Every year at this time an extraordinary event occurs in Baton Rouge — revolving around a bar that hasn't existed for nearly four decades.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, the 39th annual Ellis' Lounge reunion will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Hawk's Next, 3015 Westfork.
There'll be some food and possibly some adult beverages, but mostly there'll be stories about good times at a Government Street bar that attracted some loyal patrons — so loyal that they gather every year to remember their favorite watering hole.
The agenda is always the same: "Lies, gossip, rumors, innuendo."
And only two rules apply: "No arm wrestling. No dangerous pets."
In our Nostalgia Corner, Michael Romano recalls this Sunday drive:
"After lunch my dad would tell my mom, me, and my brother and sister it was time to 'make the drag.'
"We lived close to Baton Rouge High School, so we started up North Boulevard towards the river and turned right on Third Street.
"My dad would drive slowly and make sure he caught the red light so my mother could 'car window shop' to see the latest hats and dresses in the window at Dalton's department store.
"He would do the same thing at Lerner's and Three Sister's, then turn down Main Street so my mother could take a good look at Joy's furniture store's windows.
"My brother, my sister and I were yawning and bored to death, but for being good my dad would drove east on Florida Street to Alessi's drive-in for roast beef po-boys and curly-cue potatoes.
"We then went to Hopper's for dessert — chocolate sundaes — and then drove home."
"Alabama Wildman" responds to some recent posts in this column that were less than complimentary to the Alabama football team:
"As 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' says: 'Alabama doesn't always make the playoffs, but…oh wait; yes they do.'"
As is my custom during the holiday season, I'll be signing copies of my books, "Best of Smiley" and "Smiley! A Laughing Matter" on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon at Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge. (I assume market manager Copper Alvarez allows me to do this to add literature to the list of items available at the wildly popular institution.)
This is a public service for holiday shoppers seeking a meaningful but cheap gift.
Unsolicited plug: That wonderful Louisiana citrus from south of New Orleans is now available at the market — including navel oranges as big as grapefruits.
Ron Sammonds, of Baton Rouge, says, "As I was eating delicious leftovers for lunch, I thought about the life-size statue of Marco Polo on a pedestal in Venice.
"The Neapolitans should put up a much larger statue of a person who did something truly important — inventing pizza."
Special People Dept.
- Leo Brown, of the Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jackson, celebrates his 96th birthday on Thursday, Dec. 7. He was grand marshal of this year's Baton Rouge Veterans Day Parade.
- Margie Marionneaux celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, Dec. 7, after a surprise party by family and friends on Sunday, Dec. 3.
I've worked there!
Paula King, of Gretna, reports seeing this sign in an office: "You don't have to be crazy to work here; we'll train you."
What are "blinkers"?
Gail Stephenson says, "Zelda, age 3, loves Baton Rouge's new Knock Knock children’s museum.
"On a recent visit she headed straight to the Go-Go Garage, which has a car that kids can sit in and pretend to drive.
"They can also tighten the lug nuts, add gas, oil and wiper fluid, honk the horn and turn on the headlights.
"But it must have been designed by a Baton Rouge native — it has no turn signals.
"We’ve been teaching Zelda left and right by having her activate pretend turn signals when she drives her toy car at home.
"Perhaps the Knock Knock could add some blinkers to inspire the next generation of Baton Rouge drivers to use them."