Gene Duke contributes to our seminar on Spanish moss:

"While my brother was a Marine recruit at Parris Island, South Carolina, a fellow recruit from the North inquired about the stuff draped on the oak trees.

"He was informed that it was Spanish moss, and Southerners eat it like shredded wheat.

"Later, my brother saw him taste the moss — and expectorate it quickly."

Hanging offense

Juanita Hunt says, "Your recent stories about Spanish moss reminded me of a trip we took to Sarasota, Florida. We had toured the Ringling mansion and were sitting on the back patio waiting for another couple we were with.

"Two ladies were slowly walking nearby. One was commenting about the beautiful Spanish moss hanging from the trees. She wondered how it came to be hanging straight down from the trees.

"The other lady, without missing a beat, said, 'Oh, they hang strings down from the branches so the moss can attach itself to them.'

"Needless to say, we got our laugh for the rest of the day."

Love and loss

Pete Lambousy, of Harvey, penned this haiku in memory of his wife, Katherine, who died two years ago this month after struggling with dementia:

You faded so fast

I found no opportune time

to say I love you

Some trophy!

Carol Stutzenbecker, of Kenner, says, "Mention in your column of a tonsillectomy brought me back to the 1950s.

"After having my tonsils removed as a 6-year-old, I have a very vivid picture of coming home and showing off my tonsils that my doctor placed in formaldehyde in a glass jar.

"I doubt very much if a doctor would do this today."

Huey the cook

Lynne Laiche Acosta, of LaPlace, says her father, Lawrence "Squint" Laiche, told her that when his brother-in-law Robert "Pap" Bleakley operated Bleakley's Restaurant on Airline Highway in Gramercy, Gov. Huey Long would stop for lunch, go into the kitchen and make his own hamburger — he wanted no one else touching his food.

Complaint Dept.

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, uses a haiku to recall our late unlamented cold spell:

Ice closed all our roads

We can’t get stuck in traffic

Yet we still complain

Caps for a cause

Nana says our chilly weather "is a perfect time to crochet/knit caps and donate them to Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge. Donations can be brought to 550 Lobdell Ave., or call (225) 927-2273.

Speaking New Orleans

Coleen Perilloux Landry comments on a Monday nostalgia item:

"The person from Lafayette who wrote about coming to Mardi Gras in New Orleans during the police strike can't be very Louisiana. He said he was walking to the 'trolley.'

"We have no trolleys in New Orleans. … It's a streetcar, people."

Mardi Gras marchers

Keith Horcasitas, our Yat reporter, also recalls the 1979 Mardi Gras, when a police strike shut down parades:

"My friend and I saw a cool 'funeral,' complete with a Mardi Gras casket and second line procession, on Bourbon Street, dedicated to the lost Mardi Gras.

"And we saw famous clarinet virtuoso dudes playing 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' and sashaying by with the their Half-Fast Marching Club — Pete Fountain and Father Frank Coco, a Jesuit priest."

Special People Dept.

  • Anne Ashton, of The Haven in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday Tuesday, Jan. 23. She and Jack, her husband of nearly 70 years, moved to Baton Rouge five years ago.
  • Harold and Marian Ballard, of Central, celebrated their 66th anniversary Monday, Jan. 22.

No buzzards here

Mike Staid says a recent mention of buzzards "prompts me to point out to readers of this illuminating column a small fact I often use as a tool of agitation.

"There are no 'buzzards' in the Western Hemisphere. Buzzards refer to the large broad-winged hawks of Europe.

"Early British settlers gave birds of America the names of birds back home. Ours are of the American vulture family."

He says the ones we see are either black vultures or turkey vultures.

Mike adds, "If you want to see buzzards, I play golf with a bunch of old ones. …"

Louisiana haiku

Freeze hits strawberries

May impact cost of shortcake

Threatens daiquiris 

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.