Keith Horcasitas tells this pre-Mother’s Day story to illustrate some of the trials and tribulations of being a mom:

“When I was about 8, growing up in Uptown N’Awlins, I got stuck in the second-floor bathroom.

“Mom and Dad had always told me not to use the lock, since it sometimes got stuck — it was one of those old-fashioned ‘skeleton key’ locks. Well, I decided to lock the door, and couldn’t open it.

“Mom, furious, had to take my older brother and sister to school. By the time she got back, I had tried and tried to get the key to turn, but to no avail.

“Finally, desperate to get her son out, Mom called the fire department, which came promptly in one of those bright red trucks.

“The firemen used one of those swinging ‘cherry-picking’ ladders, and I got a cool ride down.

“When Mom brought me to school late that morning, word had spread quickly, and everyone greeted me as a hero, with cheers.

“My English teacher told me my writing assignment was to tell about what happened. I guess that started my writing career!”

Mechanic mom

Another Mother’s Day recollection, from Doug Johnson, of Watson:

“Back in 1957, when I came home from college for the weekend, Mom told me she had a problem with the brakes on her car, but she had fixed it.

“She explained that the problem was a bad master cylinder, and that she had changed it. “‘YOU changed the master cylinder?’ I asked.

“She said she did, and my next question was how she knew how to replace a brake master cylinder, which isn’t a simple job.

“She said, ‘Remember a couple of years ago when we were driving to Nashville, the brakes went out and we stopped at a service station? Well, the man had to replace the master cylinder, and I watched him do it.’

“My mother would have been one of the greatest mechanical engineers ever if she had the opportunity to go to college.”

Water rescue

Shirley Fleniken says her brother, Robert Underwood, tells this story:

“A few weeks ago, my girlfriend Holly Cottun’s daughter, Veda, 17, heard a bird chirping, and tracked it to the bottom of a tall column on the front porch that was hollow. The bird was trapped in the bottom of it and couldn’t fly out.

“She tried a coathanger and other things to try to get the bird to hold on, but nothing seemed to work.

“This girl was not about to give up. Then her mother suggested using water.

“Veda took the hose and filled the column with water, the bird floated up to the top, Veda reached in and got the bird out. It shook itself off and flew away.

“I was pretty impressed by her compassion and determination.”

True to her school

“Let’s give three cheers for the old Wyandotte Elementary,” says former student Hilda Barr Lusted. “Its architecture, and memories of those attending, should be enough to save it from the wrecking ball.

“We all will long remember the maypole dance on the front lawn, and the teachers preparing us for the parish rally at Baton Rouge High.”

Nice People Dept.

Pamela B. Rhodes, of Brusly, says, “In my crazy hustle and bustle of a day, I found myself running all over Baton Rouge, and didn’t realize I was hungry until I was on my last errand around 1:30 p.m.

“At the Salad Shop on Perkins Road I waited in a line of about eight people and placed my order.

“When I got to the register, I opened my purse to find NO WALLET! I panicked, and apologized profusely to the people behind the counter.

“This wonderful lady ahead of me named Kelly just said ‘Add hers to mine.’

“I told her she didn’t have to do that, and she absolutely insisted on buying my salad. My hat’s off to you, Kelly. I will pay it forward!”

Special People Dept.

Hazel Eccles Gilmore celebrates her 96th birthday on Saturday, May 9. Formerly of Baker, she now lives in Walker.

Lila Villneuve celebrates her 95th birthday on Sunday, May 10.

Kathleen Spurger celebrates her 90th birthday on Friday, May 8.

On Friday, May 8, Jake and Joyce Haydel, of Thibodaux, celebrate 66 years of marriage.

My favorite fisherman

Please forgive the small plug in this story:

Karen Poirrier, of Lutcher, says, “Invariably, when husband Buddy and I go camping, he sits on the deck drinking coffee and reading from one of our ‘Smiley’ books (‘Smiley! A Laughing Matter’ or ‘Best of Smiley.’)

“When asked if he plans to read or fish, Buddy says, ‘Read. I catch my fish at Landry’s restaurant!’”

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.