"We're are still crying here in Atlanta," says Ruth Caillouet, of her Baton Rouge home. She's an associate dean in the School of Education at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Ruth says, "This has been such a hard year to be away from home. We have watched our city mourn over senseless deaths — both black and white. And we have watched the floodwaters wash away hopes and dreams. And we have watched our tiger die.
"And so we cry. Sitting in our offices and classrooms and businesses — too far away to share the hugs and sympathy. And too far away from people who truly understand. So we search the news feeds for our hometown voices and piece together the bits of home, reliving our memories of Mike. And we cry."
Name that flood
Speaking of The Flood from Hell, readers are already suggesting names for it, as I requested in the Tuesday column:
For instance, Judy Lanoux submits "The Swamper."
Preston Ingram says, "My first name choice is 'Noah.' Second, 'Four Feet High and Rising.'"
Pam Hartman, of Denham Springs, where many minds were indeed boggled by it, suggests the 'Mindboggling Flood of 2016!'"
And Leslie Todd says, "Given the back flow of our waterways during the storm, I’ve been calling it the 'Bayoupocalypse.'"
You can book it
Speaking of disasters…
Since column readers have already started asking about giving my books for Christmas presents (they're cheap and easy to wrap), I've decided to have a signing Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Main Street Market, during Red Stick Farmers' Market festivities.
The books are "Best of Smiley" and "Smiley! A Laughing Matter," and the location of the signing gives you an opportunity to purchase semi-great literature, satsumas, green beans and cabbages at one convenient location.
No need to thank me; I consider it a public service…
Dudley Lehew, of Marrero, says my recent chimp story "reminded me of a neighbor when I lived in Atlanta in the '60s.
"My neighbor's brother and his wife had no children, so they got a chimpanzee and treated it like it was their child, including potty-training it. They also dressed the chimp in stylish Buster Brown children's clothing for outings.
"As the chimp grew, they passed his clothing, which showed little wear, to my neighbor's little boy.
"Mom and Dad welcomed the financial savings, and their son was always fashionable, even though he was the only kid in his class with Buster Brown clothes that had a color-coordinated patch on his butt, where the chimp's constant squatting had worn a hole in the pants!"
Special People Dept.
M.J. "Kelly" Simoneaux celebrated his 92nd birthday on Monday, Oct. 17. He is the retired president of City National Bank of Baton Rouge, and was an Army artillery officer in World War II and the Korean War.
Going to the top
Sara Lemon says while cleaning out her parents' home in Jackson, Mississippi, her sister, Georgia Anderson, found 31 issues of the monthly magazine 'The Scenic South,' published by Standard Oil Co., 70-plus years ago.
Since the historic 1911 government breakup of Standard Oil, there are a lot of companies stemming from the parent, including Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, etc. But Sara decided to contact the company keeping the original name, Standard Oil Co. U.S.A.
She called a Dallas number she found, and says, "A man answered with a friendly 'Hello,' and I told him I had 31 copies of their magazine from 1944 to 1947, and wondered if they would like to have them.
"He said he would love to have them; that they were moving their headquarters to Wichita, Kansas, and the new building would have a museum.
"I asked if he was the archivist, and he said, 'No, I'm Ron Brooks, the CEO,' and that he was answering the phone because 'It's kinda Friday around here.'"
Card that kid!
"Smiley, my ambition of 'refusing to grow up' must be working," says Ray Totty, of Baton Rouge.
"A few days ago while checking out at Winn-Dixie, the clerk held up a bottle of gin and said, 'Your driver’s license, please.'
"Just couldn’t help telling her to notice the license was valid until I was 90 years old.
"By the way, the gin is for soaking golden raisins to ease arthritis pain."
(What a coincidence — that's how I use it too…)