Pat Alba, of Metairie, says, “As an LSU student in the ’50s, I once served on the jury at Moot Court, a simulated trial in which senior law students acted as defense and prosecuting attorneys.

“When the prospective jurors were being screened, one young lady was asked, ‘Do you believe in capital punishment?’

“She replied, ‘Yes, if it’s not too severe.’

“That was the only time I ever enjoyed jury duty.”

Speaking Louisiana

Ronnie Hotz, of Lafayette, says John Carver’s mention in his Wednesday poem about wine from Alsace “reminded me, a third generation off the boat from the land of Luther, of all the problems I’ve had with the pronunciation of my name, especially since moving to Acadiana.

“Waiting in a restaurant queue, I would hear ‘Holtz’ called out. I would reply, ‘No L.’ ‘Sorry, Mr. Noel.’

“Then, after signing the credit card charge, my garçon would say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Hoyt. You come back again.’

“Life would have been made simple if long ago I had changed my name to something very simple and easily pronounced, such as ‘Ask.’

“Then I would hear the maitre d’ sound off: ‘Axe. Party of two. Axe.’”

Another sports cliche?

Tim Remondet, of Reserve, comes up with one for our Pet Peeves Dept.:

“I’ve been watching football games for over 55 years, and now the term ‘the back end of the game’ is being used.

“Head coaches (Les Miles) and sports reporters should call it what it is — ‘late in the fourth quarter!’”

Be prepared

Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, says, “About 50 years ago I encountered an old man in Mississippi and gained his permission to rabbit hunt the thicket on his property.

“I offered him a ‘root beer,’ which he graciously accepted.

“He fumbled for a string in his upper overall pocket and retrieved a ‘church key.’ He promptly struck the can top with it, making a clinking sound, then opened it.

“Next he produced a salt shaker from his right pocket and sprinkled the top of the can. He moistened the lips of his toothless mouth to enjoy his can of libation.

“Being prepared in a dry Mississippi county must have been his motto!”

Hungry Marine

Criss Morgan says our discussion of military rations triggered this memory:

“I got out of the Marine Corps in 1970, and have worn my original dog tags every day since I got out. Along with the dog tags was one of the last P-38 can openers I used while serving in Vietnam. I still use it occasionally.

“We were issued these openers in every case of C-rations, the MRE’s of my generation. Most of the guys complained about most of the ‘C-Rats’ but I liked most of them. Typical of many 18-year-olds, I had a ravenous appetite and most food tasted good to me.

“The boxes contained cans of different foods, from peanut butter to beans and franks. It also included an ‘accessory pack’ that had coffee, powdered tea, a spoon, toilet paper, salt, pepper and a pack of five cigarettes of different brands as well as a book of matches to light them with.

“There was always lively bartering among us non-smokers and smokers to trade for favorite brands or foods.

“My P-38 and dog tags bring back a lot of good memories...and a few bad ones too, sadly.”

Early airman

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, says our tales of old planes “brought to mind stories about my uncle, Maj. Gen. St. Clair Streett, who flew planes in World War I.

“Back then there was no Air Force; it was just a division of the Army.

“He was like Snoopy and the Red Baron.

“In his memoirs and in an article in National Geographic, he describes a flight from New York City to Nome, Alaska, in a plane that sounded like little more than sticks and canvas. They had to stop frequently to patch up the plane or refuel. I think the trip took something like 36 hours.”

Special People Dept.

Laura Campagna celebrates her 96th birthday on Saturday, March 5.

J.L. and Norma Gautreau celebrated their 59th anniversary on Wednesday, March 2.

Fitness addict

“One of my children gave me a Fitbit,” says Marvin Borgmeyer. “I have become so concerned with it not counting my steps if I take it off that I wear it everywhere I go.

“Is this normal, or am I ‘unique?’ This is a rhetorical question!”

Family affair

Francis Celino, The Metairie Miscreant, says, “A reader wrote to say ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way.’

“I say, ‘Where there’s a will there’s an unknown relative.’”

Contacting Smiley

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