Keith Horcasitas’ story shows how professionalism in sports can start at a tender age:

“My late daddy always encouraged me in Little League baseball in N’Awlins. We lived Uptown and played ball at Carrollton Boosters behind the majestic Milne Boys Home.

“As an 11-year-old, I was pitching in a game that was a nail-biter and tied.

“Dad held up a $5 bill in the stands as I came off the pitching mound in the ninth inning and was first up to bat.

“After a full count, what a thrill it was to clear that ball over the fence and win the game with my teammates — and the $5 to boot!”

Crawdads? Really?

Kathy Bishop says, “I recently saw a sign at a restaurant in Ruston: ‘Crawdads — 10 lbs. for $30.’ I think maybe they should read Sam Irwin’s book about Louisiana crawfish — or not claim to be a part of the great state of Louisiana!”

Whole lotta digits

“I recently got a very elaborate mailing with a rewards card,” says Marsha R. “Since I do not regularly shop at the department store or pharmacy, nor use the service carrier listed, I did not bother to activate their card.

“This morning I saw this notice on the gas pump: ‘Don’t forget to use your rewards card in order to earn one point per gallon. Simply insert your reward card and enter your 16 digit reward number.’

“I can travel all over the world and get money from any ATM with my debit card and a 4 digit number.

“More and more I find myself quoting my favorite geologist, the late, great Bill Romans: ‘It kinda makes you want to talk to yourself.’”

No dishes for him!

Father Winston Rice, of Covington, says, “I may be among the remaining few who recall that Lea’s Lunch Room began in a Gulf filling station in Cheneyville, some 9.5 miles south of its current site in Lecompte.

“It was there I was first introduced to Mr. Lea and his sandwiches and pies on trips with my father to his work in south Louisiana.

“Even before they moved to Lecompte, Mr. Lea ranged about the premises, exhorting the patrons to try some of ‘my good coffee’ while Mrs. Johnson served at the counter and managed the till.

“After Lea’s moved to Lecompte, my parents were kidding over lunch one day about having no money with which to pay, and all of us having to wash dishes to satisfy our bill.

“This terrified me to the extent that I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I didn’t return, they began a frantic search for me, ultimately finding me cowering under a blanket in the back seat of our car.”

Small World Dept.

Father Rice adds, “While Lea’s was still in Cheneyville, Vince Dino worked there, and often guided my grandmother and her friend Meck Haynes on fishing outings.

“Many years later, when I was a law student at LSU, the bartender at Giamanco’s on Government Street surprised me by telling me my name and hometown.

“Lo and behold, this was the same Vince Dino who remembered me from all those years ago!”

That’s so Kool!

Linda Belleu recalls when roll-your-own cigarettes were fairly common (we’re talking tobacco here):

“My mother’s mother was a seamstress in Lacassine for over 50 years. Every night she would pull out a cigarette roller and a small bottle of menthol breath liquid, and make her husband a pack of cigarettes for him to use the next day.

“She would sit in a rocking car, roll them and put two drops of the mint liquid on the end.”

Kindness of strangers

Ryan tells this story about his beloved Weimaraner “Saban” (he got him as a puppy months before Nick left LSU):

“A few weeks ago, he became very sick and spiraled down fast. I worked with the loyal staff at Azalea Lakes Vet Clinic and Dr. Tara. They did everything possible, but it was just too much.

“I had to make the worst decision to put my Saban down, and decide what to do with his remains.

“Cremation is expensive, and after weeks of trying to bring him back, the bills had accumulated and I just couldn’t afford it. I thought I was going to have to find a place to bury my most loyal friend.

“But when I called Azalea Lakes, Dr. Tara informed me that someone showed up and anonymously paid not only the bills, but the cremation fees as well. I was speechless and in tears!”

Ryan doesn’t know the reason for this generous gesture, but thinks it might be because he’s a Navy veteran.

Special People Dept.

Henry and Gwen Chase celebrated their 50th anniversary on Friday, June 19.

The Divot King

William Myers says about our recent golf stories: “Play golf! I’d rather dig a post hole.”

Actually, when I played the game back in my college days, that was pretty much what I did on every swing...

Contacting Smiley

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.