Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, recalls the gas shortage days in the late ’60s-early ’70s:

“People would be lined up around the block to fill their tanks, and sometimes the station would run out before you got your turn. Some stations posted a $5 minimum purchase to keep people from ‘topping off’ a nearly full tank.

“I rolled into such a station on an empty tank, with only $3 in cash and no credit card. The attendant didn’t want to sell me $3 worth, even though I explained my situation.

“I had a car full of children, no gas and a really mean gas station attendant!

“Another customer heard this discussion and gave me the $2 so I could get the dang $5 minimum. Then the attendant tried to give me only $3 worth of gas, because, ‘That is what I had said I wanted.’

“My good Samaritan had to threaten him with bodily harm before the mean attendant fed my car the $5 worth!

“Meanwhile, I had used the pay phone to call my husband, two blocks away, working for the Melbourne, Florida, Times.

“A reporter and photographer from the Times rolled into the gas station to interview the attendant about his rotten treatment of this ‘helpless mother.’

“The good Samaritan served as a witness. The attendant tried to backpedal, but the story ran in the next day’s paper.

“Folks need to watch who they try to push around, the pen being mightier than the sword and all that.”

Initial reaction

Mike Blouin says, “In the midst of the World Cup tournament, I made a voice inquiry to Siri on my iPad.

“In answer to ‘What is FIFA?,’ Siri’s response was ‘Michael, watch your language!’ ”

Uneasy rider

Tom Boone, of Gonzales, recalls the famous Donaldsonville hitchhiker who rode only in air-conditioned vehicles:

“Being from the metropolis of White Castle, I encountered the hitchhiker from Donaldsonville several times on La. 1.

“Once I saw him hitching a ride when I was on my motorcycle. I thought for a lark I would offer him a ride. Much to my surprise he hopped on.

“I thought I would give him a thrill and took off really fast. Instead of holding on tight he reached around me and grabbed the handlebars, opening the throttle even more.

“It was definitely a YouTube moment. When I got the bike back under control, the rest of the ride was at a leisurely pace.

“I don’t know if he got a thrill out of the ride, but I sure did.”

Language Complaint Dept.

  • Stephen Winham, of St. Francisville, objects to “the way ‘munch’ is used synonymously with ‘chew’ or ‘eat.’

“I always thought ‘munch’ was a great word with a particular usage — eating food that crunches when you chew it.

“You can munch a slice of watermelon, but you can’t munch an egg salad sandwich (unless it’s on toast). You can munch potato chips, but not Jell-O.

“I mourn the loss of a unique usage for what, to me, is a great word.”

Ann LeBlanc, of Gonzales, says, “I have heard people refer to an electric shock survivor as being ‘electrocuted.’

“If a person was electrocuted, he is no longer alive.”

Where there’s smoke …

… there’s Le Festival de la Viande Boucanée, Ville Platte’s Smoked Meat Festival.

The 22nd annual festival is Friday and Saturday at Ville Platte Civic Center, with judging of smoked meats at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

It was started by the Vietnam Veterans of America to build community spirit and raise funds for worthy projects.

Judges are chefs, food industry folks, Extension Service specialists and media types, including Lady Katherine Anders and her spouse.

Special People Dept.

  • Dorothy S. Mello, of Fall River, Massachusetts, celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday. Her son Andrew, who worked at DSM Copolymer plants in Baton Rouge and Addis, says seeing her name here will be “icing on her cake.”
  • On Thursday, Betty and Glen Singleton celebrate their 66th anniversary. He is a World War II veteran.

    Bob and Jodie Crawford celebrated their 62nd anniversary on May 30.

Poor but proud

Dave Grouchy, of Covington, points out that Poverty Point, just named a UNESCO world heritage site, is in north Louisiana, “and not, as has been suggested, on Plum Broque Drive in Baton Rouge.”

The hole truth

Richard Guidry, of Zachary, gives us what seems to be a recycled Aggie joke:

Two guys come across a big hole and wonder how deep it is, so they pick up a rock and throw it in.

They don’t hear anything, so they pick up an old transmission and throw it in. They listen, but still don’t hear anything.

Then they see a goat running at them full speed, and it jumps into the hole.

A moment later, a farmer runs up to them and asks, “Have you seen my goat?”

They say, “Well, we saw a goat jump into this hole.”

The farmer says, “Well, that could not be my goat — my goat was tied to a transmission.”

Write He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.