Wayne Turner, of Baton Rouge, offers a timely war story:

“The approach of the 70th anniversary of VJ Day brings to mind a story that my Uncle Rhine Bordelon of Bunkie told me about his World War II exploits.

“After spending three years serving with a coastal battery that successfully defended the Esso refinery in Channelview, Texas, from enemy attack, he received orders for Europe.

“He took a train from Houston to New York, boarded a ship to Antwerp, Belgium, then a transport to Germany. Before he disembarked, Germany surrendered.

“After a short period, he re-boarded a train to Antwerp, then a boat to New York, then a train to the West Coast, and finally a boat to the Philippines. Obviously after hearing that he was on the way, the Japanese surrendered.

“He claimed to have ended two wars without firing a shot.”

The winner!

Smiley’s Poetry Contest is officially over, and the distinguished panel of judges has selected a winner. It’s a poem that hasn’t yet run in the column.

The judges said it reflects a fact about the people of Louisiana — we recognize all its problems, but still prefer to live in this state, warts and all, and try to make it better:

“Even though we gripe about

The heat, the storms, the rain,

Traffic, crime, and politics,

Our constant brain drain,

There’s a lot to like about living here,

So we choose to remain.”

Congratulations, Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville. You’re the winner of a Pastime po-boy and root beer with me at a time of your choosing. Good news: I’ve checked with my expense account people, and you can even bring a guest — if you promise to split an order of fries.

Danny and Katrina

For years my favorite French Quarter bar was O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel Pub, where you could listen to the Irish songs and stories of Danny O’Flaherty while quaffing a pint of Guinness.

After Hurricane Katrina, the pub became a pleasant memory, and Danny, after 30 years in New Orleans, wound up in Jasper, Texas.

Danny returned to this area to perform at Baton Rouge’s Irish Film Festival. And on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Deutsches Haus in Metairie, he’ll present songs about his evacuation from New Orleans in the days following Katrina. The show starts at 7 p.m. Email danny@dannyoflaherty.com.

Looking for stuff

Lauren Davis says, “In preparation for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit ‘Pools, Patios, and the Invention of the American Backyard’ this fall, the Old State Capitol Museum is looking for images of Louisiana families enjoying their backyards, pools, gardens and patios from the late 1940s to early 1960s.”

Email lauren.davis@sos.la.gov. She will need to scan the photos or receive digital images before Sept. 7.

Special People Dept.

— Elaine Maurin “Aunt T” Delaneuville, of Reserve, celebrates her 100th birthday on Friday, Aug. 14.

— John D. Schwab’s 100th birthday will be celebrated on Sunday, Aug. 16. His actual birthday is Monday, Aug. 17.

— John E. Coxe Sr., of Walker, celebrated his 94th birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 12. He is a World War II veteran, an Army (Infantry) captain having served in Europe.

— Gretchen Thomas, of River Ridge, celebrates her 94th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 15.

— Richard Slaton, of Crescent City, Florida, formerly of Baton Rouge (and Istrouma High), celebrated his 92nd birthday on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

— On Saturday, Aug. 15, Velma Staples celebrates her 92nd birthday. During World War II she met the trains bringing home wounded soldiers to Harmon General Hospital in Longview, Texas.

— Margaret Chachati, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday on Sunday, Aug. 16. She is originally from White Castle.

— On Thursday, Aug. 13, Beatrice “Gig” Leonards, of Eunice, celebrated her 90th birthday at Oak Lane Rehab Center.

— Buddy and Dottie Lieux, of Baton Rouge, celebrate 70 years of marriage on Friday, Aug. 14.

— On Friday, Aug. 14, Sharkey Vance Chaney and Marie “Zu” Chaney celebrate 70 years of marriage.

— Ken and Vicki Taylor, longtime Baton Rouge residents now in Daphne, Alabama, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 14.

— Felicia and Leatus Still celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 14. He’s a former Advocate photographer.

— Nick and Loretta Carrier, of Napoleonville, celebrate 50 years of marriage on Friday, Aug. 14.

Calling Huey

This poem by Hoodlum Hodges (“With apologies to Edgar Allen Poe”) didn’t win our poetry contest, but I like the sentiment:

“Once upon an election season dreary

As I pondered, weak and weary,

Who to vote for?

Was my query.

They’re all so bland!

And unqualified!

Maybe I’ll vote for somebody

Who’s already died!”

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.