Dr. Charles Raborn says, “I have been using the ‘handshakeless’ greeting during this flu season.

“I suggested and used the salute, elbow touch and even the ‘smiley face’ instead of the handshake.

“All my contacts have thought it was a good idea.

“What do you think about going without a handshake?”

I think it’s a fine idea — and while I can’t object to the smiley face for obvious reasons, I would suggest that we all practice the elbow touch.

This will not only cut down our chances of getting the flu, but will get us ready for crawfish boil season, when the elbow touch is the usual method of greeting — handshakes are pretty much out of the question.

Louisiana North

For 24 years Louisiana native Michael Arnone has been putting on his annual Crawfish Fest to introduce folks in New Jersey to the joys of Louisiana food and music.

This year’s event, May 31-June 2 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, N.J., stars Aaron Neville and a host of Louisiana musicians.

Michael is currently helping New Jersey folks experience the joys of Mardi Gras.

His news release from Augusta tells them, “You don’t have to leave home to celebrate Mardi Gras! Essential ingredients include a king cake, beads and traditional jambalaya, which are all available online.”

He suggests Haydel’s and Gambino’s bakeries for king cakes and beads, and markets his own jambalaya mix on the Crawfish Fest Online Store.

How about Mom?

Fran Taylor says she and husband Ed were delighted to read the Wednesday Advocate story about Brandon Farrar’s dog Sierra, who was found and returned to him after being missing for 16 months.

“But,” says Fran, “can you find out one thing to complete the ‘rest of the story?’

She notes that Steven Ward’s story mentions the boxer’s mother, Dakota.

“Is Dakota still living, and if so, how did she react to the return of her long-lost pup? It would be so nice to know.”

Early Elton

Butch Peno says The Advocate’s announcement of Elton John’s March 19 concert said he had “previously performed in Baton Rouge at the LSU Assembly Center in October 1993 and October 1992.”

Butch says, “Well, my archive goes back to his September 1974 and November 1972 concerts at LSU.

“In 1972 my sister, Suzie, a newlywed, took me as her date. Her husband, Larry, had to work that night. I was a huge fan of Elton in the ’70s!’ Guess I still am …”

Welcome visitor

Lettye Harris says our recent grim days have just been brightened considerably:

“I just saw my first hummingbird of the year, hovering over a bedraggled mandevilla bloom. I quickly made a batch of nectar, and he’s been back several times.

“I don’t know whether he’s just arrived or has been overwintering and has just gone unnoticed, but I am delighted to see him!”

Welcome gift

Noelle Harper says Spay Baton Rouge, a nontonrouge.org.

profit group providing low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for pets, has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation.

Visit http://www.spaybaSpecial People Dept.

  • Lorena “Ti-Moon” Guilbeau Guillot, of Carencro, celebrates her 102nd birthday Saturday. (Her brother Joe Guilbeau says she shares her birth date with Edgar Allan Poe, Robert E. Lee and Dolly Parton.)
  • On Friday Bea Haydell celebrates her 101st birthday. A family celebration will be held Saturday at Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant.
  • On Thursday Melba Attuso Davis celebrated her 97th birthday. Her family says she reads The Advocate every day, and “is still upset that the State-Times is no longer in print.”
  • Annie Rachal Johnson, of Cottonport, celebrates her 92nd birthday Friday.
  • Avis Stringfield celebrates her 90th birthday Friday. She’s retired from Dow Chemical.
  • On Friday Josephine and Johnny Zito, of Plaquemine, celebrate their 65th anniversary.
  • Wayne and Nancy Aydell, of French Settlement, celebrate their 50th anniversary Saturday.

Are you expendable?

Roy Pitchford of Monroe, former Advocate reporter/editor, says years ago he was riding to work with colleague Milford Fryer “when Baton Rouge was having one of its rare snow storms.

“There was a radio announcement that ‘nonessential’ state workers should stay home.

“ ‘If I was a state worker, there is no way I would miss work today,’ Milford opined.”

Budding food critic

G.G. Reed says, “My 5-year-old grandson Colten visited a relative recently.

“He told me he had a good time, but didn’t like the food.

“He described it as ‘rice with some ground meat and other stuff.’

“I asked if it was dirty rice.

“He replied, ‘No, it was clean; I just didn’t like it.’ ”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.