Don’t think I’m picking on Oklahoma cooking — when I visited there, I discovered a great chicken-fried steak with white gravy in Durant.

But some readers have had less happy experiences with crawfish in that state:

Richard Fossey says, “My friend Robert White, who lives in Winnsboro, told me this story about a Louisiana friend who traveled to Oklahoma on business.

“While he was there, he saw a restaurant advertising hot boiled crawfish.

“The man was so excited to find crawfish in Oklahoma that he immediately went into the restaurant to order a big platter of mudbugs.

“‘Give me five,’ he told the waitress.

“In a few minutes, the waitress returned with five crawfish on a small plate.

“‘But I meant five pounds of crawfish,’ the man told her.

“‘Mister, we don’t sell crawfish by the pound,’ the waitress told him. ‘We sell them five for a dollar.’

“The poor guy was so shocked that he left the restaurant without eating anything, and I understand the incident has thoroughly disillusioned him about ordering Louisiana food in Oklahoma.”

Nostalgia Corner

Anna Elizabeth Powell Cochran, of Walker, continues our “You might be old Baton Rouge if ...” stories:

“You might be old Baton Rouge if ... you saw movies at the Paramount Theater on Third Street on Saturdays with 25 cents and had enough to buy candy, too.

“... you went roller skating and sometimes swimming at City Park.

“... you bought many things from Kress on Third Street, including their good malts.

“... you were born at the Lady of the Lake hospital near the Capitol Lakes (like me).”

Vanishing shrimp

Joan Barre, of Metairie, addresses the question of the Mississippi River shrimp:

“I don’t think anyone puts out shrimp boxes anymore. With the building of chemical plants along the river, the shrimp no longer tasted as good.

“Growing up in Vacherie, I have memories of going to the river with my father and brother in the ’40s to ‘raise the boxes’ and gather the shrimp.

“My mother scalded the day’s catch, and I sat on the screened porch peeling them.

“She used the shrimp in dishes with vegetables from the garden — okra gumbo; corn soup; eggplant, squash or bell pepper casseroles; tiny lima beans in a roux; jambalaya and my favorite, potato stew.”

It beats Motel 6

Jerry Berggren says, “I just read where Sonny Chapman and you were born (sanatorium and sanitarium respectively).

“It reminded me of my birthplace — a hotel.

“That’s right: Hotel Dieu in New Orleans!”

The King is I

Carla Dupuis says I’m in a new book about the Louisiana Cotton Festival in Ville Platte by Mary Lynn Landreneau.

I was King Cotton XLII in 1995 and still consider the fine folks of Ville Platte my loyal subjects.

The new book covers 1993-2013, and there’s an earlier one covering 1953-1992.

You can contact Mary Lynn at 108 Tournoi Drive, Ville Platte, LA 70586, or call (337) 363-2430.

Special People Dept.

  • Dello Couvillion, of Lake Sherwood Village, celebrates her 94th birthday Wednesday. She was born on Bayou Choupique in Plaucheville.
  • Hurst E. “Bud” Samson, of New Roads, celebrates his 93rd birthday Wednesday. He is a World War II veteran and a Master Gardener.

    New Orleans native John “Jack” Fox, a World War II veteran, lawyer and tennis player, celebrates his 91st birthday Wednesday.

Wrongest number

“This is not a ‘church joke,’ but a true story,” says Ralph Drouin.

“At the beginning of Mass, people are asked to ‘turn off all cellphones.’

“Everything was going fine until, in the middle of the homily, a cellphone started ringing.

“As soon as the person turned it off, the priest, without missing a beat, said, ‘If it’s for me, tell them I’m not here,’ then continued on with his homily.”

Brave husband

Algie Petrere says, “Now that they are retired, my mother and father are discussing all aspects of their future.

“ ‘What will you do if I die before you do?’ Dad asked Mom.

“After some thought, she said that she’d probably look for a house-sharing situation with three other single or widowed women who might be a little younger than herself, since she is so active for her age.

“Then Mom asked Dad, ‘What will you do if I die first?’

“He replied, ‘Probably the same thing.’

“Hmm … he might be going sooner than he thought.”

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.