Just got this message from Jim Carrigan:

“Smiley, I know a straight shooter like you would not be included in the Liars Contest held here in Columbia, Tennessee, at Mule Day festivities this past weekend.

“Here is the prize winner in the children’s division this year:

“Kaleb Westmoreland told of a Tennessean and Texan comparing their respective states’ animals.

“The Tennessean showed the Texan a Tennessee cow and, of course, the Texan replied everything was bigger in Texas.

“‘A Texas cow would make two of that Tennessee cow,’ he bragged.

“The Tennessean, growing tired of the Texan, finally showed the man a large snapping turtle.

“When the Texan asked what it was, the Tennessean replied, ‘Well, here in Tennessee, we call them ticks!’”

Kid stuff

I’m just wondering why Jim Carrigan (who, by the way, is the brother of a longtime Baton Rouge radio guy, the late Catfish Bill Carrigan) only sent me the winner of the CHILDREN’S division of that Liar’s Contest in Tennessee. Is this a comment on the level of humor in this column? (My spouse says if it is, he’s right.)

The waiting game

Here’s another church collection story, this one from Oneil J. Williams Sr., of Metairie:

“Back in the 1930s at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Destrehan, Shell refinery was the largest employer in the district.

“On the first Sunday after the refinery’s payday, the priest, Father John Basty, would pass the collection basket himself, followed by an altar boy counting the beads for the rosary (the altar boy was me).

“As the priest passed the basket, if he knew that the individual could afford to donate more than what he had placed in it, he would stand there with the basket extended until that person opened up his wallet and placed more money in.

“No one ever refused to dig deeper into their pockets.”

A watch-snake?

Dudley Lehew, of Marrero, says recent mention of the old snake farm on Airline Highway in LaPlace reminded him of this:

“Did you know that when it closed at the end of the day, the entrance door had a sign on it that read, ‘Warning! A poisonous snake has been let loose inside!’

“As a kid, I always worried about the guy who had to open up each morning.”

Simpler times

Al Bethard, of Lafayette, says he’s also old enough to remember unnumbered counter checks, a recent topic here:

“My mother sometimes used them when out shopping if checks from her bank were not available.

“She would take a check from another bank, mark through the bank’s name and write the name of her bank above it.

“Those checks were always accepted by the cashiers.”

Gourmet Corner

Just when I thought our seminar on canned meat was over, along comes Laura Robertson, of Pine Grove, singing the praises of canned corned beef:

“I haven’t fixed it in a long time, but I used to make a brown gravy with onions and sometimes bell pepper, add a can of corned beef (not hash) that was chopped small and let it cook for a few minutes. Not bad. We ate it over mashed potatoes or rice.”

Nice People Dept.

Dee-Dee says, “I want to thank the young man behind me at Whole Foods who kindly began to help me put my items on the line to be checked out, and then also helped load the full bags into my basket while I finished paying for my groceries.

“I walk with a cane, and his help was greatly appreciated.

“He was so nice, and I told him he needed to tell his parents they raised him right!”

Hum into spring

“Hummingbirds are back,” reports Mary Peterson, who says she saw one at her feeder and heard them humming around her yard Monday morning.

The wrongest number

Nobey Benoit adds to our tales of answering machine mishaps:

“Back in my working days, one of the work crews had no one to man the phone while away on jobs, so they used an answering machine.

“The phone number was one digit different from the local hospital, so they often received calls intended for the hospital.

“One Monday morning one of the messages was, ‘Message! Leave a message! Someone could be dying out here!’

“The rest of the message is not fit to print.”

We’re sorry, too

“Sorry about this one,” says Francis Celino, the Metairie Miscreant, before laying this on us:

“If you are in a pickle, dill with it.”

Fools’ paradise

“With all the craziness in Washington,” says Algie Petrere, “I’m surprised that April Fool’s Day isn’t a federal holiday.”

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.