Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, gives us another reason to cherish our children — they’re so cute when they remind us how old we’re getting:

“When my son Rob was in first grade, he came home one day excited about having learned how and when different things came into being: the steam engine by Eli Whitney; Morse code by Samuel Morse; airplanes by the Wright brothers, etc.

“He looked at me and very seriously asked, ‘Mommy, were you born when the horse was invented?’

“I hadn’t realized until then how old 37 looked to my son. Needless to say, the teacher hadn’t distinguished between ‘invented’ and ‘created.’”

More horsing around

Clifton Tassin, of Thibodaux, says, “After reading Joan Waguespack Barre’s story about Dr. Lionel Omar Waguespack, of Vacherie, a few thoughts came to mind.

“Dr. Lionel is also my grandfather. One of the stories I remember was the one about him making house calls with his horse and buggy.

“A lot of his calls were in the middle of the night. After completing his call, he would head his horse in the direction of his house, then go to sleep. When the horse got to the front gate, it would wait until my grandfather woke up.

“When it was time to settle the bill with his patients, quite often he would get paid with cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn or whatever was in the garden at that time. Once in a while he would even get a chicken or a duck.”

Real angels

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, tells of learning that appearances can be deceiving:

“On a recent overseas flight, I saw two really big, burly guys coming down the aisle where I was already seated. They were each about 6-3 or 6-4 and heavily tattooed. They both had Harley Davidson themed gear on, and one had ‘HELL’S’ tattooed on one forearm and ‘ANGELS’ on the other.

“They took seats next to me, and I couldn’t wait to see just how bad they were going to be on the flight back to the USA.

“When the drink cart came by, I ordered wine and they both ordered water. After the meal, these two tattooed baddies sat there eating little cups of ice cream for dessert with little tiny plastic spoons, while I drank another glass of wine.

“I was astonished that my notion of a Hell’s Angel and reality were so far apart! These guys were perfect gentlemen...!”

Hot times

Robert Nethken, of Slidell, says, “While I was reading The Advocate about the low water pressure in the East Bank of New Orleans, I noticed that they suggested you boil the water before drinking, brushing teeth, bathing and taking a shower.

“Will someone please tell me how you boil the shower water. Wouldn’t the water be too hot?”

Seeking poets

Liz Ferguson, knowing my love of poetry (well, actually doggerel) asked me to tell about the poetry contest of the Louisiana State Poetry Society’s Founders’ chapter in Baton Rouge, in conjunction with the fall festival.

Anyone can center; postmark deadline is Aug. 17. For rules call her at (225) 275-3450.

The group’s next meeting is Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Fairwood Branch Library on Old Hammond Highway.

Which reminds me

It’s about time to crank up Smiley’s Poetry Contest once more.

Ever so often we ask our readers to submit a bit of verse about their city or our state, offering pungent comments about local color and fun stuff in Louisiana, the leaders who mismanage it, etc.

Let’s keep entries to six lines or so. The Grand Prize is a po-boy and root beer with me at the Pastime (or a similar po-boy place should the winner be from Acadiana or the New Orleans area).

To give you an example of the kind of stellar verse we’re seeking, here are a couple I recall from an earlier contest dealing with Baton Rouge:

“Baton Rouge, heavily funky.

“Where the air comes in smooth and chunky.”

And this one:

“Between Lafayette and Hammond is our capital city.

“A lot of tourists pass on by it; ain’t it a pity?”

Special People Dept.

— Dewayne and Loreader Waller celebrate 60 years of marriage on Wednesday, July 29.

— Pete and Nita Sanchez DiBenedetto celebrated their 56th anniversary on Tuesday, July 28.

Directionally challenged?

Carl Spillman says, “Billy Graham once told about the time in a small town when he asked a boy how to get to the post office. After getting directions, Mr. Graham invited him to come to his Crusade that evening.

“‘You can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven,’ he told the boy.

“The boy said, ‘I don’t think I’ll be there. You don’t even know your way to the post office.’”

Sweet thought

Algie Petrere says, “I received this moving message from my daughter, Melanie:

“‘Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, “I know it’s hard. You’re going to be OK. Here’s a coffee...and five million dollars.’

“Brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?”

Contacting 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.