Larry Mann says, “Your item about the pilots and grits (in the Tuesday column) reminded me of the Honor Air flight that I went on to Washington for the day with 91 other World War II veterans.
“Shortly after takeoff they served us breakfast, and the pilot got on the PA system and said, ‘Don’t you all forget to take your morning pills.’”
Pat Alba, of Metairie, says mention of Woodville, Mississippi, as a site for quick marriages reminds her that it was also a site for quick speeding tickets:
“On a Sunday afternoon in the ’50s, my friend Jack and I, both LSU students, were driving home to north Louisiana when a friendly Mississippi state policeman informed us we were traveling 5 mph over the speed limit, and escorted us to the county courthouse in Woodville.”
They didn’t have the $14.75 cash to pay the fine, and this led, after considerable discussion and argument, to a call to Jack’s banker in Oak Ridge to get a check approved.
“Meanwhile,” says Pat, “a group of elderly bystanders, who had been enjoying the drama, passed the hat and offered to bail us out! (We gratefully declined.)”
Darrell Davis, of Baton Rouge, says our stories about the days before GPS reminds him that “we have all spent a lot of time looking for places ‘you can’t miss.’”
Here’s his “getting directions” tale:
“When I was in high school in rural Oklahoma, a carload of us kids followed our team to an away basketball game.
“It was a moonless night, and we became lost traveling down a ‘slightly improved’ country highway.
“Finally we came upon a ranch house. An older cowboy came to the door holding a shotgun.
“We asked him if we had passed Big Cabin yet. He looked one direction and then the other and said, ‘It depends on which way you are going.’”
“One night a few days ago,” says Mary Pramuk, of Baton Rouge, “I was rudely awakened by a train horn — not your ordinary everyday sound, but one with a rhythmic ‘Shave and a haircut, two bits’ beat that went on and on through about four back-to-back repeats.
“It finally stopped and reverted to an occasional hoot, usually used at crossings, until the train was out of the Southdowns area.
“If you ever lived near train tracks, you probably stopped noticing train hoots, but this? Surely it wasn’t a cow on the tracks.
“If this culprit just wants to practice his horn, let’s hope he waits until he is out in the middle of nowhere, not Southdowns.”
The dynasty begins
Carl Spillman says the talk in the sports world of “Peyton and Eli Manning being over the hill and too old for football” brings back this memory:
“One time after LSU had beaten Ole Miss, a brother-in-law in Mississippi told me they had a high school kid coming up who would beat our butt.
“He was talking about Archie. Does that make you feel old?”
Early but cool
Paul Mauffray, a Louisiana native, is a conductor who says he was doing research on our cultural history when he discovered an unpublished American comic operetta about Tabasco sauce, ‘The Burlesque Opera Tabasco,’ by George W. Chadwick. It was performed in New Orleans in 1894:
“In the process of reconstructing this music from the manuscripts, I have been performing excerpts with various orchestras.
“One of the funny things about this show is that they were already using the term ‘razzle dazzle’ then. And I didn’t even notice how odd this next bit was until someone pointed it out to me.
“In one of the last lines of the show, in reply to the question if a ‘pie is alright’ they actually sing that ‘it is quite out of sight!’
“Out of sight? And here I thought that was from the 1960s or ’70s.”
Special People Dept.
Florence “Bonnie” Hebert, of New Orleans, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Jimmy and Billie Langlois celebrated their 59th anniversary on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Preston Ingram says, “My friend Jim Clark described one of our co-workers: ‘When he dresses up for a special occasion, he looks like he rolled down a hill and got run over by a pickup truck.’”
Noel Boudreaux, of Mandeville, shares a put-down that could only come from a musician: “He’s about as useless as a spit valve on a guitar.”
Marvin Borgmeyer says, “As we approach the end of the professional football season, I wanted to pass along a comment I heard about why women do not play football:
“There is no way you can get 11 women to go out in public together wearing the same outfit!”
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.