Getting into the Mardi Gras spirit often means finding yourself doing things you would not normally do. Here are two examples I can recall from long-past Carnival celebrations:

Oh, Mama!

One Mardi Gras, when my mom and dad lived in Kenner, they were with another couple in the Hotel Monteleone lobby when Broderick Crawford walked by. (The actor's main connection to Louisiana was his Oscar-winning portrayal of Willie Stark, the Huey Long-inspired character in the 1949 film "All the King's Men.")

Crawford stopped to admire some beads my mom was wearing, and she offered them to him — for a kiss. So there they were, kissing away as a crowd looked on.

My mom was a very reserved person, and this was so unlike her that I suspect adult beverages might have been involved. …

Minnesotan gone wild

One year, a friend of Lady Katherine's from Minnesota came down for her first New Orleans Mardi Gras.

We were standing at Chartres and Canal streets when the floats of Bacchus rolled by.

The young lady from Minnesota watched quietly, until a strand of beads was thrown her way. She caught them — and turned into a bead-catching machine; jostling folks around her, leaping in the air for beads and screaming at float riders for more.

After the parade, as we headed for the car, she stopped to chat with a young man wearing some huge beads around his neck. Suddenly, they were locked in a smooch, and she walked away wearing a big smile … and those beads. …

Mamou madness

Baton Rouge has its parades, balls and parties during Carnival season, but the Tuesday of Mardi Gras itself, things are pretty quiet.

That's why for a couple of years, Lady K and I headed over to Mamou on Mardi Gras day.

Camille LaFleur Fontenot explains why this was a good decision:

"In Big Mamou, you actually live the Cajun Mardi Gras. Gumbo, boudin, cracklings and pounce sizzle in pots, while Cajun and Zydeco tunes whine across crawfish lakes and resound through the prairies.

"Horses gallop with revelers on their backs. At the historic Hotel Cazan, even the ghosts get caught up in the hullabaloo.

"Fred's Lounge and The Krazy Cajun Cafe complete the setting for a giant 'bon temps.'"

High times

Martha Wright says mention of dumb questions "reminds me of the question asked our cruise director on our Alaska cruise: 'What altitude are we at today?' Her excellent response was, 'What deck is your cabin on?'”

Super-sized words

Marsha R. says, "Your seminar on big words reminded me of the late, great Hank Wilson, who used to create political cartoons that appeared in The Advocate.

"Hank noted that many people were embarrassed when they mispronounced a word. He contended that it only meant they were constant readers, yet had never heard the word pronounced aloud by anyone.

"It just meant that they were smart but had a lot of ignorant friends."

Special People Dept.

  • Anais Odom, of Denham Springs, celebrates her 100th birthday Monday, Jan. 5.
  • Carlton V. Hudson celebrated his 100th birthday Jan. 26. He is a World War II veteran.
  • Clyde David, of New Roads, celebrates his 90th birthday Monday, Feb. 5.
  • Vera Martin, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 90th birthday Wednesday, Jan. 31, with a party at St. James Place. A retired teacher, she started the Broadmoor Crafts Fair.
  • Karen and Edward Myers celebrated their 50th anniversary Jan. 27.

Puzzle of the Week

"Here's a puzzler for you," says Shlomo Pielstick-Kennedy:

"As Americans get fatter and fatter, airline seats get narrower and narrower."

Po' folks

  • A reader says, "Re the recent 'poor' discussion — a friend once told me he was so poor as a child that a burglar broke in and left them stuff."
  • Algie Petrere says, "I still love the expression a friend of mine used years ago concerning being poor:

"'If they were selling steamboat rides for a nickel, all I could do is run up and down the bank yelling, "Ain't that cheap."'"

Louisiana haiku

After the parade

Crunching sound heard with each step

Beads cover sidewalk 

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.