I know, Mardi Gras is over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about it.

B.J. Gowdy disagrees with the suggestion by a reader to parade-goers (in the Tuesday column) that it would be rewarding to just stand back and admire the artistry of the floats, rather than begging for beads and other throws:

“There is nothing more boring than parades where people just stand there and watch, even if the floats are great.

“I moved from Natchitoches (even Santa at the Christmas parade there only threw a few pieces of candy) many years ago and was over the moon when I realized how important those beads were.

“My redneck mother, at 85, went to her first Mardi Gras parade after spending a lifetime watching boring parades with just pretty floats.

“She fussed and fussed and said she wasn’t going to enjoy the parade, and certainly wouldn’t be catching any of those cheap beads — until the first float went by.

“She was up and begging for beads like she was born to the job. She could never have enough!

“Several years later, after her death, I had the job of cleaning out her apartment. She had beads everywhere.

“She would have made a wonderful Mardi Gras queen!”

Future shock

“Your stories of the ‘church key’ brought back a related funny memory,” says Terri Karam Willett, of Baton Rouge.

“My ex-husband was on his first day home from a tour in Vietnam with the Marine Corps. His dad and brother drove him to their favorite hangout for a cold brew before heading home to see his mom. (You can see the priorities here.)

“He ordered his first ice-cold bottled beer and the others ordered canned refreshments.

“The waitress set the drinks down in front of them and started to walk away. He quickly called her back and asked, ‘Darlin’, what’s it going to take to get you to open this bottle for me?’

“Without skipping a beat, she replied sweetly, ‘Why, honey, all you’ve got to do is smile!’, wherein she proceeded to rip the top right off the bottle with her bare hands!

“Imagine a field-decorated Marine facing a woman whose strength allowed her to wrest the cap off a beer. He was stunned!

“You see, while he was away serving our country, the twist-top beer bottle had been invented.”

The cowboy way

Bill Smith (the cowboy Bill Smith, not the other one) says our discussion of openers brought back memories of the spur made for him by the late Ibra Miller, of Pecan Island.

He sent over a picture of a spur that has a bottle-opener attached to it, so a rider can reach down and pop the top on his or her root beer without leaving the saddle.

Bill says he met Ibra when he was working cattle in the marsh. A talented craftsman, he was well known for his saddles, whips and spurs.

Love story

Chuck Falcon, of Donaldsonville, says, “The mention of robins reminds me of the robin in my back yard that never leaves. He stays through the summer.

“I don’t know if he has his north and south mixed up, or if he is in love with one of the many doves in my back yard.

“Until I see a dove with a red breast I will never know for sure.”

Drivers rule

The report of churches offering to apply ashes to foreheads of motorists on Ash Wednesday came as no surprise.

We can already eat in our cars, do our banking, etc.

And I recall the funeral home in New Roads that offered drive-up viewing — the body of the deceased was placed in a window.

Don’t know if this service is still offered, but it has to be the ultimate in drive-in convenience.

Special People Dept.

Sidney Boudreaux, of Morgan City, celebrates his 101st birthday on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Julia Hawkins, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Huey and Ann Taylor, of Central, celebrated their 62nd anniversary on Jan. 29.

Calvin and Jo Ann Thomas Balencie, of Baton Rouge, celebrate 60 years of marriage on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Anthony “Tonto” and Gail Pizzolato celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Roulden and Gerry Guillotte, of Franklin, celebrated their 55th anniversary on Feb. 4.

Criminal intent

Attorney Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, “A friend read an article in The Advocate a while back and exclaimed, ‘I didn’t realize that was considered mail fraud!’

“I told him that the mail fraud statute was very broad.

“In fact, an old friend and former district attorney, the late Bert Talbot, described it thusly to me: ‘If you’re driving in front of a post office and thinking about committing a crime, that’s mail fraud.’”

The long walk

Martin Brignac Sr. recalls the days in the past when, “at a motel when traveling you could get a room with a path.”

Contacting Smiley

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.