When I learned of the death of Paul Gates, my thoughts went back to the times I’d joined the affable WAFB broadcaster at various events. Two of my favorite memories involve culinary adventures:

Once Paul and I went down to Lutcher in his van with an entourage to judge a gumbo cooking contest. After the judging we decided we could use a bit more nourishment. So we wound up at Hymel’s on the River Road in Convent, for a seafood feast and many bad jokes. Paul, as always, made it a memorable evening.

The other memory is of a Press Club luncheon during the effort to promote nutria as a gourmet dish. Paul showed up with a camera guy to interview us about our reaction to nutria sauce piquante, sausage, etc.

When he asked me how I liked nutria, I replied, “It tastes a little like cocker spaniel,” knowing there was no way he was going to air that. But I didn’t figure on Paul’s puckish sense of humor...

He did indeed use my comment, and I spent the rest of the week assuring dog-lovers I was only kidding...

The morning after

Lee Faucette, of Baton Rouge, recalls “an adventure back in the 1960s, when Gary Blocker and I were young teachers at Baker High.

“Our supervisor, Dr. Helen Brown, recommended that we attend a history symposium at Northeast Louisiana University (now UL Monroe). Two other teachers were from Istrouma High, a gentleman and a lady. Dr. Brown’s budget would only allow two motel rooms, so we three men had to stay in one room while the lady took the other room.

“The Istrouma gentleman, a little older than us, turned in right away and was soon sleeping, dead to the world. We turned in also, I in the other bed and Blocker on a cot.

“Just as we were drifting off to sleep, the Istrouma teacher started snoring loudly — high-volume nasal snorts, followed by whistling and wheezing. I grabbed a pillow and a blanket, figuring I would sleep in the bathtub. Gary beat me to it, so I ended up stuffing wads of Kleenex in my ears and sleeping in the tiny closet with our luggage.

“The next morning, at the 8 a.m. opening session, Dr. Brown, with a knowing countenance, looked at the Istrouma gentleman, fresh as a daisy, then at Gary and me, bleary-eyed and disheveled, and shook her head, implying we had spent much of the night carousing. We discussed telling Dr. Brown the truth, but decided to let it stand.”

Growth spurt

Cary Owen, of Baton Rouge, says this about a June 15 story of a lad in Sulphur who was frightened by a possum:

“The possum-frightened 10-year-old Mike Vincent must have grown a bit after the incident, because readers will remember him by 1964 as an LSU All-SEC linebacker under coach Charlie Mac.”

Where’s there’s smoke...

For years Lady Katherine has been a judge at Le Festivale de la Viande Boucanee in Ville Platte, aka The Smoked Meat Festival.

On Saturday she’ll judge the smoked meat dishes again, and says if I behave I can come along and judge too.

The festival was launched 24 years ago by the Evangeline Area Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and the contest features any meat that can be smoked: pork, beef, chicken, venison, duck; plus fish, shrimp, sausages, boudin, ponce, you name it. If you’re around the Ville Platte Civic Center at noon Saturday, it’s a great place to have lunch.

Special People Dept.

— C.J. Guillory celebrates his 101st birthday on Friday, June 24. He started in the car business in 1938 and was a long-time employee of Polk Chevrolet and Gerry Lane Chevrolet.

— Grace Barras Resweber, of Franklin Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, has her 100th birthday on Friday, June 24, an event to be celebrated at 2 p.m. Saturday. She is a native of St. Martinville.

— Bennie Laney, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates birthday No. 92 on Saturday, June 25.

— Barbara Grunewald, also of Amber Terrace, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Sunday, June 26.

— Lelia Schexnayder, of Belle Rose, celebrates her 90th birthday on Friday, June 24.

— Wilbert P. Braud, of Ascension Parish, celebrates his 90th birthday on Sunday, June 26. He is a World War II veteran.

— Ronald “Boo” and Gloria Bonin, of New Iberia, celebrate their 59th anniversary on Sunday, June 26.

— Linda and Howard Ray, of Farmington, New Mexico, celebrate their 56th anniversary on Saturday, June 25. They are former residents of Slaughter and Baton Rouge. He was a Linotype mechanic for the Baton Rouge State-Times newspaper.

Thought for the Day

From Simon Kwan: “If you want to change the world, do it when you are a bachelor. After marriage, you can’t even change a TV channel.”

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.