Winston Day tells this story:

“Bill O’Quin and I grew up on Eugene Street across from Baton Rouge High. In our early teens, we walked to the corner at North Boulevard to catch a city bus to the old Baton Rouge Junior High. But we did our best to save our tokens, so often we would hitchhike.

“Bill is a guy who never met a stranger, with an outgoing and friendly personality.

“We were hitchhiking one day when I heard Bill exuberantly shout, ‘Come on, Wint. We have a ride!’ as he opened the door of a VW Beetle at the corner.

“Bill herded me into the back seat and jumped in behind me, telling the driver, ‘Hi. I’m Bill! Thanks for picking us up!’

“The driver looked in the rear-view mirror, jerked his thumb over his shoulder and said, ‘Get out, kid. I only stopped because the light is red.’ ”

Bill said, “Thanks anyway,” they jumped out — and chuckle about it to this day.

Move it!

There are two kinds of drivers: “Stop and smell the roses” and “Damn the roses, full speed ahead!”

After some readers objected to quick horns at stop lights, and another confessed to going slow to deal with honkers, we got a contrary view from Tim Palmer, of Lafayette:

He said the “smell the roses” folks are “obviously retired, or do not have to drive a lot for their jobs. I, on the other hand, am on the road a lot, and tend to not have time to waste.

“I believe slowing down and stopping, for no apparent reason, is considered obstructing a highway, and is illegal.”

He adds that drivers who loiter after a light turns green “have no consideration for the people behind them, who would like to get through the light without having to wait for an entire rotation. People like that are one reason traffic backs up, which contributes to accidents.”

Right on target

Ronnie Stutes says, “With today’s technology, it is amazing how advertisers can target their messages to very specific groups.

“Today I heard on the radio an advertisement saying it was ‘an important announcement for those with or without health insurance.’

“‘Wow,’ I thought. ‘That’s me!’”

It’s not the same!

Speaking of technology, Ken Duhe, The Advocate’s online news editor, announced that Tuesday was the first anniversary of our “deconstructed, reconstructed” online operation.

He said a cake had been provided to mark this occasion.

And he told Advocate staffers in other locations, “If you’re not in the main Baton Rouge office, sorry about the cake thing. Here’s a cat video featuring birthday cake.”

Chicken outfit

Brenda Sharp thanks Julie Kay (The Advocate’s “What a Crock” food writer) for a slow cooker chicken salad recipe:

“But,” she adds, “Baton Rouge already has the best recipe, and it’s available off the shelf — the famous chicken salad at Calvin’s Bocage Market. It’s in demand at any party, and a required gift to the hostess when visiting out of town.”

Brenda says she offers me and my readers this culinary tip absolutely free — although she wouldn’t turn down a root beer at the Patio Lounge…

Pick those nits

Dr. Joe Ricapito says, “I noticed in a recent column your use of the word ‘gourmet.’

“I was once criticized by a distinguished French professor, who said a person who enjoys good food is a gourmand (or gourmande, if you will), and the adjective ‘gourmet’ is used for particularly good, rich, excellent food.

“He was a nitpicker, and I am doubly so in sending you this correction.”

Worthy causes

Krickett Dawson-Perilloux says a benefit for cancer patient Teresa Stafford is Sunday, July 6, at Phil Brady’s in Baton Rouge from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Five bands will perform, and jambalaya will be served at 5 p.m. Admission is $10, jambalaya $6.

There will be items for sale donated by blues greats Marcia Ball, Bryan Lee, Chris Thomas King and many more. Go to

Special People Dept.

Garland Bond, retired longtime postmaster of Denham Springs, celebrates his 95th birthday on Thursday, July 3. He is a World War II Air Force veteran.

No bag men here

Catherine Tonguis says, “Growing up in Lottie, our daddy, James Harvin, was a farmer, planting mostly corn.

“One year Daddy decided to plant something he had never planted before — cotton!

“Our two big brothers, James Jr. (Pete) and Adain (Bub), usually helped with some of the farm chores. When the cotton was ready to be picked, Daddy told the boys to get their stuff ready for their new chore, picking cotton.

“Bub and Pete hurriedly grabbed their syrup buckets and were on their way!

“Of course it was a little late at this point, but Daddy realized he should have explained to his sons that cotton goes into big sacks, not syrup buckets!

“He teased his sons with this story for the rest of their lives!”

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.