Earl C. Johnson says he was at Baton Rouge Clinic when a gent noticed his umbrella and asked, “Is that an Auburn umbrella?”

When Earl said it was, the gent observed with a grin, “No wonder you have it folded up.”

Earl says, “He got off a good joke at my expense.

“But I did inform him of the value of an Auburn umbrella in Baton Rouge.

“On more than one occasion, I had walked off and left it in the lobby of the LSU Union.

“Coming back for it a couple of hours later, there was my dependable blue-and-orange.

“The LSU students would not touch it.”

Now that’s poverty!

Richard Guidry, of Zachary, says, “Your mention of Willie Nelson’s birthday concerts in Baton Rouge always make me think of all the poor people in attendance.

“Some were so poor, I saw five of them sharing the same cigarette.”

That sinking feeling

Regarding our tales of ferries, Rose Sedita, of New Orleans, has this memory:

“Ferries on the Mississippi River could be scary.

“Years ago, every All Saints Day we got an early start and crossed the river on the ferry in Lutcher so we could visit living and dead relatives in Houma.

“Every year after we drove onto the ferry, the sugar cane trucks got on with us, and you could feel the ferry go lower and lower in the water.

“And Momma would start praying that the ferry not sink!

“Thrill ride for us kids!”

Cruise to nowhere

In the Wednesday column, a reader told of the Baton Rouge/Port Allen ferry being used as a baby sitter.

Kathryn Powell Mouton, of Metairie, recalls it also being a party venue:

“Back during World War II when I was a tot enrolled in St. Joseph’s school, our end-of-the-year party was a ride on the ferry.

“I was either in kindergarten or first- or second-grade. We were instructed to bring our lunch.

“Our teacher, Sister whoever-she-was, somehow transported us to the ferry landing and we rode back and forth all day.

“It was my first experience on a ferry, and I thought it was a wonderful treat!”

Night at the opera

Joe Cooper says our seminar on great musical moments our readers have experienced reminded him of this one:

“In 1947 I had the opportunity of meeting Giuseppe Di Stefano, a sensational Italian operatic tenor, before his 1948 debut with New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

“He had just hit the states and must have gotten on the wrong stagecoach — he did a recital in Bogalusa.”

Joe says he ushered at the event, and asks, “Can you imagine the lumberjacks and grand opera? What a night!”

Old news

Loretta Toussant says our recent tales of aging remind her of this incident:

“I was referred to by a much younger co-worker as a ‘settled aged woman.’ I was 37 at the time!

“Being that was quite a few years ago, I guess he would refer to me as ‘old as black pepper’ now.”

Jay’s lives on

Richard “Rick” Newton says the death of his dad, Jay Prothro, founder of Jay’s BBQ, doesn’t mean the end of the venerable barbecue restaurant.

“Jay’s will continue in Baton Rouge,” he says. “We’ve come a long way from the hot dog stand in front of Ellis’ Lounge, and the people of Baton Rouge made that possible. Thank you.”

Help a school

Pam Bounds issues her annual call for Community Coffee “Cash for Schools” labels, plus “Box Tops and Education” and “Labels for Education” from such products as Kleenex, Campbell’s Soup, etc. They’ll help her church school and can be sent to Baton Rouge Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 4455 Jones Creek Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70817.

Special People Dept.

— William Kaffie Baillio, of Ollie Steele Burden Manor, celebrates his 100th birthday on Friday, July 10. He is a World War II Navy veteran.

— Margie Callac Cooper, of New Orleans, celebrates her 100th birthday on Friday, July 10.

— Mabel Campbell celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, July 11. She was a longtime employee of Bert’s Camera and Records in Baton Rouge.

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Marvin Borgmeyer wants to know: “If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?”

Thought for the Day

From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.”

That’s entertainment?

Mike Patterson reports on doings at the Patio Lounge, a Baton Rouge adult day care center:

“It seems Hollywood has found the Patio Lounge.

“Owners Stacey and Terry Sweatfield have announced that filming will begin in mid-August of a new soap opera based on the real life characters who frequent the watering hole.

“It will be called ‘The Young and the Rest of Us.’”

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.