Cleveland Bailey Sr. tells this cautionary tale:

“The late Rev. T.J. Jemison, pastor of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church here in Baton Rouge, learned that one of his senior deaconesses had made a birthday.

“After a Wednesday evening Bible study session, he innocently said to her, ‘Sister Jones, I understand you just made a birthday. How old are you, darling?’

“This was her reply: ‘Well, Reverend Jemison, I’ll tell you like this. I am one year older this year than I was last year.’

“He said he learned that day never to ask a lady her age.”

(Here endeth the lesson...)

Which reminds me

At some organization’s luncheon many years ago, I was in the buffet line behind the above-mentioned Rev. Jemison.

I saw him checking out the entrees, and remarked, “That fried chicken looks good, Reverend.”

He smiled and shook his head:

“No, I’m a Baptist preacher. We get plenty of fried chicken when we’re invited into homes for Sunday dinner!”

Remembering Lester

I was saddened to hear of the death of long-time column contributor Lester Jay, of New Iberia, at the age of 90.

I always looked forward to his tales, often about his beloved Texas A&M Aggies, and enjoyed meeting him on several occasions when I visited New Iberia.

His daughter Judy Jay Green told me this about Lester:

“He loved telling the story of how once (I think it was in the ’60s) on a Sunday after church, our little family was seated in a restaurant.

“Of course, we were all in our Sunday finery — our mom always dressed us girls up for everything.

“Daddy told of a gentleman on his way out who stopped by the table, looked at Mama and my sister Sally and me, then looked at Daddy and said, ‘How did YOU get so lucky?’

“We think we are the lucky ones, to have called this sweet and genuine and precious man our Daddy.”

One more time

Here’s one of Lester Jay’s last stories to me, about scoring a hole-in-one without using a golf ball:

“After completing our round of golf, I started home.

“Just before I reached the gate, I scratched my right ear. There was no hearing aid!

“I immediately wheeled around and returned to the clubhouse, informing the pro I had lost a hearing aid, and to call if anyone found it.

“The next morning I went back to the clubhouse, planning to retrace my shots and look for the hearing aid.

“Upon entering, I was handed an envelope containing my hearing aid!

“It was found on a green in the cup, marking the second hole-in-one in my career!

“You could call it a ‘Miracle Ear’!”

Hide and seek

In our Inquiring Minds Dept., B. Raymond, of Baton Rouge, asks this question:

“Why are expiration dates or ‘use by’ dates so difficult to find on so many products?”

Drop your clothes!

Elise Blewster asks you to clean out your closets for Friends of the LSU Textile & Costume Museum. Donate vintage, new, and gently worn clothing (on hangers) and accessories at LSU’s Human Ecology Building on Sunday, June 14, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mignon Faget in Towne Center also accepts donations. The group’s Closet Sale is Oct. 10.

Special People Dept.

— Audrey and Lloyd Schroeder, of Gonzales and formerly of Harahan, celebrate 69 years of marriage on Thursday, June 11.

— Conrad and Beverly Joffrion, of Plaquemine, celebrate their 54th anniversary on Thursday, June 11.

Just checking

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, says he heard this “Charlie-ism” from his friend Charlie Carmichael, of Opelousas:

“I don’t trip over things; I do random gravity checks.”

Cool grandma

Algie Petrere says, “For years when our great-grandson, John, would spend the night, he and I would sit on the bed and read books or watch a movie before bedtime.

“I recently purchased a new Kindle, so I gave my original one to John to play games at our house.

“He spent the night recently, and we were sitting on the bed. John was playing a game on his Kindle and I was showing him a game that came on mine.

“He looked at me and said, ‘GG, both of us sitting here playing games together on our Kindles is fun!’

“My, how times change!”

Better together

Ina G. Navarre says daughter Lynette has a question about the flood of television commercials “touting the value and success of certain pharmaceuticals for improved interpersonal relationships.

“After watching one of these commercials yet again, Lynette asked me, ‘Mom, if this drug works so well, why is the couple in separate bathtubs?’”

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.