Emile Rolfs III, a Baton Rouge attorney, offers my favorite nickname story so far:
"Due to a childhood bout with polio, I walk with the aid of aluminum crutches.
"One day during my undergraduate years in the Sigma Chi house at LSU, I learned that one of our recruits had said he thought I looked like a 'walking Erector Set.'
"Thinking that was insulting or demeaning, some of the guys were upset, but I thought it was hilarious and said so. I then became known as 'Erector Set' or, more simply, 'Erector.'
"Later, in law school, I received a different sobriquet. Because my crutches creaked when I moved about, my great friend Frank Fertitta dubbed me 'Billy Joe Clank' or 'Clank' for short.
"To this day, some 50 years later, I am occasionally greeted as 'Erector Set' or 'Clank,' and that brings back fond memories.
"During my law practice, I was occasionally called other names by my opponents, but those are not fit for your fine, family oriented publication and would surely offend the sensibilities of your gentle readers."
Pickle and Colt
Speaking of nicknames:
—Dave Myers, of Central, says, "In seventh grade, in 1969, I was on the Sacred Heart Tigers basketball team, coached by the great Frank Culotta, and we were playing in the St. George tournament.
"After a morning game, we were playing again that afternoon. My parents went home, but I stayed, and dad gave me $1 to buy food.
"I spent all I could until down to a nickel, so I bought a big dill pickle, the only thing that cost a nickel.
"My dad asked if I had any money left, and I told him everything I had bought.
"That afternoon I had the best game of my life! Could not miss a shot and scored 26 points.
"After the game, my dad said it must have been the pickle. 'Pickle' became my nickname, sometimes lengthened to 'Pickle Pete' since Pistol Pete Maravich was at LSU then.
"Certain teammates I have seen only a few times since then still call me Pickle when we meet."
—John R. Baker says, "I have a friend whose last name is 'Winchester.'
"In my aged state, after I first met him I called him 'Remington' for the longest.
"He corrected me, of course. I finally said, 'To hell with it, I am calling you Colt.' And Colt he is.
Here's one for folks familiar with Vernon Parish communities:
Pat Corie says, "My third grade teacher, Miss Shirley, was very inspirational for her students at Anacoco.
"She would not let us use the word 'CAN'T' in her classroom.
"Her sweet yet firm reminder when we violated the rule was: 'CAN'T died in Hornbeck.'"
Special People Dept.
—Violet Price, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 14.
—Rose and Jerry Berggren celebrate their 50th anniversary on Saturday, Jan. 14. Says Jerry, "I often refer to her as 'Saint Rose' for living with me for so long."
The Great Goose War
Allyson Marxsen says she might be the Baton Rouge Southdowns neighbor Paul Major was talking about in the Wednesday column, who fought off a mother goose while trying to mow her yard:
"We lived on Stuart next to the back of Lee High. Those dang geese lived there year round because the head of the gaggle had a bad wing and couldn’t fly.
"They laid their eggs in a rotten stump next to the pond and were VERY territorial!
"When I would try to mow, I’d have to ride with a broom or rake across the handles of my riding mower to fend them off, or risk getting pecked. Those suckers hurt!
"After a while, the old goose died. The rest of the geese would migrate seasonally, but would return every year to nest and spend the summer. Don’t know if they still go there, but I sure don’t wish them on the current residents!
"Oh, and don’t get me started on the goose poop on the deck and in the pool…"