“A big mistake was made when President Obama came to Baton Rouge,” says Paul Major, of Livonia:

“Instead of having him whiz through town on a completely cleared interstate, he should have landed in Lafayette and then been driven in to Baton Rouge from the west at about 4:30 or 5 in the late afternoon.

“No amount of Secret Service escort would have ever been able to clear a way through the usual end-of-the-day traffic jam.

“It would have been a good way to get fast action.”

(I don’t know, Paul — that might have constituted presidential kidnapping, and been considered a federal crime...)

Getting stumped

Charles Breard, of Baton Rouge, has another story about “church keys,” those metal devices beloved by folks who consumed beverages in cans:

“In the middle of the last century, before pop-tab beverage cans, I worked at a major oil refinery down the river toward New Orleans.

“One of our fellow employees, let’s call him Corky, had two hobbies: fishing and drinking beer. If he could do them both at the same time, well...

“One Monday, Corky related his weekend fishing/drinking trip out on a local lake.

“He and his buddies motored out, and Corky decided to perch on a favorite tree stump out in the lake.

“His buddies left him on the stump with his fishing gear and a cooler full of iced-down cans of beer, then they motored off into the distance.

“Everything was fine until Corky was ready for a beer. He reached in the cooler, pulled out an ice-cold can…then discovered he had everything he needed ... EXCEPT a church key.?

“‘Charlie,’ he said to me, ‘have you ever tried to GNAW your way into a can of beer...?’”

Only No. 10?

In Baton Rouge they love their football...

Baton Rouge is the 10th best city in the United States for football fans, according to an analysis of 245 cities by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The ranking was “based on 18 key metrics, ranging from the number of NFL and college football teams to average ticket prices.”

Green Bay, Wisconsin, ranked first, followed by Clemson, South Carolina; Pittsburgh; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; East Lansing, Michigan; Denver; Princeton, New Jersey; New York City; Philadelphia, and then Baton Rouge.

Hail Queen Betty

Rob Tuminello says the crowning of his mother-in-law, Betty Shoemaker Cook, as Mardi Gras queen at St. James Place Wellness Center brought memories of Betty’s career as a registered nurse working with disabled children, while raising five kids.

He also remembered Betty’s late husband, long-time State Times-Morning Advocate sports and outdoors writer Mike Cook:

“I first met Mike 21 years ago when I started dating his daughter, now my wife, Betz. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Oh yeah, you were the left-handed pitcher for Catholic High.’ That had been 20-plus years earlier, yet he remembered.”

Blame it on Hitch

Donna Knopf says Ernie Gremillion’s memory of “enjoying movies on his time schedule, and not the theater’s, reminded me that, according to Turner Classic Movie’s movie aficionados, it was Alfred Hitchcock who began the movie start and stop time we adhere to today.

“In 1960, Hitchcock was so determined to keep the surprise ending of his movie, ‘Psycho,’ a secret that he insisted that all theaters showing the movie not allow anyone to enter once the film had started.

“It was a success, and we now have set movie times.”

Butter beggar

Joel d’Aquin Thibodeaux, of Baton Rouge, says that before her mom died, she wrote this little story about when Joel was a toddler:

“I was slicing a stick of butter for a recipe. Joel toddled up to me and said, ‘Butter, butter,’ and stuck out her tongue to receive some.

“I answered her, ‘Butter, my foot!’ — meaning, ‘No, you can’t have any butter.’

“Then little Joel looked down at my feet, and said, ‘No! Butter my tongue!’”

Special People Dept.

Marguerite and Jesse “Cajun Chef” Dugas, of Paincourtville, celebrate 65 years of marriage on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

The One Percent

After Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, brought up the prevalence of Sears catalogs in the rural outhouses of his youth, Nobey Benoit expressed the opinion that this was a sign of affluence back then.

Here’s Tony’s answer:

“I have to admit we sometimes had wealth far beyond our neighbors. This occurred because my grandmother would get angry with my grandfather and give us his Montgomery Ward! I guess we were rich and didn’t know it!”

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.