Val Garon milks this story for all it’s worth:

“Around 1938 at St. James High School, a magician, Willard the Wizard, gave a performance attended by my eldest brother, Allen.

“Allen was greatly impressed by the hypnotism that Willard performed.

“Since we lived in the country, Mom had a milk cow called Beauty.

“Allen had the job of milking Beauty. He did not like to hold the milk bucket between his knees as most milkers did — he just sat it on the ground under Beauty.

“Beauty had a bad habit of moving around in the stall, and this bothered Allen.

“Since he had witnessed people being hypnotized, he decided to try to hypnotize the cow.

“He stood in front and did all kinds of hand motions to put her in a trance.

“Thinking he had succeeded, he began milking, and was almost finished when Beauty took a step forward and stepped right in the bucket.

“Mom was outdone, but laughed hard when Allen told her he had hypnotized the cow.”

A downtown home

Leila Pitchford-English says, “In Monday’s paper, we have a story that starts: ‘Denham Springs is considering allowing residents to move into apartments above businesses, a change some city officials describe as a progressive move that could spur development.’

“People living above businesses is a very, very old idea, is it not? I don’t think that qualifies as progressive.”

Which reminds me

Living above their stores was a common practice, especially for the Italian shopkeepers in my hometown of Natchez, Mississippi.

My great-grandfather, John Druetta, had two apartments above his grocery store on Franklin Street. He lived in one with a daughter and her husband; another daughter and her family lived in the other one.

As a kid, I always enjoyed going up the steep stairs to visit, and loved going out on the balcony to watch the activity on the busy street below.

I wished I could have lived there, in the middle of all the action — which is maybe why I finally wound up living in downtown Baton Rouge.

True to your school?

Dr. Don, who used to teach Shakespeare at a local university, would like to know from the sports pages what the phrase means when we learn that some young LSU footballer “is a true freshman.”

He asks, “As opposed to a false one? Or a not-to-be-trusted one? A sophomore with false papers? Should we warn our daughters?”

Po folks food

Karen Tatum, of Prairieville, adds to our seminar on potato sandwiches:

“In England, French fried potato sandwiches are known as ‘chip butties’ and consist of thick ‘chips’ sandwiched between thick slices of buttered white bread or a soft roll called a ‘bap.’

“A dash of malt vinegar and some salt make them surprisingly delicious.

“As in New Orleans, they were always a popular choice for the frugal and practically penniless. My parents claim to have consumed a few in their dating years.”

Creep of the Week

Actually, Austin Bridgforth suggests a stronger designation:

“All the neighbors on Richards Drive in Baton Rouge would like to nominate as Grinch of the Year the person who stole Sam’s bench early on Wednesday (Sept. 10) between midnight and 4:30 a.m.

“Sam, a boy with disabilities, sat on his purple wooden LSU bench in his front yard in the mornings while he awaited the arrival of his special-needs bus.

“Maybe someone will notice this bench.”

No laughing matter

Ralph Drouin comments on our mention of the ubiquitous “LOL” (laughing out loud) on social media:

“I saw this on Facebook: ‘My bank has a new service where they will text you your balance. I just don’t think that they should add “LOL” on the end.’”

Initial reaction

Stacie Matherne, of Prairieville, reminds us that “LOL” can have another meaning besides “laughing out loud:”

“I was excited the other day when my comment about ‘LOL’ was printed in The Advocate.

“My husband, Bo, wasn’t really impressed, but he was glad I told him about it.

“He had been wondering why our neighbor Greg had been sending him ‘Lots of love.’”

Simply shameful!

Rick Bogren offers this story “with appropriate shamelessness:”

A truck was traveling in south Louisiana with a black bear cub and a red deer in cages in the back. Unfortunately, the truck broke an axle.

When the truck bed hit the pavement, the cages opened and the bear and deer escaped.

The driver wasn’t terribly worried, because both animals had computer chips embedded in their necks.

He called a friend and asked him if he could track the wayward animals.

The friend did, and reported back that “the bear was near Thibodaux — and Houma’s where the hart is.”

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.