Pete Hittle, of Geismar, says our item about crowds singing the National Anthem brought this to mind:

“I’m new to south Louisiana since September, and this past Mardi Gras was my first.

“Having been born, raised and spent my first 58 years in Sioux City, Iowa, I was taught that when the flag came by you’re on your feet, your hat is off and your mouth is shut.

“That simply didn’t happen at any of the six parades I attended in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“One of the most vivid memories of my life in Iowa was of an acquaintance of my father’s who served in World War II as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 and was a double amputee as a result of a crash landing.

“Ken lived not far from us, and attended the many high school homecoming parades in the fall, so common to any Iowa town.

“In his later years, Ken road a wheelchair to the parades, as it was difficult for him to stand for long periods on his prosthetic legs.

“At one parade, as the flag passed I saw this unassuming hero remove his hat, and using all the strength in his septuagenarian arms, push himself upward in the chair.

“How nice it would be if we’d take a moment when that flag passes and remember guys like Ken from Sioux City.”

Early-bird boy

Pat Alba, of Metairie, says, “Back in the days when children played unattended in the neighborhood, two youngsters (a brother and sister ages 8 and 6) knocked on my door and asked plaintively, ‘Do any children live here?’

“They were newcomers on the block.

“I replied warmly, ‘No, but you can come see me anytime.’

“The little boy took me up on it at 7 the following morning.

“Sometimes I forget that children tend to be literal minded.”

Which reminds me

The situation described by Pat Alba happened some time ago, but it’s still going on today.

My daughter Tammy says just after she and husband Boyce moved into their new home in Long Beach, Mississippi, there was a knock on the door.

She opened it to find a little girl standing there, asking, “Do you have a little girl I can play with?”

As it happened, Tammy’s granddaughter Leah was visiting, so the answer was “Yes.”

And a new friendship was born.

Earworms revisited

I’ve heard from many readers who also suffer from songs that get stuck in your head:

“20th Century Pop” gives the history of ‘Those Were the Days,’ which a reader mentioned:

“Originally an old Russian song, it was given an English translation by Gene Raskin and soon appeared on a 1962 LP, ‘Folk Matinee’ by The Limelighters.

“A few years later Paul McCartney heard the song and produced an Apple records version sung by 28-year-old Welsh singer Mary Hopkin (no ‘s’ at the end of her name).

“It became a hit all over the world, reaching No. 1 in the UK and the USA.”

Suzanne Orr says, “My latest earworms are alternating ‘Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay’ by Otis Redding and ‘I’m Beginning to See the Light’ by Bobby Darin.

“But maybe we shouldn’t think about this too much … we might think our sleeping brains are trying to tell us something?”

Ed Clancy, RTSH (Recovering Talk Show Host), of New Orleans, says, “Having been in radio for many decades I am no stranger to the earworm.

“For many of those years I worked for rock and roll stations before getting into talk radio.

“My head has been stuck on a bunch of songs over the years, but the champion of them all is a surprise to me, and I bet to you, because it’s fairly recent: ‘Jose Cuervo (You Are a Friend of Mine)’ by Shelly West from 1983.

“I’ll bet there are lots of people who have been bitten by the Jose Cuervo bug (it’s in the bottom of the bottle, you know, but I mean the song).”

Special People Dept.

Maude Landry Amorello celebrated her 93rd birthday on Monday, March 2. She is a retired school bus driver.

Clarence and Shirley Stafford Villar celebrate their 60th anniversary on Wednesday, March 4.

Why the teacher cried

Melvin Daigle’s tells of a school in the Frozen Nawth:

“The teacher, helping pupils put on their boots, was having trouble with one little boy’s boots, which didn’t want to go on.

“By the time the second boot was on she had worked up a sweat.

“Then he said, ‘Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.’ Which they were.

“She worked them off and, pulling and tugging, finally got them on the right feet.

“Then the little boy said, ‘These are not my boots.’

“‘Why didn’t you say so?’ she cried as she struggled to pull them off.

“He said, just as she got the boots off, ‘They’re my brother’s, but Mom said I could wear them today.’

“Finally she got the boots back on, and was helping him with his coat when she asked, ‘Where are your mittens?’

“He replied, ‘I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.’”

Contact 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.