"My father, Russell Gremillion, has always been known as a prankster extraordinaire," says Ina G. Navarre, of Baton Rouge. "We still chuckle about the tricks he plays on people and wonder how he escaped to live to 88-plus today!

"There was the time when, at 35, he was laid up in the hospital following back surgery.

"In 1964, hospital rooms at the old Our Lady of the Lake Hospital were all either semi-private or even wards.

"As he recuperated, he shared his room with a 12-13 year old boy who apparently had cancer and was preparing to undergo a bone marrow procedure.

"One day out of sheer boredom, and with a desire to distract the young man from his health situation, my dad challenged him to a 'race' to see who could get his hospital bed up and down the fastest, then folded up as much as possible and moved back to 'flat.'

"What the young man did not know was that my dad had switched the bed controls while he was not watching, so my dad could control the boy’s bed.

"The race started, and the young man was thoroughly confused — his bed was moving only intermittently even though he worked the control with great attention and enthusiasm.

"On the other hand, my dad was lazily pressing the buttons only periodically and his bed was in constant motion! When the dust settled they both had a good laugh.

"When the young man’s mother came to check on him, he told her that the morning’s events were the most fun he had ever had.

"A good laugh can be a powerful pain reliever."

Swimmers' lagniappe

Marty Roy, of Opelousas, continues our discussion of Saturday classes:

"While attending USL in the early '70s, I took a physical education class on Saturday morning at 8: swimming. This class allowed you to go out on Friday night and have a good time with your friends and frat buddies.

"Several times the pool, in Agnes Edwards dorm, had leftovers from parties the night before, and you were allowed to take time off to clean them up."

Just shoot me!

Michael D. Hess has this comment on the "armed teacher" idea:

"Last week I posted on my Facebook page it was probably a good thing I wasn't a gun-toting teacher.

"A past student commented, 'No worry, your detentions were worse!'"


"Alabama Wildman" offers this correction to the recent statement in the column that a bunch of baboons is called a "congress:"

"A large group of baboons is not called a congress, but rather a troop. This was a joke going around on social media for years."

I checked it out, and our reader is right (I was hoping the baboon group would at least be called a "legislature," but no such luck).

However, while perusing names for groups of animals, I learned that a bunch of flamingos is called a "flamboyance."

I'm sure I can use this knowledge in some fashion, since the flamingo is the beloved mascot of my Baton Rouge neighborhood, Spanish Town. Perhaps our Mardi Gras parade has a "Krewe of Flamboyance" in its future… 

Welcome back, Pluto

"In case any of your readers need a bit of normalcy in today’s topsy-turvy world," says Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Viille Platte, "they should draw some comfort in knowing that Pluto has rejoined our solar system.

"The scientific community has rethought their decision back in 1991 the kick Pluto out of the group of nine planets, and have brought our littlest one back into the flock.

"I, for one, breathe a sigh of relief."

Special People Dept.

  • Marie Merrill, of Baton Rouge celebrates her 95th birthday on Saturday, March 3.
  • Elder Marshall Hall is 91 on Tuesday, March 6, an event to be celebrated Sunday, March 4, at Beech Grove Baptist Church of Scotlandville, where he's been preaching for 35 years. 
  • Kathy and Jackie Melker, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 68th anniversary on Saturday, March 3.
  • John and Lynne Gelpi, of Madisonville, celebrate their 61st anniversary on Friday, March 2.

Louisiana Haiku

View from the levee

Muddy torrent rushes past

Fearsome, deadly force

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.