LaNell Hilborn, of Pineville, tells of buying her first computer years ago:

“It came with a book on ‘directions for use.’

“Every time I sat down in front of that computer I hit a wrong key and tied everything up. I either lost whatever I was trying to do or just lost the whole image on the screen completely.

“There was a young man in the neighborhood who had a day job, but would come to your house and work on your computer in the evening.

“One year he ran for mayor of Pineville. He didn’t win the election, but I campaigned for him.

“I thought it would be neat to tell people that when I had computer problems I just called the mayor!”

Wrenching experience

Malcolm Wright says our unusual door handle contest reminds him of this tale:

“I once had a business trip to Pecos, Texas, to visit an automotive testing track. To get there I flew to Midland-Odessa and rented a car for the 85-mile drive. (Called a “short piece” in Texas.)

“My host in Pecos was a happy, ebullient character determined to show me the best of the area.

“He took me to a restaurant that served the ‘best chicken-fried steak in Texas,’ and during our meal drew a map on a napkin of how to get to the ‘best steak restaurant in Midland-Odessa.’

“He said the restaurant was built in an abandoned oil tank — the doors were cut out with torches, hinges were welded on one side and door handles were crescent wrenches welded opposite the hinges.

“But on return to Midland-Odessa I didn’t have time to find the oil-tank restaurant...”

Labor saving

One more belated Easter story:

T. Med Hogg says, “Several years ago, when our children were young, we had an Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

We hid dyed eggs and invited neighborhood children over for the occasion.

We noticed one little girl following our youngest daughter, Trudy, taking eggs from Trudy’s basket and putting them in her own basket.

“I guess that was easier than finding them herself.”

More cheap eats

After we waxed nostalgic about the inexpensive food choices in the LSU area in the ’50s, I heard from others with similar recollections:

Anne Johnston says, “Speaking of cheap and wonderful eats — when my late husband, Jim, worked at night for the Morning Advocate back in the 1950s, I would order my supper from the Cotton Club.

“For $1.25 you would get a dozen fried shrimp, potato salad and buttered toast. All this and they delivered it to your door. Those definitely were the good old days.”

S.A. Oats has a tale of even cheaper food:

“In 1937-38, at the corner of Johnson and Dumaine streets here in New Orleans, there was an all-boys school, Benjamin Franklin, for first- through seventh-grade students.

“On the south side of Dumaine there was a small store. Smart students with a nickel each would buddy up and get lunch — five cents for French bread and five cents for bananas or ham.

“The store owner would put butter on the bread at no cost, cut the loaf in half and slice the bananas or ham. Sometimes he would sprinkle sugar on the bananas for free.

“For a nickel each you had two full little guys.”

Which reminds me

As I’ve mentioned before, a guy who grew up in New Orleans in the late ’40s and early ’50s told me the cheapest po-boy on the menu was usually French fries and brown gravy.

He said back then it cost a quarter, which may have included a Barq’s longneck root beer.

I found this po-boy on the menu at Rocco’s on Drusilla in Baton Rouge, but have not had the courage to try it.

I suppose you have to be young and poor — and I’m not young...

Happy returns

Jennifer Smith, of Zachary, says, “On Easter my daughter Chelsea went to WalMart in Zachary and lost her wallet.

“About an hour later the doorbell rang. A gentleman said his 80-year-old grandmother found it and did not want to turn it in to the store.

“This gentleman came out in the pouring rain to hand deliver it to my daughter.

“She was in shock and did not get his name. We want to thank him and his grandmother from the bottoms of our hearts.”

Special People Dept.

Mable Mccandless celebrated her 93rd birthday on Tuesday, April 7.

Tall tale

“I grew up in England, where soccer is a favorite sport,” says Julia A. Ledbetter, of Abita Springs:

“My mother persuaded my father to take her to a soccer match.

“When a player kicked to score, but missed, my mother shouted in a loud voice, ‘What a pity the goal wasn’t higher.’

“That was my mother’s last soccer game!”

Contact 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.