Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, tells an Independence Day story about an independent thinker:

“Her daughter’s first-grade teacher summoned my sister, Barbara.

“It seemed my niece, Carrie, was refusing to join the class in the Pledge of Allegiance.

“When Barbara questioned her about this, Carrie fiercely declared that a ‘fledge’ was a very serious promise, and that since she didn’t understand one word of what was being said, she wasn’t going to be ‘fledging.’

“So Barbara got out a map of the United States and a flag. They counted up all the states and then all the stars, and Barbara explained the big words.

“The next day Carrie proudly stood with the rest of her class, hand on her honest little heart, and said her ‘fledge.’ ”

Timely message

Jeanette Gatzman says, “Baton Rouge Duplicating Products on Coursey always has a nice saying on their sign.

“The Fourth of July message on the sign is really inspiring:


Names we should know

Francis Celino, of Metairie, says everyone knows these celebrity names, and the questionable behavior associated with them:

Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Kim Kardashian.

But few people know these names:

Justin Allen, Brett Linley, Matthew Weikert, Justus Bartett, Dave Santos, Jesse Reed, Matthew Johnson, Zachary Fisher, Brandon King, Christopher Goeke, Sheldon Tate.

The latter names, says Francis, belong to “Marines who gave their lives last month for you. Honor them.”

Home-grown hero

Jim Jeansonne says talk about a statue for LSU basketball great Pete Maravich led to this thought:

“They took Gen. Claire Chennault’s statue from the Capitol grounds and replaced it with a parking lot.

“He was Louisiana’s World War II hero who created and led the Flying Tigers in China.

“They downed many Japanese planes over China and also flew ‘The Hump’ 20,000 feet over the Himalayas, carrying supplies.

“The sculpture was donated to Louisiana by China in gratitude for what Gen. Chennault and his men did and should be taken out of mothballs and put in the middle of the Parade Ground at LSU where it belongs.”

Beat the bus

Anne Bosche, formerly of Metairie and “since Katrina” a Gonzales resident, says in the ’80s her VFW post in Harahan made a trip to the Veterans’ Hospital in Jackson for a Sunday Christmas party:

“The trip from Harahan put us at the Piccadilly on Third Street in Baton Rouge for lunch.

“When the bus pulled up in the parking area, we could see a number of cars coming in and parking.

“The people would get out and RUN for the entrance, to get in the serving line before our busload entered.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but it is clear to me now; we had tangled with the ‘Sunday Lunch Bunch’ from neighboring churches.”

Mr. Unimpressed

Soccer fever seems to have infected sports fans in south Louisiana, due to the unusual success of the American team.

But Tom Toddy’s note indicates that not everyone has caught the fever:

“After the U.S.-Belgium soccer match, a national news program reported that the match was ‘exciting.’

“I guess I must have dozed off during the game, because I missed all the excitement!”

Shocking observation

Michael Eldred says he’s followed with interest our discussion of word usage:

“With Ann LeBlanc’s observation on the use of ‘electrocuted’ (it applies only to a death by electricity), I have come to the conclusion that no one has died from elocution.”

(Maybe not, but sometimes it has felt like slow death …)

Special People Dept.

  • Leon Minvielle Jr., of New Iberia, celebrates his 97th birthday on July 4. He is a World War II Army veteran, with the 7th Armored Division.
  • Phoebe “Aunt Juanita” Fairly celebrates her 92nd birthday on Sunday, July 6.

    Harold and Noralee Patton, of Central, celebrate 61 years of marriage on Saturday, July 5.

    Ernie and Jan Wall celebrate their 57th anniversary on Saturday, July 5. Ernie, as an LSU track star, was known as “The Kentwood Kangaroo.”

    Delery and Sandra Davis, of Central, celebrated their 50th anniversary on Thursday, July 3.

Thought for the Day

From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “A good turn gathers most of the covers.”

No longer cool

Sue Sperry, of Metairie, suggests a new seminar topic: “You know you’re old when …”

For example, “You know you’re old when ‘The Fonz’ is doing ads for reverse mortgages.”

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.