Pat Alba, of Metairie, tells of her short career as an auto racer:

“I owned a Camry in the early ’80s, when that model was something of a novelty.

“Maybe that’s why one day when I was waiting for a traffic light, another car pulled up beside me and the driver raced his engine repeatedly — an invitation to drag, I supposed.

“I had never considered such juvenile behavior before, and I did not even glance at him.

“Then, impulsively, I decided to accept the challenge — there were no other cars in sight.

“On the stroke of green we both floor-boarded the accelerators, and I leaped ahead.

“Because we were in a 35 mph zone, when the needle hit that number I took my foot off the gas, and the other driver roared past me.

“It was a Jefferson Parish police car!”

Price of progress

Marsha R. says like other nostalgic readers in the Baton Rouge-Port Allen area, “we rode the ferry in the ’60s, too.

“It was a great late-night date place: cool, quiet and affordable.

“Sometimes there was music, because a church choir used to practice on the ferry — much cheaper than renting a hall, and the cooling breeze was free.

“Later, my toddler son and I would ride back and forth several times while my mother was at church at the Cathedral.

“But we traded the ferry for the convenience of our new bridge, now known as the ‘Parking Lot Over the River.’”

Foxes strike again!

It turns out Baton Rouge isn’t the only place where foxes steal newspapers, as I mentioned in the Monday column.

John Kelly, columnist for The Washington Post, tells of a similar incident in Vienna, Virginia.

Seems a family of foxes were taking copies of the Post and the Fairfax Times, and putting them in their den in a hole under a backyard shed.

John interviewed a wildlife expert, who said this time of year the fox kits are emerging from the den and the “moms are more active bringing food for them to try and things they’re going to be foraging for and hunting. I’m not sure what’s going on with the newspapers. Maybe it’s something that reminded them of prey or something for the kits to interact with.”

As John says, “That’s the best way to introduce youngsters to newspapers. You have to start them young.”

Music makers

“Diane Martin brought back memories of the Town and Country Club in Donaldsonville,” says Cy Tortorich.

“Our band, the Night Owls, played music there for Tony Falsetta, the owner, on Saturday nights.

“Often we helped set up for Fats Domino, Little Richard, Irma Thomas, Sugar Boy, Ernie K-Doe and many others.

“We would wait for the gig to end and help Fats set up in Belle Rose at Champ’s Honey Dripper for a moonlight dance until 5 in the morning.

“Often Bobby Loveless, Keith Vetter and I would sit in on these sets. The music of the ’50s was definitely the best.

“Fats, my friend, is a humble man whose fame never went to his head. I last saw him at Tipitina’s after Katrina.”

Cool footwear

Nobey Benoit says, regarding a recent column topic: “Those white boots shrimpers wear have nothing to do with style. If they wore the traditional black rubber boots, the sun beating down on them all day would be unbearable.

“The white rubber boots help keep their feet cool. Smart people, them shrimpers.”

Special People Dept.

— Dorothy Mae Berry Fussell celebrated her 91st birthday on Tuesday, June 30.

— William “Beagle” and Lucie Mae Dupré, of Belle Rose, celebrate their 70th anniversary on Wednesday, July 1.

Sorry, kids

After Jim Carruth, of Lafayette, sent me the story about the chicken who hitched ride on the running board of his dad’s car in the early ’50s (run in the Tuesday column), he had this thought:

“You will receive many calls from your readers under 40 years old: ‘What the hell is a running board?’”

Not to worry, Jim, I’ll just tell them to Google it...

Good luck charm?

LaNell Hilborn, of Pineville, says, “I went to the ballpark the other night to watch my great-granddaughter Jada play T-ball.

“Next to me sat Jada’s grandpa, Francisco. He was holding Jada’s little brother Thomas, who was giving everyone a hard time trying to keep up with him.

“Finally, his grandmother, Elisa, reached over and took charge of little Thomas. During the transfer, Thomas dropped his pacifier.

“Francisco reached down and picked it up, and about that time Jada hit the ball and was running for first.

“Francisco stood up, waving his hands in the air, yelling, ‘Run, Jada, run!’

“I would loved to have had a camera ready at that time — to have a picture of my 50-something-year-old son-in-law waving his pacifier to get his granddaughter on base.”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.