Luke Babin, of White Castle, tells how his grandfather sold Spanish moss to Henry Ford.
He says Ford's cars in the early 1900s first had wooden "buckboard" seats, then seats stuffed with maple leaves. Neither were very comfortable over long distances.
Says Luke, "Henry Ford, being the visionary he was, looked out across America, learned of the Babin Moss and Gin Co., made his way to White Castle, met with the owners (including my grandfather) and learned they had developed a method to sterilize Louisiana Spanish moss to eliminate mites.
"A contract was signed between Henry Ford and Babin, and from approximately 1907 to 1912 every vehicle built by Ford had seats stuffed with Louisiana moss. The moss, harvested mostly in Iberville Parish, was baled like cotton, put on rail cars and shipped to Michigan, where the vehicles were made.
"Unfortunately for Babin, better seating materials became available around 1912, thus ending the relationship."
David La Breche adds to our Friday discussion about the origin of "Geaux Tigers":
"I just want to mention that USL fans used 'Geaux Cajuns' in the early '70s. I'm not sure if it was used anywhere before that.
"The French would be pronounced 'Joe' with that 'ge' spelling. It would work better with 'gaux' — like the local name, Gauteau."
Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, "Regarding Harry Clark’s statement in the Friday column that Baton Rouge 'is just a little over an hour drive to Lafayette' — that depends a lot on the time of day.
"And the trip from Lafayette to Baton Rouge is almost always longer, especially on a Friday afternoon."
Tom Walsh says, "As I skimmed an East Coast online newspaper’s headlines the other day, the word 'Bomb' jumped out at me.
"Bomb what? A 'Bomb Cyclone,' it said. What kind of evil terrorism was coming our way now?
"As I read on, I learned that it was about a weather event, so called because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast.
"Good Lord, Mother Nature is going to drop a weather bomb on those poor people! My first reaction was to yell 'Run!'
"This headline should receive the 2018 'Fear and Loathing' award, as it accomplished its goal and then some."
Spirit of giving
Martha Wright says our stories about generosity brought to mind this incident:
"I was recently at an estate sale and found a set of blue glasses I felt I had to have.
"I had a $20-bill with me. The glasses were $21.
"I spotted John Baker, a member of my church, and accosted him, asking for a dollar.
"I did tell him who I was but am sure he had no clue who I was.
"However, he opened up his wallet and gave me the dollar. Next time I see him, I plan to give him back his dollar and see if he remembers the incident."
Jay Huner, of Boyce, says because his dad was from Buffalo, New York, and his mom from Wabash, Indiana, he didn't grow up with Southern-style greens on the table, even when they lived in Baton Rouge.
"But my mother would chop and boil kale and mix it with mashed potatoes. That is a common dish in both Holland and Ireland, the homes of my parents' families."
Jay says it may work with collards, etc.
Special People Dept.
- Leon Poche, of Crowley, celebrated his 90th birthday Saturday, Jan. 6.
- Pete Petersen, of Baton Rouge, celebrated his 90th birthday Dec. 13. He's an active member of the St. James Place retirement community.
- E.J. "Peaches" and Emma Duval, of Port Allen, celebrated their 65th anniversary Dec. 28.
Worst of the year
Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, tells us what is so far our worst Cajun joke of 2018:
"Thibodeaux saw Boudreaux at a New Year's Eve party by himself.
"He asked, 'Mais, Boo, where’s Marie?'
"Boudreaux answered, 'Mais, she went to the West Indies.'
"Thib asked, 'Jamaica?'
"Boudreaux replied, 'Mais non, she decided all by herself.'”
The happy season
Carnival, king cakes, crawfish
Let the good times roll