Erwin Methe, of Marrero, tells how poetry can preserve precious memories:

"I attend an adult activity program called 'The People Program of New Orleans.' The classes there cover exercise, yoga, painting, drawing, crafts, poetry and more.

"While I was attending the poetry class one semester, teacher Pat Ward and the class were discussing haiku poems, and she asked the class to write a haiku on any subject they chose.

"I remembered a conversation from the day before, about my dad knitting a cast net in the kitchen when I was 8 years old. Later in the summer we went to the seawall on Lake Pontchartrain, where my dad used the net to catch enough shrimp for the family to have a great shrimp boil. The few short lines of this haiku covered that memory from almost 68 years ago:

"Net made in kitchen

Then was cast into the lake

Shrimp boiling in pot"

Burning issue

Francis Celino, the Metairie Miscreant, tells a story that reveals why you don't see floor furnaces around much any more:

"In the late 1940s my dad quit smoking and put the cigarette money in a cigar box. At the end of the year he purchased two floor furnaces for the house with the money.

"My mother used to stand over them in her house coat as it ballooned out around her. One day it caught fire, and she never did that again.

"In the summer we covered them with a rug, which became a trap for stiletto heels.

"I ran in the house and fell on it and had a little cut. Two years later I fell on it again and had seven stitches in my knee, and for some reason a toenail removed. I stopped running in the house."

Get the bugs out

Two comments on our stories about Louisiana Spanish moss stuffing early Ford car seats:

Sandy Shahady, a tour guide in New Orleans, says, "I often take groups out to the plantations and City Park. Sometimes, as I explain that Henry Ford used the moss in his car seats, someone mentions that the first shipments had chiggers in the moss. Surely they knew how to process it and remove the insects. So why did Ford’s moss have chiggers?"

T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, says, "Grandma Margie in Natalbany used to drill me when I was growing up: 'Don't touch that Spanish moss, because it  sometimes has red ticks.' One day I did. It did. Lesson learned: don't volunteer to touch Spanish moss."

In the Jan. 8 story from Luke Babin, he says the family moss gin in White Castle was visited by Henry Ford because he learned "they had developed a method to sterilize Louisiana Spanish moss to eliminate mites."

I assume the sterilization process would have also eliminated other worrisome bugs.

The moss cure

Hazel Hart says, "My late mother-in-law, Irma Hart, gathered Spanish moss, soaked it in green rubbing alcohol for a couple of weeks, then used this solution to rub on aching joints or muscles. It must have worked; she was active until just past her 100th birthday."

Special People Dept.

Stella LeBlanc Bourgeois, of Paulina, celebrates her 91st birthday on Monday, Jan. 29.

Honoring Buckskin

Several readers have suggested ways to pay tribute the late Buckskin Bill Black for his work in educating children on his WAFB-TV shows and his tireless promotion of the Baton Rouge Zoo.

Brenda Sanches says, "We need a statue of Buckskin Bill at the zoo entrance to honor him and his wonderful deeds. Why not? I grew up watching him, as both my children did."

Patrick Long adds, "We should do something to honor a person who did so much for the children of Baton Rouge for so many years. He got the kids to donate their pennies to buy the first elephants at the zoo. Maybe all of us former kids could step up once again to get a statue of Buckskin placed at the zoo? I'm in."

Louisiana Haiku

Craving crawfish bisque

Happens in January

And other months too

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.