Those of us who revere the English language have a new hero, says Ronnie Hotz, of Lafayette:

“For 30 years my school teacher aunt used the prevailing attention-getting method of popping knuckles with a wooden ruler. In other words, she was the epitome of ‘strict.’

“Fast forward into the future. My daughter Christy received a birthday gift from her Nannie, the retired teacher.

“As Christy had been taught the proper social graces, she wrote a note of thanks post haste — only to have it returned with red check marks identifying every grammatical error and every misspelled word, along with an addendum sheet listing every error, with a written synopsis of the rules for proper usage, along with a demand for a rewrite in toto, with all corrections listed in their proper placement.

“What a shocker for a 10-year-old! But the redeeming value was that she escaped the ruler, and enjoys sharing this historical episode with her friends: ‘Well, let me tell you a story you won’t believe...’”

Ride, Sally Ride

Jack Coffee, of Sunset, joins the current discussion with a suggestion for a woman to be pictured on the $10 bill:

“Certainly, there are many women who deserve to be honored with their image on any American currency.

“My candidate for the $10 bill would be Sally Kristen Ride (1951-2012), a physicist and astronaut as well as educator.

“She worked for NASA from 1978 until 1987, when she left to do research and teach.

“She was America’s first woman in space and remains the youngest astronaut of any sex to have traveled into space. She was 32 years old when she flew on Challenger in 1983.

“She flew again in 1984, and was training to fly for the third time before the Challenger disaster.

“If any of your readers agree, I would suggest petitioning their congressperson.”

Ups and downs

Henrietta Didier, of Roberts Cove, offers a lesson in bayou geography:

“In the 1950s my husband, Julian, was employed with Amerada Petroleum Corp., living in Raceland, where Bayou Lafourche runs in the middle of town.

“When we’d speak of someone the question was always, ‘Does he/she live up the bayou or down the bayou?’

“Then we’d know exactly where they lived.”

One-way river

With a lot of folks getting out on the water during these sweltering days, T. Med Hogg recalls a river unlike any body of water down here:

“There is a river near my hometown in Missouri called Current River. It comes out of the Ozark Mountains, fed by a big spring with water so cold a person cannot wade in it.

“Fly fishermen would come down from St. Louis and hire a longboat and guide, who did the paddling to keep the boat a proper distance from the bank.

“The current was so swift it was impossible to paddle upstream. Occasionally a fisherman would get his fly hooked on a limb or log, and holler to the guide, ‘Back paddle, back paddle.’

“The guide would pay no attention, and holler back, ‘Save what you can,’ and kept on going.”

Grammar revisited

On Tuesday, the same day I ran Lucille O’Neal’s note discussing the proper use of the word “only,” a syndicated editorial cartoon in the same section of The Advocate caught her eye:

It shows three Minions following a certain presidential candidate (the one with funny hair).

Lucille says it offers “a perfect example of the misplacement of ‘only’:

“It reads, ‘They only follow the most despicable...’

“It should read, ‘They follow only the most despicable...’”

Freeze alert

In the ’70s the Baton Rouge band Freeze was one of the most popular groups around, playing high school dances and reigning as the house band at the Smackwater Jacks night club.

On tour, Freeze opened for The Ohio Players, Chubby Checker, Vince Vance and the Valiants, and Tyrone Davis. The band also had a strong following in Lafayette, Lake Charles and Hammond.

A Freeze reunion party on Sunday, July 19, at Baton Rouge’s Club Coozan will start at 1 p.m.

“All former members, roadies, fans and friends are invited,” says Dale Craft. “Bring pictures.”

You can contact Dale at (225) 235-6335 or

Special People Dept.

Zebbie “Zeb” Dunbar Chaney, of El Dorado, Arkansas, a native and former resident of Zachary, celebrates his 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 15.

Thought for the Day

From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.”

Get organized

Shirley Fleniken says, “In this 90-plus-degree weather we’ve been having, it’s tempting to go by this advice from Maxine, the cartoon lady:

“‘It helps to organize your work chores into categories: Things I won’t do now; things I won’t do later, things I’ll never do...’”

How to contact 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.