When Jim Pitchford, in the Wednesday column, lamented the fact that many men seem to have forgotten old rules of dining etiquette (such as not wearing a hat while eating), he got responses from several readers, most of them agreeing with him.

Here are a two comments, offering differing views:

“Papenton” says, “Jim Pitchford’s addendum about ‘elbows on and hats at the table’ reminded me that from my father’s World War I era to my growing up in the ’30s forward, we were not allowed to wear a hat in the house.

“We hung our hat on a rack on the porch before entering.

“Otherwise, we did not eat at my mother’s table.

“In the military, only the member who is on duty (under arms) wears a hat inside any building. That conditioning does not wear off.”

But Jerry Moses presents another side: “On Jim Pitchford’s comment about the lack of hat etiquette:

“It used to irk me, ’til I realized that a lot of overgrown heads are best covered.”

Books for Christmas

If you have discerning readers on your Christmas gift list (OK, maybe not so discerning), you might consider such books as “Smiley! A Laughing Matter” or “Best of Smiley.”

In case you’re interested, I’ll be signing these books on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon at Red Stick Farmers Market.

Copper Alvarez says I’m a welcome addition to the downtown market:

“We don’t usually have corn this time of year.”

Search for a saint

Beverly DeGeorge, of Covington, says, “My daughter Caresce loved the name Tammy.

“When the time came, she picked it for her confirmation name, but the priest said there was no saint named Tammy.

“So the picked Tammany, like the North Shore parish, St. Tammany.

“The priest okayed it.

“We found out years later that Tammany was an Indian chief.

“Caresce named her daughter Tami Ane!”

Name that pear

Jim Firnberg says that although a reader in a recent column said “vegetable pears” was the early name for mirlitons, “my mother was from New Orleans, and she prepared ‘mirlitons’ stuffed with a shrimp mixture 70 years ago.”

When pizza was rare

George Irwin says about our “foods of the ’50s” seminar:

“My memory says there were no pizzas or cheesecakes back then, and no delis except Solari’s on Iberville Street in the French Quarter.

“If you wanted these things you had to visit New York City.”

(But I recall that in Baton Rouge at that time you had pizza at Fleur-de-Lis and Leon’s Italian Kitchen, and deli fare at the late lamented Sigmund’s.)

Getting hammered

I may have come upon the origin of the above expression, which my friends who drink use on occasion:

A reader sent over a note asking “the lady at Baton Rouge’s Main Library’s antique appraisals desk who wanted information about an antique German beer hammer” to call (225) 928-4060.

My computer’s search engine tells me a beer hammer is a bottle opener.

Special People Dept.

Charles E. Peavy Sr., of Livingston, celebrates his 93rd birthday on Thursday, Dec. 4.

Eldon and Donna Watkins Bryce, former Baton Rouge residents now living in Red Oak, Texas, celebrated their 56th anniversary on Friday, Nov. 28.

The big chill

Marcy Ortego, of Lebeau, says she has five brothers and sisters living along La. 361:

“I have a big garden, and hand out vegetables all year long.

“On Monday I picked six heads of lettuce, and washed them to hand out.

“I told my sister Nesie, who lives next door, to come and get hers that night after her and her husband’s nightly ritual of visiting on the golf cart for a beer (or two).

“She left that night with a bag from the icebox in her hand and said, ‘Is this it?’

“I looked over, and seeing the bag, said, ‘Yes.’

“The next afternoon I was looking in the icebox in our outdoor kitchen and noticed a bag.

“It had Nesie’s lettuce and radishes in it!

“I texted her and said, ‘What did you get if your bag of lettuce is still in the icebox?’

“She texted back and said, ‘I found a bag of kids’ clothes, including a hat and gloves.’

“It was my 2-year-old granddaughter Drewe’s clothes she had left over the weekend.

“You can imagine how much we laughed when she dropped off the ice-cold bag of clothes to pick up her lettuce and radishes!”


Judy S. Collins says, “This is a good time of the year to explore ‘Lies my mother told me,’ according to my daughter Jamie.

“She said she looked up online and it is NOT illegal to drive without shoes in Louisiana.

“We were all told that growing up when we learned to drive.”

Contact Smiley

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.