In our Nostalgia Corner, Joan Waguespack Barre, of Metairie, recalls growing up in Vacherie:

“My grandfather, Dr. Lionel O. Waguespack, began practicing medicine in the early 1900s. He traveled in a horse-driven buggy and later owned one of the first automobiles in the area. He treated most of his patients in his office, but visited those who were too ill to leave the house. He looked for a white flag on a mailbox, which indicated someone in the household was ill.

“In the rural area, homes were heated by butane gas. When there was a need to have the storage tank filled, a red flag was placed on the mailbox for the fuel man.

“Rural groceries did not stock fresh vegetables, fruit or butchered meat. Once a week Mr. Chifici from Donaldsonville came down the road tooting the horn of his truck, alerting the housewives of his arrival with fresh produce. Mr. Cliff Becnel was the traveling butcher.

“I sat on the front porch many a day watching for these vendors so I could let Mama know. I was always rewarded with an apple by Mr. Chifici.”

Staying grounded

Terri Karam Willett comments on my mention of avoiding jumping activities, from skydiving to trampolines:

“Regarding your recent mentions of anxiety-producing activities involving heights, just remember Hubby Hunter’s sage advice: ‘Darlin’, if it’s higher than corn pullin’ or lower than tater diggin’, I don’t want nothin’ to do with it!’”

Bucket list

Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, says, “Patrick Howard’s reaction to a Lea’s Lunch Room pie (in the Tuesday column) was the second in recent weeks where a contributor said he/she was ready to die because of an unbelievable, highly satisfying, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“In the early ’80s it happened to me in Jackson, Mississippi, where I attended a performance by the legendary singer Ray Charles.

“As I left the theater, I said, ‘I am now ready to die. I have seen Ray Charles LIVE!’ I stayed pumped up for days realizing how blessed I had been.

“Makes me wonder what kind of similar experiences your readers might share.”

Which reminds me

The thrill of catching Ray Charles live, described by Dudley Lehew, reminds me of some of my favorite live musical moments.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez starred in the Rolling Thunder Revue when it came rolling into the LSU Assembly Center in 1976. It was back in my music reviewing days, so I got paid for going!

Then there was Leonard Cohen in 2013 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans, possibly the best single concert I’ve ever attended.

I’ve seen B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Randy Newman, Johnny Rivers, Linda Ronstadt and many others, from Tom Jones and Elvis to Kiss and the Sex Pistols.

But my most memorable musical moment, without question, came when I got to lead the Monday Morning March on Buckin Bill’s “Storyland.”

Model search

D.C. Jensen says in 1994 he donated two models — a B-29 bomber and the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) — to the military museum at Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard.

After a visit with his daughter to Chalmette to view the site of the Battle of New Orleans and check out the spaghetti and meatballs at Rocky & Carlos, they stopped by Jackson Barracks.

He knew the facility, in the Ninth Ward, had been devastated by the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, and figured his models were long gone.

But he was delighted to learn they had been saved, and that Old Ironsides had been used in a recent War of 1812 exhibit.

D.C. says the historic barracks, dating from 1834, and its museum are open to the public, and well worth a visit.

Pardon me...

After former New Orleans radio guy Ed Clancy mentioned an infamous pun about Roy Rogers, I offered to repeat it if anyone hadn’t heard it.

I didn’t hear from anyone, but I hate to leave a really bad pun untold. So here it is:

(Warning to younger readers: to get it, you have to know not only Roy but also Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”)

Here’s a version by Frank Fronczek:

Roy Rogers, after his successful alligator hunt in Louisiana, had a new pair of boots made from the gator hide.

He left them on the back porch of his ranch house overnight to air out, and a cougar mauled them.

In the morning, he angrily rode off with his rifle to hunt down the beast.

Dale Evans saw him returning with a dead cougar draped across Trigger’s back, and she sang out: ‘Pardon me, Roy, is that the catwhochewedyour new-shoes?’”

(Ed’s version is a more humane one, in which Roy’s sidekick Gabby Hayes asks the question after spotting a cougar in the distance. The pun, however, is just as bad.)

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.