As an older brother (eight years older than baby bro Louis), I can identify with the big brother in Mary Bellis Williams’ story:

“My niece in Portland, Oregon, has three wonderful and active sons — Campbell, Finlay and Bryson. The eldest, Campbell, is 10.

“The three boys all attend the same Catholic school, where the kids attend Mass every Wednesday. The fifth graders are expected to sit next to any 5-year-olds in church to keep an eye on the little ones.

“Campbell was sitting next to a quiet little boy, and after awhile the kindergarten teacher brought over a fidgety boy and substituted him for the quiet one.

“Campbell calmed him down, and then the teacher brought another active boy and switched him with Campbell’s latest one. Campbell calmed him too.

“When the boys came home from school, he told his mom about his experiences. She asked why he thought the kindergarten teacher would have done that.

“He answered, ‘Probably because Bryson is my little brother.’”

Ticket to pray

Linda Leger Belleu says, regarding an earlier story, “I had also heard about people buying pews for the church to make money.

“My father told me when he was very young they were required to pay admission to go to the Catholic church they attended. The tickets given to those who paid were similar to movie theater tickets.

“I have never heard that from anyone else, but that might have been how people who could not buy a family pew were able to sit in the church.

“My father’s family consisted of 13 children and my grandmother and grandfather. If this was common in all Catholic churches, they could not have attended Mass very often as a family. I have always wondered if this was a common thing.”

Changing times

Speaking of church practices in bygone days, Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, asks, “I wonder how many of your readers remember when the ushers who passed the collection basket made change for the parishioners.

“I clearly remember ushers with a handful of quarters walking down the aisles and making change!”

No Bull

“I saw no mention of Bull Durham tobacco in your Prince Albert stories,” says Carl Spillman.

“That was one smoked all the time by some and by Prince Albert smokers when they were broke, just before pay day.

“When they were flush, they may even have a pack of ‘ready rolled’ cigarettes.

“Little boys didn’t miss anything back then. Still don’t...parents beware...”

Tom Ashby adds to the Bull Durham discussion:

“It came in a small drawstring cotton sack, with a pack of rolling papers.

“It was the mainstay of Westerns. The hero or sidekick would pull the sack out of his shirt pocket and tap a line of tobacco into the rolling paper, roll the whole thing into a cigarette, lick the edge and light it with a stick match. If he was really good he did it with one hand.

“Besides, as a kid, it was far better than corn silk. Never did get to using one hand.”

McSpam?

Regarding our seminar on processed canned meats, Advocate sports writer Sheldon Mickles says, “You haven’t lived until you have Spam at McDonald’s in Hawaii (it’s on all the menus over there).”

What, Sheldon, you’re eating at McDonald’s? I thought you sports people had expense accounts...

Looking for people

Frances Bennett, of Baton Rouge, seeks a host family for a 16-year-old girl from a small town in France near Paris who is to spend four weeks in Louisiana in July.

She plays the guitar and loves art, photography and dancing. Call (225) 926-4710 or (225) 324-2750.

Special People Dept.

Mary Vaccaro, of Independence, celebrates her 103rd birthday on Monday, March 7. She’s said to be the town’s oldest resident.

Paula Dauphin, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 97th birthday on Monday, March 7. Born and raised in New Orleans, she spent 20 years in Tucson, Arizona.

Thought for the Day

From Richard Guidry, of Zachary: “There is no better karate instructor than a spider web in your face in the middle of the night.”

Know your beer

John Gaidry, of Lafayette, says our mention of Regal beer’s advertising slogans “reminded me of some of the creative rhymes with beer names penned by imbibers that circulated back in the ’40s:

“Drink Regal, fly like an eagle.

“Drink Falstaff, fall stiff.

“Drink Jax, relax.

“Drink Goebel, you’re noble.

“Drink Schlitz, like the Ritz.

“Drink Blatz, go bats.

“Drink Miller, a killer.”

(I assume this last one means Miller is “killer good” and is not to be taken literally.)

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.

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