Dear Smiley: After reading the “left behind” stories, I recalled one of my own, about 35 years ago.
After picking up my sons and friends from football practice, we headed for the Pizza Hut with my sister-in-law and her kids.
After arriving and ordering, I put my 2-month-old baby, in an infant seat, next to me on the floor.
We had a great time, but when I was about to leave the parking lot, I told my sister-in-law I had a funny feeling I forgot something.
She screamed, “We forgot the doggie bag of leftover pizza!”
Then one of my sons said, “Mom, where is the baby?”
When I ran inside, the baby was on the counter with three employees, and they were about to call the police.
I was so embarrassed, I just lost it, and started yelling, “I am raising four sons, which sometimes become 10; their friends almost live at my house! I cook and clean, bring them to football, baseball, basketball practice just about every day! We have six cats, two dogs and a raccoon!”
They just looked at me until one employees said, “I’m so sorry, miss, here is your baby and your leftover pizza.”
The baby, as it turns out, hates pizza to this day!
Dear Smiley: When son Layne was 10, he traveled with Buddy and me to San Francisco on our summer vacation. On our trip home, we stopped for gas at a station in San Diego.
Layne, lying on the back seat of the car, covered with a blanket from head to toe, adamantly stated that he was not getting out of the car for a “pit stop.”
Exactly eight miles later, Layne’s non-response to my question freaked out Buddy and me as we realized the backseat held only an empty blanket.
Frantic, Buddy broke all speed limits driving back to the gas station.
When we arrived, the attendant greeted us with a smile and said, “Your son told us not to worry; you’d be back. He’s sitting in the manager’s office drinking a Coke, eating peanuts and watching TV.”
A month later a package addressed to Layne arrived in the mail: a carton of Planter’s Peanuts. Layne had written a letter telling Planters the peanuts he’d eaten in San Diego were stale!
Banker with a heart
I began my career at City National while a senior at LSU, and remained there after graduation.
Although the loan requested by Mother Alice was granted prior to my joining the bank, it was part of the Lewis Gottlieb-Mother Alice lore which continued for several decades.
Not only did he approve her request for a loan to build the school on Broussard Street, but his many generous contributions to the school during the ensuing years made the loan amortization much easier.
In addition, Mr. Gottlieb financially assisted students, several of whom had no parents (and who lived in St. Joseph campus housing facilities) or whose families could not afford the cost, to attend the school. Upon graduation, several were employed by City National Bank.
The tough, gruff exterior of this very decent man masked a generous and caring soul.
Dear Smiley: When I was a child in Algiers, my father came up with an innovative solution to a “little” door handle problem.
My two younger sisters and I were old enough to play outside, but not yet tall enough to reach the handle on our back screen door, so my mother found herself doing lots of running back and forth to answer the call, “Momma, let me in!”
My daddy nailed an empty wooden spool to the screen door frame at the perfect level for three little girls to be able to open it themselves. A special little doorknob, just for us! It may not have been the fanciest door handle, but it was the sweetest.
It remained long after we had grown tall enough the reach the regular handle ... in fact, until the old wooden screen door was replaced with an aluminum update, which surely lacked the charm of the old wooden version, complete with its dad-installed, mom-approved child-sized wooden spool handle.
MARGARET DUBUISSON BLITCH
Those Louisiana names
Dear Smiley: My sister-in-law referred me to a clinic, and told me to ask for Dr. Couvillion. I called the clinic, but there was no Dr. Couvillion.
When I asked my sister-in-law about the doctor’s name again, she said, “Oh, I’m not sure. It’s either Couvillion or Schexnayder. But I know the doctor’s first name is Danielle.”
I called the clinic again, and asked if they had a doctor whose first name was Danielle. They said, “Oh yes, that’s Danielle Gautreaux.”
Smiley, I can see possibly getting two French names mixed up, but I wonder how Schexnayder got in there ... because of the “x”?
JOEL d’AQUIN THIBODEAUX
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.