia mountains.

“There were lots of small hand-made furniture shops along the way, but one stood out because the sign out front advertised ‘Antiques made daily.’

“My wife, son and I still laugh about that one from time to time.”

That warm feeling

Doug Johnson, of Watson, tells of an automotive accessory I’ve never seen — and hope to never see:

“Comments about people in Minnesota putting a tennis ball on the radio antenna of their car so they could find it behind piles of snow reminded me of my first visit to that area several years ago on a business trip.

“I noticed that many cars had a cord with a plug hanging from under the front of the hood.

“The puzzle cleared up when I saw that many parking lots had posts with electrical outlets near each parking spot.

“These cars had a heating element that replaced the oil dipstick. When plugged in, it would keep the engine warm enough to start in that frigid climate.”

Funny cars

Andy Maverick wonders if St. John Parish deputies are driving more impressive vehicles these days:

“We were traveling over the New Year holiday, and ran into an old friend who had visited Louisiana once, many years ago.

“We said, ‘When are you coming to see us in Louisiana again?’

“She said she still had a sour taste in her mouth from an encounter with the law on I-10.

“On their last day, she and her friend were heading from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to catch their plane.

“They were in a bit of a hurry, though, and pretty soon they saw flashing lights in their rear-view mirror.

“She didn’t pull over at first, ‘because it looked like some kind of church security guard vehicle.’

“But her friend said, ‘No, that’s a St. John Parish sheriff’s car, and he’s getting tired of waiting for you to stop.’”

Ask Mr. Answer Man

Randy Rayburn has a question for Mr. Answer Man:

“When the late Vernon Roger did his cooking segments on WAFB-TV, he often used a Cajun phrase after tasting his dish.

“Do you readers remember this phrase, and also what it meant?”

Mr. Answer Man is happy to oblige:

Vernon said the phrase, which he picked up in Eunice, was “Tonnaire, amis, mais ca c’est bon, oui!”

It translates as “Thunder, friend, but that’s good, yes!”

Hand jive

Ruth Brown says our discussion of Cajuns talking with their hands reminded her of this:

“Some time ago, while I was waiting for the light to change, I noticed the couple in the car next to me REALLY using their hands.

“The man was holding a food item in his left hand while using his right hand to sign.

“The lady was waving both her hands, forming shapes with her fingers.

“I assumed they were deaf, and the wife was fussing at the husband for ‘talking with his hands full.’

“Or do you think they were Cajuns?”

Special People Dept.

Lois Cerise, of Covington, celebrates her 90th birthday on Wednesday.

Alvin and Lily Fairchild, of St. Gabriel, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Wednesday.

Head games

Algie Petrere came across this story about religion and golf — or the religion of golf...

A young man is playing golf with a priest. At a short hole the priest asks, “What are you going to use on this hole, son?”

The young man says, “An eight iron, Father. How about you?”

The priest says, “I’m going to hit a soft seven and pray.”

The young man hits his eight iron and puts the ball on the green. The priest tops his seven iron and dribbles the ball out a few yards.

The young man says, “I don’t know about you, Father, but in my church when we pray, we keep our head down.”

Talk to Smiley

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.