Emery L. Barnhouse Jr., of Ponchatoula, tells of his days as a 17-year-old Navy recruit in San Diego:

“One day at inspection, the officer who inspected us was 6 feet 5 inches, and when he got to me he looked down (I was 5 feet 9 inches at that time), examining me carefully, looking closely at both sides of my face.

“Then he stood straight up, and as if he was the town crier, he heralded to all in earshot, ‘This man has the hair on his face that he was born with!’ ”

Traveling books

Here’s a “small world” story about books:

Priscilla Compton Freyou, of Baton Rouge, says she grew up in Westlake in a family of readers:

“On Christmas 1962, I received from my parents three books in the Cherry Ames nurse series.

“I grew up, married, had children and moved often due to my husband’s work. I really never gave a thought to those books, until June 14, when I received a text from my son Sean, who lives in Shreveport.

“He sent pictures of the three books, with ‘Property of Priscilla Compton’ written on the inside covers in my 7th-grade handwriting. Excited doesn’t begin to explain how I felt.

“It seems that some time ago my daughter-in-law and her mother bought a box of old books at a garage sale in Minden, and found my books.

“Both my parents are deceased now, and I think the books are their way of saying hello and reminding me to keep reading.”

Reality check

Continuing our critique of old cowboy movies, Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, recalls a “Wonder Dog type film in the ’50s,” in which a villain fired seven times from his six-shooter.

“The studio got a lot of mail pointing out this mistake. It seems the viewers were able to accept a dog that could do math, reason out a problem, race to the fort, bark out a coded message to the cavalry, and lead them back to the damsel in distress, but they wouldn’t stand for an extra bullet in a revolver.”

Miss Moonbeam

“I cherish my years as a teacher at First Assembly Academy in New Orleans in the ’70s,” says Pat Alba, of Metairie. One fond memory is of a senior class ‘Last Will,’ in which their bequest to me was ‘a one-way ticket back to Earth.’

“It is about time for my rebuttal: ‘In retrospect, didn’t you really enjoy the extraterrestrial ride?’?”

Amorous elk?

Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, says, “Mention of an elk hunt in Colorado reminded me of a visit we made to Yellowstone National Park one fall.

“On the way out, we decided to visit Earthquake Lake, formed after an earthquake in the late 1950s.

“We had walked down to the water’s edge when all at once we heard an elk bugle, fairly close.

“I felt the hair rise on my neck and arms. I looked at my husband, Herb, and said, ‘You ready to go?’?”

Keeping on

Dot DeBosier says, “When I attended the 90th birthday of my friend Cotton Lloyd, I asked him if he was still working. He said he only worked half a day: from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. How’s that for endurance?”

Youthful VIP

Sal J. Suer says the upcoming reopening of New Orleans’ Orpheum Theater brought back a memory:

“In my pre-teen years, Uncle Vincent Guarino was the manager of the Orpheum when it showed movies. This was in the ’40s, during World War II.

“My father would give me a ride, and Uncle Vincent would sneak me in. Naturally, I thought I was the ‘big cheese.’ I am happy that the restoration is coming to completion, and once again the magnificent structure will open.”

Special People Dept.

  • Hiram and Ida Arnold celebrated their 65th anniversary on Wednesday.
  • Emile and Anna Mercante celebrate their 65th anniversary on Thursday.

Onward, Scout!

Bob Doughty, of Natchitoches, says about guys who don’t ask directions:

“As I tell my wife, a Scout is never lost as long as he has gas and is moving.”

Thanks a lot, kid

In our “Joy of Teaching” series, Bertha Hinojosa tells of a first-grader who told her, “My momma says you are 85 years old.”

Bertha replied, “Well, when you go home today, you can tell your mother that Mrs. Hinojosa is not 85 years old.” The little girl then replied, “Well, she was close. Right?”

Dead reckoning

“I know we’re supposed to be finished with armadillos,” says Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, who couldn’t resist bringing up this thought:

“I’m not sure what ‘dead as a door nail’ is supposed to mean; but the mental picture of ‘dead as a road-killed armadillo’ leaves no doubt; that critter (or idea) is DEAD.”

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.