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Warren Morris makes the connection for his championship winning ninth inning home run in 1996. Ran June 9, 1996. Photo by John Pendygraft

Dear Smiley: Twenty years ago, when Warren Morris hit the home run that won the College World Series for LSU, we were at the Glenn Miller Festival in his birthplace, Clarinda, Iowa, about 60 miles from Omaha.

We were staying at a nine-room motel in Stanton, Iowa — with “MOTEL” painted on the roof.

It was a tiny village, with one restaurant attached to the motel.

Now, everyone in Iowa is a baseball fan.

The owner of the restaurant and motel could not understand how people with seemingly good sense would be at the Glenn Miller Festival and not at the College World Series, where LSU was playing.

And they were all pulling for LSU and were so happy to know people from LSU.

So when we got home every evening, the owner sat with us and re-capped the day, or had the TV on so we could finish the game.

And then there was that magical night.

We heard LSU was behind, but when we walked into the restaurant everyone in the place stood up and cheered.

They all saw the famous Warren Morris home run, except us, and somehow we were famous.

We saw and heard and met everyone of importance attached to the Glenn Miller Orchestra, but we missed seeing LSU history being made.

What a difference 60 miles makes.


Baton Rouge

Tasty discovery

Dear Smiley: When I moved to DeRidder in late 1976, the locals began telling me stories about the “awesome” crawfish boils they would like to invite me to attend.

Where I grew up in northern Illinois, the crawfish (crayfish) were sold as bait and were about the size of a cricket.

I was positive they were trying to trick me when they related how they would boil a full sack or two. Then when they said they popped off the body and peeled the tails, I imagined something about the size of a green pea.

I quit listening when they related how they also sucked the heads.

You can imagine my relief when I experienced an actual event and learned to eat what has become one of my favorite meal items.



Picture perfect

Dear Smiley: Last week in The Advocate I enjoyed an article addressing the re-opening of the Hotel Pontchartrain in New Orleans.

In the ’70s and ’80s, when I was active in the Society of Louisiana CPAs, the executive board had a luncheon meeting in the Karsh Room at the hotel.

Mr. Albert Aschaffenburg, the proprietor, was an avid collector of the photographic works of Yousuf Karsh. Several of the photographs graced the walls of the Karsh Room — Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O’Keefe, Tennessee Williams and others.

Several months later, the society hosted a dinner in the Caribbean Room. As the group was leaving, I recognized Mr. Aschaffenburg and asked if he might open the Karsh Room so the group could see his collection.

Immediately, and with much pleasure, he opened the door, and the “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” confirmed my expectation of the reaction.

What an extraordinary, gracious gentleman he was.



Death wish

Dear Smiley: Ray Schell, in the Tuesday column, says he “can’t remember ever having hit a bird.” He’s lucky.

My husband’s last tour on active duty with the U.S. Army was as chief of staff of the Alaska Command, based at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

We were there for three years and loved every minute. After he retired we drove out via the Alaska Highway through the Northwest Territory.

At one point, we were followed along the left side of the road by a huge and beautiful dark gray wolf, which kept pace with us for about a mile before losing interest.

At various other points, the Jeep was hit three or four times by medium-sized birds (smaller than crows).

Finally, Phil commented that he didn’t know what kind of birds they were, but he wished they’d stop committing suicide on his car.

There were no more hits!


Baton Rouge

Dear Harriet: Evidently he used his best military “command voice” to get results…

Chomp, chomp

Dear Smiley: I live on the Amite River, and several years ago this actually happened.

While riding my WaveRunner water scooter with friends on the Amite River, I went about a foot in front of an 8-foot log in the middle of the river.

You can imagine my surprise when the log came to life and bit the side of the WaveRunner.

It turned out to be an 8-foot gator, and left teeth marks on the side. I hope the gator got a headache.


Port Vincent

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.

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