Like a lot of other folks, I find that wearing LSU gear outside Louisiana is a great way to meet people who used to live here, know someone from here, or just want to comment on the Tigers.

(One lady I met in a bar next to Wrigley Field after a Cubs game thought I was a Minnesota Vikings fan, but she bought me an Old Style after she realized her mistake.)

Mike Jastram says this about wearing LSU gear: “I am the owner of a local manufacturing company. In 1993, I received an order to make 100,000 custom straps. With primarily part-time workers to make our straps, I decided to hire a full-time strap maker.

“When interviews began, we had 10 people show up. I spoke with them as my wife Pam listened.

“After all interviews were completed, I asked my wife who she liked best. Without hesitation, she informed me, ‘The guy in the LSU shirt.’ My response was, ‘That’s as good as any reason I have heard for hiring anyone.’

“We hired Gary Barbier that week, and he is still working for us.

“One thing we didn’t know about Gary then is that he wears LSU shirts seven days a week. To church, weddings, funerals; even on his way to the hospital for open-heart surgery. (I know because I drove him there.)

“All I can say is, ‘It pays to wear an LSU shirt.’”

Visiting a friend

Shane Sarradet says our story about New Orleans bar owner Danny O’Flaherty winding up in Texas after Hurricane Katrina “reminded me of when we went to the wine country of Fredericksburg, Texas, last fall to take in a little of our neighboring state’s beauty and burgundy-colored beverages.

“We took a slight detour to the Old Coupland Inn and Dance Hall in Coupland, Texas. The owner, Mrs. Barbara, is originally from Addis. She gave us a tour of the place, and then brought us to see a grand old friend. When we entered the saloon, there she stood, all cleaned up and ready to serve customers that night. She looked better than she did last time we saw her. My brother, my two sisters and I, along with our spouses, had ice-cold beers at the beautiful 100-year-old bar that once served patrons at Mutt’s Bar in Brusly. No beer ever tasted so good.”

Turning point

Gene Duke tells this story on Jimmy Varnado, who confirms that it is more or less true:

“One morning year ago, after the night shift, Jimmy made his daily trip to the Morning Advocate to get an early copy of the classified ads. Finding a 1938 model car advertised, he called at 6 a.m. and agreed to meet the owner and check out the vehicle.

“They met at a building with a large parking lot around it. The car’s owner said he had to drive because of insurance. They circled the lot clockwise several times, and a deal was struck.

“The next day they met at the lawyer’s office and closed the deal. Jimmy stayed a few minutes talking to the lawyer, and then went to his car. To his surprise, it would only turn right.”

(Jimmy says since he paid only $200 for the car, he wasn’t all that upset...)

Pastalaya, anyone?

The Baton Rouge Area Alcohol and Drug Center (BRAADC) has a fundraiser on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 216 S. Foster Drive, across from Baton Rouge Community College. Pastalaya lunches are $10.

Special People Dept.

— Bernice Evans, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

— Whitty Dawson, of North Point Healthcare Center in Baton Rouge, celebrates his 97th birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

— Kenneth V. Ward celebrates his 96th birthday on Thursday, Aug. 20. He is a World War II veteran and a native of New Orleans.

— T. Ellis Peak celebrates his 91st birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 19. He is a Navy veteran of World War II and Korea. A avid golfer, he regularly shoots his age at Baton Rouge Country Club.

— Amie LeBlanc Landry and Edmond Landry Jr. celebrate their 65th anniversary on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at a family gathering in Lakeland.

— Sprague and Pat Courtade Pugh, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 20.

The Skip Show

LSU baseball fan Jamie Smith was in Omaha for the College World Series, and was pleased to see former coach and athletic director Skip Bertman in the stands. Jamie tells how big a Bertman fan he is:

“While driving to work. I happened to notice a billboard with large letters announcing ‘Skip the Drama.’

“My first thought was that someone had written a book about him. After putting on my glasses and reading the small print, I realized that wasn’t the case. Guess I’ll have to wait for ‘Skip the Musical.’”

Think tropical

Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, says, “I put on a white shirt this morning and thought of the old adage that says you’re not supposed to wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.

“That doesn’t work in our neck of the woods. It’s more like before Valentine’s Day and after Halloween.”

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.