Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, says, “I love to eat mandarin duck.

“When I was an avid duck hunter, I came up with a bright idea of how to mix both.

“I brought five gadwalls to Ville Platte’s only Chinese restaurant and asked them to cook the wild ducks mandarin style.

“When I went to pick up the experiment, the cook apologized, saying he couldn’t get the breasts to tenderize.

“I could see he was struggling to explain the situation when he blurted out in broken English, ‘Too much exercise!’

“I told him, ‘Yep, they flew all the way from Canada.’ ”

Music makers

Guy R. Spitale says, “I remember the 1960s high school band directors in Baton Rouge who played in local big swing bands — Lee Fortier on trumpet, Jimmy Miller on trombone, Fox Avery on bass, Oscar Davis on sax and Lee Evans on piano.

“Once, Bob Hope praised their ability to swing it in the Cow Palace.”

Which reminds me

When Bob Hope did that show in LSU’s Parker Coliseum (aka the Cow Palace), I was with the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, which was involved in welcoming him to town.

So I got an up-close example of Hope’s use of topical humor and, in this case, local humor.

During a break in the rehearsal, he called over some of the LSU students who were hanging out watching him and asked them what was going on around here.

One of them mentioned the uproar over St. Landry Parish Sheriff Cat Doucet, who was being accused of allowing gambling and prostitution in the Opelousas area.

During his monologue, Hope broke up the crowd when he remarked that he was in a hurry to end the show — so he could get over to Opelousas.

Have a ball — or not

During Bob Hope’s appearance in Baton Rouge, somebody with the Chamber of Commerce got the idea of presenting him with a cannonball from the Port Hudson battlefield.

The ball was duly mounted on a wooden base, with an inscription about its Civil War history.

Hope accepted it gracefully from the chamber officials.

But as he was leaving the stage, he handed it to a member of his entourage and muttered, “They gave me a (bleeping) cannonball!”

And when he left his room at the Bellemont Motor Hotel the next morning, the cannonball stayed behind. …

The beat goes on

Glenn Scheuermann tells us that Baton Rouge’s high school teachers are still making music:

“Congratulations to one of Woodlawn High’s talented teachers, Troy Davis, for playing drums on the latest album by saxophonist Tony Dagradi.

“The album, ‘Gemini Rising,’ received four out of five stars in the December issue of Downbeat magazine!”

A life of service

A note from Sisters Claire Regan, Monica Gundler, Mary Lex Smith and Kelly O’Mahony:

“The Sisters of Charity at the House of Charity in New Orleans would like to honor and recognize our devoted ‘pray-er,’ Sister Josephine Cusimano, who celebrates 80 years as a Daughter of Charity on Saturday.

“Sister Josie served faithfully for decades at Charity Hospital as a nurse and in her later years as a patient advocate.

“We see her each morning at 8 a.m. Mass at Mater Dolorosa Church. She is of fully sound mind and healthy body for her 96 years.

“She daily engages with and serves her neighbors at the Chateau de Notre Dame residence.

“She is a resilient example of God’s grace in action. We smile each time we meet her.”

Special People Dept.

Paul D’Albor, of Plaquemine, celebrates his 96th birthday on Sunday.

Thomas B. Greer, of The Haven in Baton Rouge, celebrates his 92nd birthday on Sunday. He was a Navy pilot in World War II.

Ray and Bertha Louviere, of Jeanerette, celebrate their 72nd anniversary on Saturday.

George and Mildred Lawrence Hyde, of Amite, celebrate their 69th anniversary on Friday.

Aline and Mort Squires celebrate their 68th anniversary on Sunday.

Harold and Myra Mire, of Gonzales, celebrate 62 years of marriage on Saturday.

Hubert and Betty Chauvin celebrated 60 years of marriage on Thursday.

Glenda and Gary J. Hebert, of Gonzales, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday.

Biblical bait

Algie Petrere offers an example of applied theology:

Billy and Willy were at Sunday school studying about Noah’s ark.

On the way home, Willy asked, “Do you think Noah did much fishing?”

“How could he?” said Billy. “He only had two worms.”

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.