Dear Smiley: Recent references to Jimmie Davis brought to mind the most unique day of my life, which involves a bit of Louisiana history:
In Natchitoches, after a round of golf on a Saturday in 1971, I was told it was urgent that I call Rolfe McCollister Sr., Jimmie Davis’ campaign manager for his final run for governor.
Someone was attempting to get another Jimmie Davis to file as a candidate for governor in the Natchitoches office of Arthur Watson, the Democratic state chairman. I was to talk the “imposter” out of running.
“Put on a suit and get to town,” said Rolfe. “Arthur knows you are coming.” So there I went, shaking like a leaf.
I was told that the group had arrived at Fort Buhlow airport in Alexandria in a Cessna and got in a blue Thunderbird.
Chairman Watson said there was nothing he could do to stop Mr. Davis from filing as a candidate, but I could use a lawyer’s office to confer with the man.
I paced the sidewalk, and there came the blue Thunderbird.
I greeted the young man and politely told him that some people wanted him to run for governor because his name was Jimmie Davis, but some others did not want him to file as a candidate.
I told him,”These people know the number of the plane that flew you into Alexandria, the license number of the blue Thunderbird, and the name of the person who gave you the money with which to file.”
I thought I had done my job, but he proceeded to file.
The people in the blue Thunderbird got antsy and left Jimmie. I wound up buying him supper and a bus ticket to Baton Rouge.
What a heck of a day, illustrative of the intrigue of old-time Louisiana politics!
The original Jimmie Davis did poorly in the governor’s race (11.8 percent), as Edwin Edwards beat J. Bennett Johnston in the runoff. (The other Jimmie did not run after all.)
Dear Smiley: In 1986 I was living in Aberdeen, Scotland. As a 1958 graduate and long-time fan of LSU, I missed attending or listening to LSU football games.
On Sept. 13, 1986, a good friend (and a staunch Aggie fan) invited me to listen to the LSU vs. Texas A&M football game at his office. Although the game did not start until 1 a.m., I was excited to have such an opportunity.
I, my friend Jack Willoughby and a young engineer on my staff, Ken Stanley (also a graduate of A&M), gathered in Jack’s office at midnight.
Jack called his father in Texas, who had tuned his radio to the Aggie station carrying the game. Jack put his speaker on, and Jack’s father put his phone handset next to his radio.
It was a great night for me, as LSU prevailed 35–17.
Jack never told me how much his phone bill was.
Except for Armed Forces Radio, that had to be the greatest distance for someone to listen to an LSU game.
As a side note, Jack is now the owner of The Dunvegan Hotel in St. Andrews, Scotland, only a 9- iron shot to the 18th green of The Old Course.
Dear Smiley: The article in the Sunday Advocate about Paul and Linda McCartney at Mardi Gras reminds me of a little-publicized story about Linda.
When Linda Eastman was a newborn in 1941 in Scarsdale, New York, her father, Lee, asked his friend, songwriter Jack Lawrence, to compose a song for Linda. There were already songs with names of wife Louise and children Johnny and Laura.
Lawrence was the writer of songs such as “Tenderly,” “Beyond the Sea” and “Sunrise Serenade.”
“Linda” was composed in 1941 but not recorded until 1944 because of World War II. Sinatra, Como and others recorded “Linda.”
Linda had a career as a photographer until she married Paul McCartney in 1969. Tragically, she died from cancer in 1998.
Can you top this?
Dear Smiley: When my wife and I first married, we had the notion to cook together — and, living in New Orleans, you know we all love to eat.
I got a notion to make French bread. She let me do the recipe, and after completing, we both sat down to enjoy.
Somehow, however, the bread was hard.
She asked, “Did you add the yeast?”
I said, “Yes, I put the yeast on top of the dough. Isn’t that correct?”
The write stuff
Dear Smiley: All the discussion about books on Louisiana musicians and honky tonks makes me feel so stupid.
Had I known back then I could have written a book about those experiences, I would have kept notes on the very many visits to the numerous establishments I made so frequently.
I would attempt it now, but my memory is still fuzzy from those days.
I do, however, remember that I enjoyed those days a lot.
Dear Bo: Well, there you go — you’ve got your first sentence already...
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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.