Carl Spillman’s note struck a chord, because a favorite weekend activity is piling in the Jeep and heading off to somewhere we’ve never been before — a boudin shop in Jennings or a barbecue joint in Woodruff, a shrimp place in Delcambre or a cracklings stand in Port Barre.

Carl describes a gent with the same yen for the open road:

“The article (in the Thursday column) about old-time grocery store owners reminds me of a retired gentleman I met many years ago who had spent over 50 years working 12-hour days seven days a week in his small store down deep in Cajun country.

“After the conversation died down and people left, I asked him what he did every day now that he was retired.

“He said he got up at about 8 a.m., got into the car and went exploring.

“I asked him where he went. He said he just picked a road and went down it.

“After a bit he said he had to go. I asked him what was on today’s agenda. He was planning on driving 50 miles and exploring La. 42.

“I will never forget his enthusiasm in the way he said it.

“The conversation made my day, and I hope the guy is still ‘exploring.’”

Sharing a pie

After Keith Horcasitas told of a memorable breakfast at New Orleans’s Camellia Grill, I was reminded of a incident there:

In the ’90s, when Lady Katherine lived in Uptown New Orleans, before we were married, I visited on weekends.

On Sunday evenings we’d catch the St. Charles Avenue streetcar up to Carrollton for dessert at Camellia Grill — chocolate pecan pie, heated on the grill by one of the wisecracking waiters and topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

She was digging into her pie when she noticed two young women next to her at the counter eyeing the over-the-top dessert.

From their remarks to each other, it was obvious they were British, and we guessed (correctly) that they were tourists.

Katherine turned to them, held up her plate, and said, “Here, have a bite.”

They were taken aback, and tried to refuse, but finally gave in and dug in.

Of course they ordered two slices of pie and ice cream — and told us later they had never experienced such generosity and kindness to strangers as they had found in New Orleans.

We left feeling full — and not just from the pie...

Give ’em the bird

Knowing my fondness for the official bird of Spanish Town, the plastic pink flamingo, Al Bethard, of Lafayette, sent over a long article in The New York Times about the death of Don Featherstone, who invented “that flagrant totem of suburban satisfaction and, in later years, post-modern irony.”

Continuing to wax eloquent, the Times’ Margalit Fox wrote, “Less hideous than a garden gnome, more diplomatic than a lawn jockey, the plastic flamingo has been flaunted in front yards by the millions; feted in films, on television and in song; and held up as an object of impassioned pride and equally impassioned prejudice.”

What she said...

Sunday fun

Ronald Scioneaux, of St. James, adds to our list of great old watering holes with two places: the Rainbow Inn in Pierre Part — “lotsa food, lotsa dancing, especially on Sunday afternoons in the ’40s and ’50s” — and the Golden Peacock on La. 1 in Paincourtville, where I’d go on Sundays with my Istrouma High buddies and dance with Cajun beauties as their parents, grandparents and siblings (and probably their priest) looked on with some disapproval.

Thank-you note

Shelley A. Prescott says when her dogs, Blackie and Oscar, dug their way out of the yard they wound up on busy Perkins Road.

She says the folks at Louisiana Nursery caught Oscar, but Blackie was hit by a motorist who didn’t stop:

“When I found Blackie, a sweet lady whose name I didn’t catch came running out from Ann’s Tailor to help me.

“Without a second thought, she drove us to nearby All Pets Hospital, where Blackie died in my arms.

“I just want her to know how much it meant to me that she stopped to help in the midst of my panic.

“I’d also like to thank All Pets for their care and concern, and the staff at Louisiana Nursery for their attempt to catch Blackie and for hanging on to my sweet Oscar.”

Special People Dept.

Millie and Don Louis Broussard, of Lafayette, celebrate their 72nd anniversary on Monday, July 20. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel with service in World War II and the Korean war.

Take it along

Kelly Simoneaux says, “Years ago the funeral procession of a very wealthy Baton Rouge resident happened to be passing by a local bank when a Brinks armored car, leaving the bank, became involved in the procession.

“People down the street, seeing the armored car three cars behind the hearse, may have had cause to wonder if you really CAN ‘take it with you.’”

How to 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.