High school football season is also high school band season, and Jack V. Story, of Denham Springs, a retired band director, kicks off both seasons with a gentle gigging of his former colleagues of the athletic persuasion.

He says one of his favorite lists is “Things you will probably never hear a high school football coach say”:

1. I’ve always yearned to play the flute!

2. Can’t we have a bake sale instead of a barbecue?

3. I have an extra ticket to the opera; want to join me?

4. I need to take some time off to discover my inner child.

5. Don’t get so excited! Winning isn’t everything!

6. I know you need to study; take the last hour of practice off.

7. Do these shorts match my shirt?

8. That oboe concerto almost moved me to tears!

9. I do hope my son grows up to be a drum major!

10. I admit; I was wrong.

Matter of priorities

Paul Major, of Livonia, says the Thursday Advocate’s story on LSU students moving in for the fall semester was revealing:

“LSU president F. King Alexander was out early on the stormy morning helping students move in, while athletes were being held out until later in the day, when the thunder and lightning had stopped.

“University presidents are apparently a dime a dozen, while star athletes are a rare commodity.”

The devil you say!

Barbara “Southpaw” Spencer, of Lafayette, says the designation of Aug. 13 as International Left-Handers’ Day brings back some memories.

“When I was a little girl, I noticed that my big Cousin Betty wrote with a ‘different’ hand, and when I was in second grade, a nun forbade me to write with that ‘devil’s hand.’

“I then realized that I was writing with my left hand, just like Cousin Betty.

“The nun eventually realized that tapping my ‘lefty’ knuckles with that ruler and putting that pencil in my right hand served absolutely no purpose!

“When I was a high school instructor, administrators would summon me for questioning, and often attempted to write down my responses to these questions.

“One particular lefty’s writing style was a bit intriguing, because this person appeared to be forming letters in a circular motion going the wrong way.

“As elderly as I am, I still take a slight pause before responding when someone says, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were left-handed!’”

Which reminds me

Thankfully, the harmful practice of trying to change left-handers to right-handers is, as far as I know, a thing of the past.

But when my mom was in elementary school in Natchez, Mississippi, a teacher attempted to make her write with the “right” hand, rapping her knuckles with a ruler when she tried to use her left hand.

Mom came home crying, and showed her father her red knuckles.

My grandfather, Prospero DeMarco, was an imposing man; tall, white-haired, a prominent Natchez businessman (an optometrist and a drug store owner).

Family legend tells the story of how he marched­ to the school, which was right up the street, and confronted the teacher.

No one knows what he told her, but I like to imagine he offered to toss her out the schools’s second-floor window.

Whatever he said, it worked, and my mom was able to use her left hand from then on.

And when I came along and had the same teacher at the same school, she might have looked askance at my southpaw writing, but she never said a word about it. (She did, however, give me a C in penmanship.)

Special People Dept.

— May Harmann, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 94th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 22.

— Ruth Pulver, of Ponchatoula, formerly of Sulphur, celebrated her 93rd birthday on Saturday, Aug. 22.

— Lloyd Riches, of Kenner, celebrated his 93rd birthday on Thursday, Aug. 20.

— George and Ethel Sexton, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 65th anniversary on Monday, Aug. 24.

— On Saturday, Aug. 22, Carl and Nell Meriwether celebrated their 63rd anniversary.

— Lucy and James Bagley, of Covington, celebrated their 63rd anniversary on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

— Ben and Anne Byland celebrated their 61st anniversary on Friday, Aug. 21, with their usual 5-mile bike ride in Port Hudson.

That sinking feeling

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, says, “A fellow Ville Plattian, Gilbert J. Aucoin, noted that in old Westerns and horror movies, quicksand seemed to be everywhere.

“Gil is glad to know that in real life, it’s not much of a problem.”

Thought For the Day

From Richard Guidry, of Zachary: “Some days the supply of curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.”

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.