Our discussion of “UFO sightings” of the past led Romney Stubbs to send over a great article by Ruth Laney in the October 2013, issue of Country Roads magazine.

She told how Romney and his brother, Guyton, in 1973 made a “UFO” hot-air balloon and flew it over Tiger Stadium where a crowd of 68,000 football fans were watching an LSU-Kentucky game.

The balloon was made of plastic drop cloths, aluminum foil, clothesline wire and an old T-shirt, and powered by the heat from a tin of Kiwi shoe polish they set on fire. (They used Ruth’s iron to seal the contraption.)

The flight was a success — the balloon, 9 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter, flew several hundred feet high over the southeast corner of the stadium, diverting attention from the LSU band’s halftime show.

After flying over the stadium, the balloon crossed the Mississippi River and landed in Port Allen.

In the article, Guyton sums up the UFO gag:

“… things are not always what they seem. That’s the lesson of this thing. It’s just a reminder that we’re all tricksters.”

The 1964 “UFO”

A granddaughter of Mr. Marston, in whose yard the UFO-like metal from a broken Esso refinery turbine landed, says the date was “Monday, April 6, 1964, at approximately 8 p.m.”

She adds, “This can be verified from Esso’s plant newspaper dated April 17, 1964, which I have an original copy of, and is also where Mr. Marston was employed.”

Gene Dartez, who was employed at the plant, also says the 1957 date for the incident was incorrect.

On the scene

Cookie White, of St. Francisville, says her dad, a longtime employee at the Esso refinery, remembers the “UFO” that flew over north Baton Rouge:

“While visiting him at the War Veterans’ Home, I mentioned the article about the UFO and Charles Street.

“Well, I barely got into it when he stopped me to relate the whole episode.

“He said he was scheduled to test gas very close to that area, but was busy with something else at that particular time (he worked in the petroleum products lab).

“We made up a little rhyme about his work years ago: ‘Esso, Esso is the best, because our daddy does the test.’”

Multiplication lesson

Sulynn Gayner, of Denham Springs, says, “Rabbit fever has hit Gray’s Creek Elementary in Livingston Parish, and we are in need of more places for bunnies to live comfortably.”

She confesses to starting the influx at the school, and appeals for large cages or hutches for the bunnies, who are doing what bunnies do and increasing in number.

She’s at Sulynn.Ganey@lpsb.org.

She adds, “We are also looking for vets who do low-cost spay/neutering for bunnies.”

Dealing with excess

Adding to our seminar on unnecessary words and phrases, Larry Sylvester says, “My candidate for this year’s index of forbidden words: the word ‘literally.’

“Over-used, often incorrectly or unnecessarily.”

But Nobey Benoit has a different reaction:

“Thank God for those overused words. I would have never completed those thousand-word essays in English class without them.”

A beer at Frenchie’s

Dudley Lehew, of Marrero, says our seminar on old New Orleans beer reminded him that you can find “wonderful photos reflecting a special south Louisiana heritage” on Google Images.

He sent me one of a ramshackle building, “Frenchie’s Bar,” advertising “Barbecue” and “Cold Beer.”

On top of the building are two large signs, one for Regal (“The Prince of Golden Beers”) and one for Jax (more simply, “Best Beer in Town”).

Dudley adds, “I chuckled at the fact that the store also had Hire’s root beer, Coke and Nehi signs, but they were secondary!”

Special People Dept.

Hamlet Crotwell, of Denham Springs, celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday, Feb. 20. He is a World War II veteran.

Thought for the Day

From Marvin Borgmeyer: “Some people should use a glue stick instead of chapstick!”

Key to happiness

Winding up our church key seminar:

Bill Quinn says in a tackle box his uncle left him he found a Falstaff church key:

“I am painting my house, and it’s perfect to open the paint cans.”

Ernie Gremillion offers “absolutely, positively, the final church key story (which sounds suspiciously like a recycled Aggie joke):

“Several years ago, the story was going around that the Houston Astros would not be selling beer during the coming season. The reason was because they lost the opener the previous season.”

Changing bosses

Linda Dalferes says, “My husband has a friend who recently returned to work after retiring for the third time.

“When my husband asked him why he decided to return to work again, he said, ‘Too much supervision.’”

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.

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