“Papenton” tells a story about a time near the end of the Great Depression:

“My father told of walking with his long-time friend, Mr. Charlie Gayer, to a burn pile behind Mr. Charlie’s store, The Spot Cash Grocery and Grain, in Franklinton.

“Mr. Charlie carried a large grocery basket filled with charge pads for his customers who could not pay at that time. He commented as he burned those charges, ‘I will never collect on these, but I could not let them go hungry.’”

Plastic Generation

Betty Rose, of Pearl River, says, “My grandson recently earned his driver’s license. He was helping his grandparents with yard work when gasoline was needed for the pressure washer.

“His granddad gave him cash and a gas can, and asked him go fill up the can at the nearby station.

“Grandson turned to walk toward his vehicle with cash and can in hand, then turned around saying, ‘You can buy gas with cash? How do you do that? I’ve only used a credit card.’

“Granddad gave him his credit card. Grandson will have to figure that one out on his own!”

Lady on the bill

Although it’s not my decision to make, several readers have contacted me with suggestions for a woman to appear on a $10 bill.

Tiny Forbes, of Baker, says, “I think that Miss Helen Keller would be a wonderful lady to put on the $10 bill, as she did so much for all the blind people or our nation.”

Fanning religiously

Gene Louviere has one for our Nostalgia Corner:

“My wife, Sylvia, and I were born and raised in New Iberia and now reside in Lafayette.

“On a recent trip to New Iberia, we drove past St. Peter’s Church on an extremely hot July afternoon.

“The circumstances brought to mind the good old days in the early 1950s, when ‘church fans’ were distributed in every pew.

“These were made of rectangular cardboard with a wooden handle like a large Popsicle stick. One side showed a religious scene and the other was usually an ad for a funeral home.

“On a hot Sunday the congregation members would begin fanning themselves from the time they sat down until the last note of the concluding hymn. The speed of fanning was proportional to the temperature in the church, becoming faster as the service progressed.

“Interestingly, by the conclusion of Mass, a view from the balcony showed nearly everyone fanning in synch.”

Which reminds me

When some Spanish Town friends visited Graceland, they brought us back some great tacky souvenirs.

My favorite is a church fan, like the ones mentioned in the above story, featuring a photo of The King and “I’m an Elvis fan” in large print.

Because I treasure it and don’t want to break it, I’ve never used it — not even on the hottest days...

Mighty fine fiddlin’

T. Med Hogg says he and wife Mae are proud grandparents these days:

“James Hogg, our 15-year-old grandson, won the Louisiana State Fiddle Grand Championship at Northwestern State University during the recent Folk Live Festival, playing against all comers.

“James also plays several other instruments, including the Scottish bagpipes.”

Special People Dept.

— Harvey Elroy Cooper, of New Orleans, celebrates his 100th birthday on Sunday, July 26.

— Bessie Carnaggio, of River Ridge, celebrates her 94th birthday on Sunday, July 26.

— Merle Sprouse celebrates her 92nd birthday on Sunday, July 26.

— On Sunday, July 26, Robert B. and Doris J. Williams, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 73rd anniversary, and Robert celebrates his 90th birthday. He is an Army Air Force veteran.

— Pat and Dick Thevenot celebrate 58 years of marriage on Sunday, July 26.

— Clark and Pat Duhe, of Lutcher, celebrate their 56th anniversary on Saturday, July 25.

— Donald and Peggy Hamilton, of Plaquemine, celebrate 50 years of marriage on Friday, July 24.

The Panda Diet

No, I’m not talking about bamboo...

Gary Lee says, “I am always proud of my son-in-law, Daniel Buco. He’s a tall, big guy and the Cajun cuisine had started getting the best of him.

“It took a kid’s National Geographic program to finally bring him around. Listening to a narrator describe the details about those lovely Chinese panda bears, he was horrified when he heard the voice exclaim that ‘full-sized adult male panda bears could actually reach 235 pounds!’

“Well, that did it immediately. He was so shaken by the thought of weighing more than a ‘full-sized adult male panda bear’ that he started a drastic diet the very next day. He does not now outweigh that cuddly panda bear.

“And how did he do it? Counting calories had much input, but let’s just call it the Panda Diet.

“I see a book there somewhere.”

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.