Thanks to Jacqueline Pressner Gothard, of Metairie, for this Carnival time trip:

“Pressner’s Carnival Mart, back in the 1960s, was my parents’ business, on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie, across from Clearview Shopping Center.

“Ralph and Etta Pressner had a thriving store, selling beads, trinkets, small rubber balls; a variety of throws tossed from the floats.

“Today, the throws are primarily beads. In those days, there were ‘specialty catches,’ particularly doubloons, glass beads and small stuffed dolls and animals.

“Every spring, after Carnival season, Ralph would travel to China, where he had developed a business and friendly relationship with a company that designed and manufactured doubloons for his store.

“He also got permission from the U.S. government and Russia to travel into Czechoslovakia, which was then behind the Iron Curtain.

“There he had glass beads made to order; a really special catch.”

She says the days of glass beads are gone, but “Carnival parade crowds are just as eager, and Mardi Gras is still our New Orleans’ unique celebration for the masses!”

Revolutionary idea

T. Med Hogg, of Baton Rouge, offers this thought:

“I cannot understand why on Mardi Gras you build such beautiful theme floats and all anyone is interested in is catching cheap beads and hollering, ‘Throw me something, mister!’”

What, just stand back and admire the floats? Has that ever occurred to anybody before?

Conservation attempt

After Russ Wise, of LaPlace, mentioned on Facebook our story about drivers who don’t bother with headlights after dark, Frank E. Fagot had this comment:

“The way people drive without headlights, even when it’s dark, makes me think they have the idea if they turn on their lights, their energy bill will go up.”

Armed and thirsty

Our story of the fisherman stranded with beer but no “church key” in pre-pop top days inspired George Black to share this story:

“Fishing with a friend, we too had forgotten our beverage opener.

“Needing refreshment on a hot day, we solved the problem by shooting a hole near the top of the can with a .22 pistol.

“We lost some beverage, but saved enough to save the day.”

Dirty Tricks Dept.

Richard Sherlock, of Baton Rouge, says, “The recent mention of ‘church keys’ to open the old non-pop top beers reminded me of all my uncles in New Orleans who refused to drink anything but New Orleans-produced beers back in the day.

“When we were all together for family functions in New Orleans they liked to pull pranks on each other.

“One was to open a can of beer for someone else (relative or not), and push the church key all the way through until the tip punctured the inside outer wall of the can.

“Of course, the unsuspecting uncle (or guest) didn’t know until too late when it dribbled down the chin, neck, and shirt.

“A common practice back in the day in New Orleans.”

Bird watch

On Saturday, “Cootsie from Slaughter” wrote, “The robins finally showed up on the farm in southwest Mississippi!

“Latest I ever recall seeing them; they must have been waiting for the groundhog forecast before coming.”

Looking for stuff

“LA Cajun Needlers of Ascension” is a group of senior citizens who crochet and knit items to donate to charitable organizations. Yarn is needed; you can drop it off at the Council on Aging, 526 S. Irma Blvd., Gonzales. Call (225) 675-8166 or (275) 266-5171.

Gwen D. King says the group meets Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Council on Aging, if you’d like to join.

Special People Dept.

Neoli “Coonie” Triche, of Dutchtown, celebrates her 99th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Felix Sagona celebrated his 93rd birthday on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Betty Torbert, of Tioga, formerly of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Luis Crespo celebrates his 92nd birthday on Monday, Feb. 8.

Lola Armistead and Ora Mae Pierce, both residents of Amber Terrace Assisted Living, in Baton Rouge, celebrate their 90th birthdays on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Perry and Gen Strait, of Metairie, celebrate their 68th anniversary on Monday, Feb. 8. He is a World War II veteran.

That’s not nice!

Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, offers this put-down for our growing list:

“I knew a guy in the Army who, to be polite, did not have an imposing physique.

“His fighting style was once described as, ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a butterfly.’”

Worth the wait

Jerry Leggio says, “This past Christmas morning our 3-year-old great-grandson, Jace, opened one of his gifts (a Star Wars sword) and exclaimed, ‘Oh my God, I have wanted one of these ever since I was a little kid.’”

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.