Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, “The mention by Sonny Harris (in the Saturday column) of slow church collections (to give the donor time to increase his offering) reminded me of the late 1950s at St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas.

“The collection baskets had long handles, and the people collecting would pass the basket in front of each person.

“In those days most of the money in the baskets was coins. A couple of high-performing collectors/extortionists would jingle the basket in front of select people to make sure the congregation noticed what they put in the basket.

“After the first time, the ‘offering’ increased, and then other people became targets.”

Accessing bubbly

A number of readers commented on the Saturday story about the honeymooning couple in Tennessee who couldn’t find a corkscrew for their celebratory wine.

The wine was described as “Champagne,” and the readers pointed out that this sparkling wine doesn’t require a corkscrew to open.

Maryanne Smith, of Covington, says the new husband “must have been very nervous on his wedding night and not thinking clearly. Opening a bottle of champagne is not the easiest task, but a corkscrew is not involved!”

James Culotta tells how it’s done: “You grab the cork firmly with one hand and with the other you turn the bottle while pulling on the cork to take it out.”

(It’s the “pop” that signifies “Let the festivities begin!”)

Grand opening

Joan Patin Normand, RN, says, “Reading about not having a wine bottle opener reminded me of when we finally got my mom and dad back in their house in Lakeview after Hurricane Katrina.

“We were getting ready to celebrate our first family dinner together in their newly rebuilt home on Thanksgiving, only to discover that there was no wine opener.

“I, being the orthopedic nurse that I am, saw a drill bit and screws, and a pair of pliers still sitting on the counter in the laundry room. It worked great! If there is a will, there is a way!”

College criminal

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says, regarding the story about a 1960 Tennessee honeymoon, that liquor stores in Tennessee were state-licensed but not state-owned.

“In Virginia, liquor stores were state-owned in 1960. At that time I was a student at UT in Knoxville, and worked a co-op job in Virginia.

“Virginia had some of the lowest liquor prices in the U.S., whereas Knoxville was still dry. When I returned to school each three months, I brought a supply of booze with me, plus a few bottles I could sell to other students at a profit.

“One day another student came to my dorm room in Neyland Stadium and asked, ‘Is this where the bootlegger stays?’ Needless to say, that was the end of that business.”

Jive talking

Frank Fasullo says, “Reading about old disc jockeys and my favorite, Ravin’ Dave (aka Roger Davison) reminded me about the words he used each night when he opened his program (on Baton Rouge’s WIBR).

“I don’t remember it exactly, but it started off, ‘This is Dave to rave over the tunes that you crave; a little pitter patter, smoking and joking, playing and swaying...’, etc.”

Dave’s son Steve says, “He was rapping before there was rap.”

Going to town

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, “I was watching my favorite ABC news correspondent, Linzie Janis, on Tuesday evening reporting on the tornado that touched down in Prairieville.

“She mentioned ‘downtown Prairieville.’

“I grew up with a Prairieville address, although I actually lived in the suburb of Hobart, and I never knew Prairieville had a downtown; or even a town.”

Special People Dept.

Hilda Husband, of Baton Rouge, originally from Morgan City, celebrates her 105th birthday on Tuesday, March 1.

Pershing Mire, of Gonzales, celebrated his 96th birthday on Monday, Feb. 29. He is a World War II veteran.

B.L. “Red” Yates celebrated his 92nd birthday on Saturday, Feb. 27. He is a World War II veteran and Silver Star recipient.

On Tuesday, March 1, Gustave “Gus” Lamperez Jr., of New Iberia, celebrates his 90th birthday. He is a World War II Navy veteran.

Listen carefully

The moral of Marsha R.’s story is “be sure you’re hearing the correct word in your conversation.”

She says, “Just got back from a trip to Vietnam. Our tour director, from Wales, entertained us with stories of life as a tour leader.

“He recalled the time he got a phone call asking if he could lead a bicycle tour of Denmark.

“He thought about it, and realized that Denmark is actually very flat and would be an easy bicycle tour, so he agreed.

“When he got there he learned he had signed on to lead a Viking Tour of Denmark.”

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.