A few days after Sept. 11, 2001, I returned from a family funeral in Minnesota and wrote my feelings about the trip.

We had to drive there and back — in the days after 9/11, flying was not an option.

In the item, titled “Signs of solidarity,” I told of seeing “hundreds of signs that Americans have been united to a remarkable degree by the horrors of Sept. 11:

“In a front yard in Winona, Minnesota, two little blonde girls waved tiny American flags at folks who drove or walked by.

“In Baraboo, Wisconsin, a biker in black leather on a big silver Harley had on the back of his bike an American flag measuring some 3 feet by 5 feet.

“In La Salle, Illinois, the glass case outside the First Congregationalist Church that normally announces service times was instead filled by an American flag.

“In Crystal City, Missouri, a lighted time-and-temperature sign at a bank presented this message: ‘God Bless America.’

“In Burdette, Arkansas, the American and Arkansas flags outside Cotton Boll Technical College were at half-staff.

“In Memphis, Tennessee, an escort vehicle and a truck hauling a huge pipe both sported a half-dozen American flags.

“In Grenada, Mississippi, a dusty, dented Pontiac had a tattered American flag mounted halfway down its radio antenna.

“And in Baton Rouge, the giant American flag at Robinson Brothers dominated the nighttime sky.

“As our Jeep hurtled through the country’s heartland, flags were everywhere — on houses, businesses, churches, cars, trucks, motorcycles, trees and flagpoles both existing and makeshift.

“ ‘God Bless America’ signs, some professionally made and some homemade, hung from buildings ranging from Baptist churches to beer distributors.”

I concluded that it was “encouraging to see in those dark hours such a spontaneous display of unity.”

That was a long time ago, and I suppose I was naive to think such unity might last. …

Poor or po?

Barbie Maderson, of Kenner, is confused:

“Smiley, in your Saturday column you mentioned Errol Laborde’s campaign to restore the word ‘poor’ to New Orleans’ famous sandwich.

“Then in today’s column you are calling it ‘po-boy’ to the winners of your Yat contest.

“Which are you going to use? I got the impression you agreed with Errol Laborde.”

I admire Errol, whose New Orleans Magazine has been very kind and welcoming to The New Orleans Advocate.

And I applaud his efforts to celebrate that great sandwich.

But I will still follow Advocate style and use “po-boy,” which at this time is by far the most common usage.

Duffer at work

T-Bob Taylor, my “unpaid but happy Panama City Beach, Florida, correspondent,” offers this golfing story:

“I’m ambidextrous. I can miss a golf ball with either hand.

“I did manage to shoot an 89 on the LSU Golf Course back in 1973.

“They wouldn’t let me go to the fifth hole, and banned me for life for everyone’s good.”

Think rouge

T. Hendry takes note of the fact that the cultures of Baton Rouge and New Orleans have merged to a degree unknown in the past.

Reasons for this merger include the migration from New Orleans to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina, and the fact that the cities now share a common daily newspaper. (Forgive the shameless plug. …)

“So what do we call this new and wonderful culture?” T. Hendry asks.

He provides these suggestions: “Nouvelle Rouge” and “Rouge Orleans.”

Worthy causes

A benefit will be conducted Sunday at Veteran’s Park in Pierre Part for Tessie Cavalier, who has chronic pancreatitis and other illnesses.

There will be live music by several groups from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., jambalaya and white bean plates, a live auction, raffles, etc. Dinner tickets are $7, and donations can be made at Capital One Bank.

Call Barbara Cavalier at (985) 252-2995).

Special People Dept.

Ted Newport, of Shreveport, formerly of Berwick, celebrates his 95th birthday on Thursday. A World War II veteran, he was a P-51 fighter pilot.

Louise Seal “Granny” Watson celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday.

Velma Beadle Dawson and Walter Dawson, of Patterson, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday.

Repeat performances

Carl Enna, of Little Rock, Arkansas, joins our recent word play:

Déjà boo: Going through a haunted house again.

Déjà coup: Repetitive tries to take over a foreign government.

Déjà few: Not many people come here anymore.

Déjà glue: Trying to re-stick something together.

Déjà hue: Seeing that same color again.

Déjà moo: Heard again in Kleinpeter’s pasture.

Déjà view: Watching re-runs of that show.

Déjà who? Reliving the career of Archie Manning.

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.