Robbie Harrison, of Watson, says, “I am not a theologian, but I do believe that Mississippi State being ranked No. 1 in the college football polls may fulfill this prophecy, in Luke 21-25:

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.”

Up on the roof

Lawrence Wade, M.D., recalls a long-ago friend:

“Twenty years ago, I was on the roof of a Habitat for Humanity house, alongside 80-plus-years-old Ari Marrioneaux, nailing down roofing shingles.

“I would stand up, move a half step to my left, groan, stoop, and take at least five hammer-strokes to drive home a single roofing nail.

“Old Ari was moving along like a machine — rap-rap, two strokes of his hammer and the nail went home, and Ari already had the next one in his nimble fingers, ready to be delivered, moving at three times my speed.

“I had tried to do some roofing work in the summer between college and med school; I knew that this was not, so to speak, my calling in life.

“Ari also recognized this fact.

“He told me about his first job, on the roof of one of two brick apartment houses just outside the south gate of LSU.

“Today I went for a long walk. I passed along that way, and saw that someone had demolished and removed those buildings. It’s as if they were never there.

“I’m sure that by now Ari Marrioneaux, like those buildings, is no longer with us.

“But he was one sweet human being. Across racial boundaries, age boundaries, and all other cultural boundaries; it was as if there were no such thing as boundaries on that roof long ago.”

That’s entertainment

Tommy Watts says, “I can’t let mention of sportscasters pass without recognition of the entertainment provided by Monday Night Football’s “Frank, Don and Howard.” I usually enjoyed them more than the game.

Some of Don Meredith’s digs at Howard Cosell were collectibles.

“One time a streaker ran across the field during a game, prompting Howard to rant on and on about the offender’s heinous and disrespectful action. Don responded with his usual, ‘Aw Howard,’ saying the guy just had to go to the bathroom and the ones on his side of the stadium were full.

“Then there was the time Howard noted a coach on the sidelines lecturing his players while using cards or diagrams.

“Howard commenced outlining how coaches explain strategy and the finer points of the game during the heat of battle, when there was another ‘Aw Howard.’

“Don explained that the coach was just using flash cards to test the players’ ability to recognize their opponent’s formations, like using flash cards with pictures during World War II to teach our pilots to recognize enemy planes.”

Smart talk

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says, “Talk of Tulane football reminded me of an arrangement that I seemed to be the only person interested in.

“As colleges began to switch conferences, I had hoped we might see the creation of a ‘Southern Ivy League.’

“It could include Tulane, Rice, Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgia Tech and Stetson.

“Back then I thought it might be a good fit for Baylor and TCU, but they have gone big-time.

“My old Times-Picayune sports section friend Bob Fortus said such a league wouldn’t need overtime to settle tie scores — it could be decided by a complicated history question or a difficult mathematics equation.”

A moving story

Judy Averett says the suggestion by a reader that motorists move up at gas pumps to leave room behind them for other drivers presents “musical pumps” problems.

She presents this scenario:

“A customer is pumping gas at the front pump when you pull up to the vacant spot next in line.

“When the customer in front leaves, creating an empty space in front of you, now you are the inconsiderate customer causing the next customer to have to drive around to get to the front pump.

“Sometimes it’s better to just accept small annoyances...”

Special People Dept.

Vivian Mullett Hebbler, of Pearl River, celebrates her 100th birthday on Thursday, Oct. 16. She is a native of Donaldsonville.

Don Louis Broussard, of Lafayette, celebrated his 95th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel with service in World War II and the Korean conflict.

Point blank

Ronnie Hotz, of Lafayette, has a memory of the LSU-Tulane football rivalry:

“I was in the National Guard amongst a bevy of Greenie fans, and tiring of listening to all the braggadocio, I took LSU and gave 50 points on a $50 bet.

“I was the laughing stock of Jackson Barracks.

“Of course, I was not popular after the 62-zip score.”

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.