Parker St. Amant, of Lafayette, says, “Back in 1936, my 16-year-old brother Ceeps was hitchhiking all over the country with his best buddy, Charles MacMurdo.

“He decided to hitchhike to San Francisco before school started, but Charles didn’t want to make that trip.

“To my utter amazement he asked me (his 13-year-old baby brother) if I wanted to go with him. I almost choked with excitement and said, ‘YES, but Mother and Dad will never agree to let me go.’

“ ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’ll talk to Dad and he’ll convince Mother that I will take good care of you.’

“Well, Dad did convince Mother, and we thumbed our first ride at the old Mississippi River Bridge.

“Dad had given Ceeps $10, and said to send a telegram if we ran out.

“We returned after 10 days, and Ceeps still had 15 cents in his pocket.

“We slept on the ground at night, and people who picked us up sometimes bought us lunch. We made our other meals from bread, lunch meat and Cokes bought at grocery stores.

“This was the most exciting experience of my life. Mother said she spent the whole time on her knees.”

Life imitates art

Boyd Leake tells of an article in the Natchez, Mississippi, Democrat about the Adams County Sheriff’s Office trying to enforce anti-littering laws by digging through illegal dump sites to find evidence about offenders.

Says Boyd, “When I read that the Sheriff’s Office was digging through garbage looking for items with names on them, I immediately heard the voice of Arlo Guthrie from 1967 (in ‘Alice’s Restaurant’) saying, ‘Kid…we found your name on an envelope under a half ton of garbage…’

“Good to know Officer Obie is still on the job. …”

Taking it slow

Linda Belleu, of Gonzales, says, “My cars have always had a strange reaction to unnecessary honking from impatient drivers behind me.

“When I slow down or stop for a few seconds to observe my surroundings when searching for something, my cars have always moved at a snail’s pace after hearing a car horn, and these people unfortunately lose even more time.

“It may be an inherited reaction or possibly a substitute for another reaction that would involve the display of a certain finger.

“Nice old ladies don’t do that.”

Sorry, Sue

After Bob Downing and I discussed “unforgettable” music in Wednesday’s column, I heard from Sue Sperry, of Metairie:

“Smiley, please don’t subject readers to the agony of stuck-in-head songs. Now I have ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘Pontchartrain Beach’ stuck in my head.

“At least it shoved Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ out of my brain. …”

War songs

For the Fourth of July, music collector Ken Toups, of Lafayette, digs up songs that rallied Americans and the Allies during World Wars I and II.

World War I had “How Ya Gonna Keep ’Em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree)” (1919), and World War II had “Comin’ In On a Wing and a Prayer” (1943), “Bell Bottom Trousers” (1945) and “This Is the Army, Mr. Jones” (1943).

And the more offbeat ones:

From the first war, “If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Good Night, Germany” (1918), “Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers” (1915) and “Look What My Boy Got in France” (1918). (In case you were wondering, he got a wife.)

And World War II gave us “We’re Gonna Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line” (1939), “When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down” (1944) and the Spike Jones classic, “Der Fuehrer’s Face” (1942).

Special People Dept.

  • On Monday, June 30, Erma “Duckie” Kahn celebrates her 95th birthday.
  • Laura Gautreau Morgan, of Donaldsonville, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Monday, June 30.

    Dorothy Mae Berry Fussell is 90 on Monday, June 30, an event celebrated Saturday, June 28, with family and friends.

    Lannie and Bernice Denoux, of Donaldsonville, celebrate their 57th anniversary on Monday, June 30.

Out of sight

Joel d’Aquin Thibodeaux says, “I took my 94-year-old mother, Cleo James, to the eye doctor recently.

“After the doctor examined her eyes and was about to walk out of the exam room, he said, ‘Your eyes are doing very well. And you look much younger than your age!’

“My mom touched her face and said, ‘Oh, but I have all these wrinkles!’

“The doctor reached over to the light switch, turned off the lights and joked, ‘I don’t see any wrinkles!’

“Everyone had a great laugh, and Mom enjoyed talking about it all the way home.”

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.