Joe Eustis, of Metairie, says, “Back in the old days of 1967, after a long day of skydiving at the Hammond Airport’s Southern Parachute Center, we were discussing unique sky-dives to try next.

“It was suggested we do a night jump. Supposedly, all that was required to meet FAA ‘night flying’ rules was to wear a light.

“So we taped red lights to our helmets, bailed out into pitch-black darkness a couple of miles from the airport, and guided ourselves back by looking for the prearranged car headlights shining around the small pea-gravel drop zone.

“About 200 feet up, as we were making final corrections to hit the pea gravel, a police cruiser, just below us, comes roaring up to the drop zone with his lights flashing.

“After landing, thinking we were in trouble, we were relieved and amused to hear the officer say the police department dispatched him out to the airport to investigate after they got a flurry of phone calls about strange red-light UFOs headed to the airport.”

Small World Dept.

You never know where you’re going to encounter memorable people with great stories to tell — some of them about places close to home.

Patsy Borie, of Baton Rouge, says, “During a recent vacation with my family in California, we had lunch one day at one of San Francisco’s well-known Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants.

“Our waitress was a delight. She was from Philadelphia, but had lived 18 years in Parma, Italy, where she taught English as a second language.

“She also had a sister living in Eunice who was band director at several schools in Mamou.

“During her yearly trips to visit her sister in San Francisco, they made the rounds of pawn shops to buy musical instruments for her band students.”

The other kind

After stories about kind grocers helping people short of money in hard times, we heard from Al Bethard, of Lafayette, about a store owner who was not so generous.

He tells of a gent who had a store in the Eden community of LaSalle Parish for many years:

“A lady came in at the end of the month to pay her bill. She lacked one nickel of having enough.

“The store owner told her, ‘That’s all right — I’ll just carry it over to next month.’”

B.R. meets N.O.

“On the northwest corner of Interstate 12 and Airline Highway,” says Joel d’Aquin Thibodeaux, “there is a gas station that has a big sign out front which reads, ‘Inspection Stickers and Brake Tags Available Here.’

“Didn’t you do a seminar on this? Didn’t we learn that inspection stickers were issued in Baton Rouge and brake tags were issued in New Orleans? What’s your take on it?”

It appears to me it’s one more example of the two cities moving closer, with common interests — and, by the way, a common newspaper …

Kids and phones

Sue Sperry, of Metairie, says the Family and Youth Service Center of Baton Rouge, seeking old technology to show children, should contact the Children’s Telephone Museum in Jennings, an interactive, kid-friendly facility inside the W.H. Tupper Museum:

“I know someone who donated quite a few vintage and novelty phones, including a Mickey Mouse handset.”

Special People Dept.

— Isabelle Rattler celebrates her 100th birthday on Friday, Aug. 7, with a six-generations party in Rosedale.

— Ethel LeBlanc, of Donaldsonville, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Friday, Aug. 7.

— Lloyd Hebert Jr., of Plaquemine, celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, Aug. 7. He is an Army veteran of World War II.

Poetry Corner

Some late entries in Smiley’s Poetry Contest:

— Beka Rodriguez has the shortest one so far:

“When passing through sweet Baton Rouge,

stay alert and never snooze.”

— Richard Herr, of Harahan, addresses to joys of being 89:

“Every day when I awake, I wake up with a different ache.

Sometimes my back, sometimes my knee,

something’s always aching me.

When you get old, before you die, you’re going to ache and know not why.”

— Mary Schorr, of Metairie, says the little things matter most:

“It’s the trees that make a forest,

“It’s the grains of sand that make a beach,

“It’s the drops of water that make an ocean,

“It’s my thoughts and deeds that make ME.”

Breaking news

This just in: Marvin Borgmeyer, our NFL insider, reports that Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, has announced that the team is dropping the word “Washington” from the team name and will henceforth be simply known as “the Redskins:”

“It was reported that he finds that the word ‘Washington’ imparts a negative image of corruption, cheating, and lying, and is not a fitting role model for young fans of football.”

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.