Pat Alba, of Metairie, offers this example of naturalism in portraiture:

“My daughter Kim, age 6, showed me her drawing of little sister Cathy.

“After complimenting her handiwork, I asked, ‘But, honey, what are the smudges on her face?’

“She replied matter-of-factly, ‘The chocolate.’”

Rudely interrupted

Jacqueline Carr, of Slidell, says that whenever she dines at Palmettos on Bayou Bonfouca, adjacent to the railroad tracks, she recalls the evening of May 28, 1963.

At Slidell High graduation ceremonies in the football stadium, she was about to deliver the valedictory address:

“I had rehearsed and rehearsed my address. All systems go!

“I rose to give my speech to family and friends in the bleachers.

“However, the Southern Railway’s Crescent was not to play second fiddle to our life-changing event.

“The engineer continuously and systematically laid on the horn, creating a deafening roar, as the Crescent entered the city limits, interrupting the solemnity of the graduation and startling the crowd.

“More than a half-century has passed, yet my déjà vu experience re-occurs while dining at Palmettos as the Amtrak Crescent City once again roars through to the Slidell depot on its nightly mission, with horns blowing.”

Help out Mr. Cool

“At 82, I still want to be cool,” says Val Garon.

“When I was in high school, the exclamation word was ‘Ungawa,’ as in Tarzan’s speech.

“When I was in middle age, I found that the word ‘Cowabunga’ (from the surfers) had become the mot du jour.

“A few years ago, ‘Bazinga’ took over.

“Maybe you, possessing vast vocabulary skills, can relate to me the latest exclamatory ‘buzz word.’”

(Me? I’m still using “Groovy!”)

Redundancy revisited

Marcus Smith offers another example of an unnecessary word added to an initial:

“I’ve been in the automotive business all my working life. VIN in the auto industry means Vehicle Identification Number.

“Everyone says ‘VIN number’ when talking about the VIN.”

Name that tune

Anand Ramachandran is remembering Buckskin Bill Black’s famed “Storyland” morning kids’ show on WAFB-TV.

“I know the opening theme song was ‘The March of the Tin Soldiers,’ but I would like to know the music from the ‘Monday Morning March.’”

Nice People Dept.

Margo Gauthier says, “On Sunday, after shopping at the Walmart Neighborhood Market, I discovered when I got home I had left my cane in the shopping cart.

“I rushed back, and as I stepped out of my car saw two ladies exiting the store with what looked like my cane in their cart.

“I asked if that could be mine, and they said, ‘Yes, we were just reading your name and address you taped on it, so we could bring it to you.’

“What a nice thing for them to want to do. I am so glad I was able to save them from having to find my home.”

Northern nostalgia

The Three Amigos — Haskell Douglas, Wayne Price and Jim Carruth — remind folks who grew up in north Baton Rouge in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s that the North Baton Rouge Reunion will be held at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino Atrium on Thursday, July 9, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m..

They promise cash bars and “no entertainment, just personal conversation.”

Attire is casual wear, “but no muscle shirts.”

And you’re asked to bring non-perishable items such as cans, rice, etc., for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Special guests are members of the Class of 1960 at Istrouma High.

More than books

Pat Hoth, in announcing that the purple bins are back at Kean’s locations, adds that the Book Bazaar of Friends of the LSU Libraries will be March 3-5:

Pat also says, “We take CDs and records in addition to books — but no National Geographics or Reader’s Digest condensed books.”

Special People Dept.

Russell and Eloise Mayeur, of Metairie, celebrate their 70th anniversary on Wednesday, June 3.

Open and shut

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, offers this “Charlie-ism” from his buddy Charlie Carmichael, of Opelousas:

“Even duct tape can’t fix stupid — but it can muffle the sound.”

Lost in translation

Darrell Davis says, “I was recently in Florida, and stopped by a Starbucks for coffee.

“I asked for ‘Two tall, skinny, au lait.’

“The barista laughed and brought me two cups of coffee.

“I told her I wanted two tall, skinny, au lait.

“She said, ‘Oh, I thought you said two tall skinny old ladies.’”

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.