Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, says the holiday season and its nativity scenes remind her of a family story:

“Husband Herb’s cousins live in Arkansas, and one year their church put on a Christmas pageant.

“They used a real donkey, camel and people for the pageant, even a real baby for the Christ child.

“The night before the pageant, they did a dress rehearsal. Mary and the donkey did fine. Then three wise men and the camel came down the aisle to the front of the beautiful Baptist church.

“The camel walked up the ramp, and you guessed it: lost his balance and fell on his side amongst the drums, other instruments and sound system. The camel, trashing about, totally wrecked things.

“As the church had recently bought this new pricey sound system and instruments, the music director totally lost it. Let’s just say he did not bless the camel in a kind way.

“We still laugh at the story of the camel and baby Jesus in Arkansas.”

Stepping stone

As a proud resident of Baton Rouge’s historic Spanish Town neighborhood, I was pleased to see Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne named commissioner of the Division of Administration by Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards.

This is because Jay’s previous claim to fame was as a long-time float judge in the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade.

It’s rewarding to see a political figure go from officiating at our parade to a prestigious job.

I guess our incoming governor, who attended the 2014 parade, figures that if Jay can handle that, he can handle pretty much anything...

Generation chasm

Jeffrey Davillier, of New Orleans, says, “My 12-year-old grandson was visiting the house the other day.

“I had evidently pulled a calf muscle, and was using heat and ice to hopefully speed my recovery.

“I yelled out to him to get my ice pack for me. He asked where was it, and I responded it was in the ice box.

“He said, ‘Where is that?’

“After I told him the refrigerator, I just looked at my wife and said, ‘We are not that old yet.’ We both just smiled!”

This Bud’s for them

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, comments on our Tuesday item about drinking age restrictions and soldiers:

“In Vietnam, your qualifications for quaffing were determined by your rank instead of your age. This rule was more enforced up-country, where access to suds was more restricted, than in Saigon, where Bier 77 was peddled just about everywhere.

“That’s why this young lieutenant went to the PX in Chu Lai every week to buy Bud for his men, including both Air Force sergeants and Army staff sergeants who were several years older but, according to Uncle Sam, too young to buy their own.”

Battle of New Orleans?

Nobody ever said writing was easy.

Tommy Watts says a recent photo caption shows how a simple sentence can take on a whole new meaning if you read it a certain way.

It read “P40 Warhawk like the one above was the first plane to record a victory against the Japanese at the National WWII Museum.”

He says, “I wasn’t aware that ‘The Big One’ made it that far to the east.”

Help the children

Carolyn A. Barras says CASA Jefferson in Metairie needs volunteers “to advocate for the best interest of children in our community placed into foster care because of abuse or neglect by their primary caregivers.”

“The next training course begins Jan. 11, and orientation sessions are scheduled from now through Jan. 15. We have over 40 children in foster care who need someone to be their voice.”

Call (504) 620-5889 to schedule an orientation or visit to apply online.

Special People Dept.

Adele Jewell McKinney, of New Roads, living in Greenwell Springs, celebrates her 98th birthday on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Creative insults

Joe Ricapito came across some classic insults, and shares a few with us:

Clarence Darrow: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”

Mark Twain: “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

Oscar Wilde: “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”

Aging process

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says, “The effects of age are beginning to bother me. It was bad enough when my memory started to fail, but this morning I was talking to no one and asked myself what I had just said!”

Lowering the bar

Against my better judgement, I’m running a few bar jokes.

Here’s one from Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville:

Mayan: “Hey, want a drink?”

Second Mayan: “I’m working on this calendar; but I guess if I don’t finish it won’t be the end of the world.”

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.