Funny the things that jog your memory:

The item below, about triangle players in bands, reminded me of the chank-a-chank bands at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou on Saturday mornings. (Triangles are found in many Cajun bands.)

This then reminded me of some great Mardi Gras adventures my spouse and I had in Mamou, where costumed horseback riders chase chickens for a communal gumbo.

And that, in turn, reminded me of my favorite story from a Mamou Mardi Gras, which I’ve told before:

We were watching the riders assemble in a vacant lot before heading off on their ride.

It appeared some of them had gotten a head start in celebrating the holiday, if you get my drift.

Several were standing up on their saddles, and there was considerable, uh, horseplay going on.

Some of them had brought their own chickens, and when one young guy’s chicken got away, he ran after it — head first into a nearby building’s wall.

He got up rather unsteadily, but managed to recover enough to get back on his horse and ride off.

At a ceremony on the downtown Mamou bandstand after the ride, he was given a “Hard Head Award,” and asked what he had learned from his mishap.

He replied, “Me, I learned that a brick wall don’t give!”

Striking story

Tim Cummings joins our discussion of metal beverage can openers from the time before pull tabs:

“I recall that ‘church keys’ had multiple uses.

“Years ago, when I was in the percussion section of the Landry High School (now St. Louis High School) band in Lake Charles, we lost our ‘triangle striker’ and replaced it with a Falstaff beer opener.

“It produced the same tone as the original striker, and the band director was none the wiser.

“Strangely, I don’t remember if I took it home every night after practice.”

Protect those kissers!

Craig M. Bennett, of Morgan City, shares this beverage can story:

“My father, Zack, and his friends Roland, T.J. and Elliot Stephens would get together after work at Stephens Diesel Service to drink a few beers.

“They decided to write the Budweiser people after the invention of the pull tab. Seems the pull tabs were on the seams of the cans, and thus making consumption uncomfortable.

“Guess they wanted their lips soft for some reason!”

Grand opening

Harry Clark, of Lafayette, says, “I am surprised some older fellow hasn’t pointed out that the original ‘church key’ was a bottle opener, not a can opener.

“It was so named because of its shape that resembled a key.

“Service to the young fellows is my life.”

Watch it, Heloise!

Karen Poirrier, of Lutcher, seems intent of getting me a new job, before I’ve mastered the one I have now:

“In a previous article you stated that you didn’t want to compete with Heloise. Well, Smiley, you published a hint in your column and therefore opened the door:

“Women love to burn candles, most times one in each room, especially the bathroom!

“Removing a burnt candle from its holder is a tedious task, unless a person uses the hint I learned from my favorite high school science teacher, Paul Keller:

“Simply pour ice-cold water in the holder until the burnt candle is completely covered. Let sit for a few minutes, and the candle will float in the water!

“There you have it. You can test this hint in ‘Smiley Central.’”

Hug a teacher

Karen Poirrier says the item above reminded her:

“Do please encourage your readers to contact a teacher who positively impacted their life, especially a retired teacher, on Teacher Appreciation Day, March 17.”

Special People Dept.

George Baggett, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrated his 90th birthday on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Oneil and Vickie Williams, of Metairie, celebrated 69 years of marriage on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The Rev. Harold and Patricia Babin celebrate their 60th anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 6.

J.R. and Theresa Gordon celebrate 59 years of marriage on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Barbed wit

Perry Anderson Snyder says our series on memorable put-downs has to include quotes from Sir Winston Churchill, “the gentleman who made put-downs an art form:”

Here are three comments on Labour Party leader Clement Attlee:

“A sheep in sheep’s clothing.”

“A modest man, who has much to be modest about.”

“An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing, and when the door was opened, Clement got out.”

And after Neville Chamberlain uttered his infamous “Peace in our time” prior to World War II, Churchill was reported to have said, “An appeaser is one who feeds an alligator hoping it will eat him last.”

Contacting Smiley

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.