To remind me (and possibly you) of the emotions we shared at that time, here’s part of a column dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, from Sept. 8, 2005, titled, “Finally, tears for a beloved old town:”

“A week after the storm, my wife finally cried.

“She had been busy around the house, cooking and making room for our visitors from New Orleans.

“She’d been talking to friends in other states wanting to know how we were doing.

“She’d been watching TV pretty much nonstop, seeing the news go from bad to worse to unbelievable...

“But she hadn’t cried.

“‘I can’t,’ she said. ‘It’s too immense. The suffering is just too great. It overwhelms me.’

“Finally, though, the tears came.

“They came when the vast scope of the desolation was narrowed down, in the way you look through the wrong end of a telescope, and focused on one individual. In this case it was her sister.

“For years her sister and brother-in-law have devoted their lives to promoting New Orleans, pointing out its virtues and attractions to tourists and would-be tourists. They’re quintessential New Orleanians, living in the French Quarter...

“When she heard her heartbroken sister sobbing over the phone, the tears started flowing.

“‘She never cries,’ she said of her sister. ‘She’s always been so strong...’

“Finally my wife dried her tears, and even laughed a little as we recalled some of the silly things we’d done in that fine old city.

“It’ll be many days, and there’ll be many more tears, before we laugh there again.”

See Willie run

Tookie Hendry says he recently stumbled across a 1988 autobiography of Willie Nelson in a used-book store.

In it Willie’s long-time manager, Mack Rothbaum, tells this story:

“Willie and I were at a hotel in Baton Rouge on the evening of a concert... . We could see the coliseum in a straight line from our windows. Looked like it was just right over there. So we decided we would run to the concert.

“Willie and I took off running through Baton Rouge after dark... . After we had run ten miles, we decided we were totally lost. The gig was starting, and we had no idea where we were.

“Willie said, ‘I’ll just go up to that house and knock on the door and ask for help.’

“I said, ‘You can’t knock on some stranger’s door.’

“He said, ‘I ain’t a stranger. I’m Willie Nelson.’

“A mother and her teenage kids invited us in, gave us a beer, and drove us to the concert. They came on in with us to see the show.

“Usually when Willie brings in guests, he says, ‘They’re with me.’ This time he said, ‘I’m with them.’”

Artillery vs. armadillos

Larry Sylvester brings our seminar on armadillos to a welcome finish:

“Many years ago I would occasionally spend a few summer days with an aunt and uncle who lived in a rural area outside of Lake Charles.

“Uncle Ben worked very hard on his backyard garden, and did not relish the idea of sharing his veggies with armadillos or other pests who came looking for midnight snacks.

“His preferred deterrent was the shotgun he kept next to the back door.

“I will argue that it was the noise of the shotgun that scared pests away (so that I can claim that no animals were harmed in the making of this column item).”

Public service

Marvin Borgmeyer says years ago Brother Eldon Crifasi, realizing what a shame it would be if the TV cameras showed empty seats in the suites and clubs of Tiger Stadium during LSU football games, offered to do something about it:

“At 93, he is once again willing to attend any LSU game and help cheer on the Tigers. He is partial to the Tiger Den Suites, but is almost as comfortable in any of the Stadium Clubs.

“If anyone would like the pleasure of having Brother Eldon (and me, his driver!) sit with them, please give me a call at (225) 769-0002. Offers will be accepted in the order in which they are received.”

Special People Dept.

— Ivory Boatner, of St. Clare Manor, celebrates her 101st birthday on Thursday, Aug. 27, with a 3 p.m. party.

— Joy and Bryan Brabston, formerly of Zachary, now of Vicksburg, Mississippi, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Two antiques

Fiddling Doc Chaney says, “I read that the ‘antique’ Coca-Cola sign on Third Street will be lighted again.

“It also mentions that the sign is ‘more than 50 years old.’

“I was 11 when the sign went up. I guess that means I am an official ‘antique.’”

Strange behavior

T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, says, “Imagine if EVERYONE was cheerful, smiling, agreeable and never argued about ANYTHING. Wouldn’t we all get VERY suspicious? Think about it.”

Contacting 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.