Jim O’Brien, of Metairie, is a transplanted Yankee who married a local lady and learned to love the South — and grits.

Before he retired, he was a salesman who traveled all 50 states for more than 35 years.

He always advised his fellow business travelers to stay south of the “Grits Line” between Nov. 15 and April 15 to avoid that other white stuff — snow.

His theory was if you were below the Grits Line — in other words in places where you are ALWAYS offered grits with breakfast — you would be in a warm part of the country and not likely to encounter snowfalls.

Says Jim: “My wife tired of my relating this rule to friends and acquaintances — but got the last laugh.

“One June we were in Alaska on vacation and went into a very ‘local’ restaurant.

“I ordered reindeer sausage and eggs. The waitress very politely asked, ‘Do you want grits with that?’

“My wife, normally very reserved, couldn’t contain her laughter!”

The sound of money

David Porter says, “About 20 years ago, I went with my daughter Bonnie’s second-grade class to the State Capitol where we saw a large brass plaque of Louisiana on the floor, surrounded by a rope barrier.

“One little guy went to look and asked the teacher, ‘Can we throw pennies?’

“With one quick glance toward the legislative chambers, she said, ‘No, honey — we wouldn’t want to start a stampede.’ ”

Higgins pride

Holly Reynolds says a recent Advocate feature about Higgins boats, the famed World War II landing craft built in New Orleans, “reminded me of my experience in one.

“In November 1943, I was stationed at the American Red Cross Service Club in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“Another worker and I were invited by a naval lieutenant to visit his ship, the USS Augusta, docked not far away.

“We took a train to Glasgow, where we were met by a Higgins boat to take us to the Augusta.

“My journal says, ‘What fun to plow through the Scottish waters in a boat made in New Orleans. …’

“You can be sure that my ‘shipmates’ were made aware of the origin of our vessel.”

Really, Rather?

Paul Major says, “Continuing with the series on mispronunciations of Louisiana names, a prime example was by Dan Rather on the evening news.

“He was in Louisiana doing on-the-scene reporting during one of our hurricanes.

“He led into the segment by saying he was reporting from the small town of ‘Thibby-doo.’

“Wouldn’t you think he would ask a local how to pronounce it if he didn’t know?”

Turtle worship?

Deloes DiPiazza adds to our ‘Misheard Church Songs’ file:

“My friend’s little boy told his mom ‘O Kingy Turtle’ was his favorite church song.

“She said never heard that one but thought about it and came up with ‘O King Eternal.’ ”

How’s that again?

Jim Talbot is concerned about the hearing of the folks in his real estate office:

“At a recent sales meeting, I was saying I had a dream about Obama when one of my Realtors responded, ‘You had a dream about yo mama?’

“Shortly after somebody said, ‘I’m going to see my priest’ and another followed up with, ‘You saw Drew Brees?’

“Please save a spot for us in ‘Special People …’ ”

Special People Dept.

  • Della H. Himel, of Geismar, celebrates her 101st birthday on Friday, April 25.
  • On Friday, April 25, Adele Langlois Lowe, of Port Allen, celebrates her 100th birthday.

    Pearl Lipscomb, of Walker, celebrates her 96th birthday on Friday, April 25.

    Enola Dugas, of Paincourtville, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Friday, April 25.

    Earl “Uncle Earl” Garrison celebrates his 90th birthday on Saturday, April 26.

    Dottie Jeter Bauer celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, April 26. She is a World War II veteran, serving in the WAVES.

    Cora Bennett Shanklin, of Slaughter, celebrated her 90th birthday on April 13.

Oh, THOSE Yankees!

Gertrude M. Beauford, of New Orleans, adds to our seminar on residents of the Frozen Nawth:

“During Loyola College days, we often went to New York City for International Relations Club meetings.

“One time Father Butt had a friend there get us tickets to the hit Broadway musical ‘Damn Yankees.’

“Imagine our surprise when we got there and learned it was about the New York Yankees baseball team — not about them other folks!”

Colorful kid

There are no limits to the devotion LSU fans feel for their Tigers.

Harold Bourgeois, of Dutchtown, tells about one of them — his friend Charlie Sutherland:

“Charlie has a daughter who married a New Yorker named Bill Gold.

“He suggested that they name their baby daughter ‘Purple Ann …’ ”

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.