Mention of the days of counter checks, before numbered bank accounts, brought these recollections from Marsha R.:

“You brought to mind one of the first scams when banks began using personalized checks, each with its own account number.

“Before that we just grabbed an unnumbered ‘generic’ counter check or deposit slip from the stack and filled it out.

“Then the bank moved to those individual account numbered checks.

“On the first day a wily customer visited banks, leaving his own printed deposit slips on their counters.

“At the end of the day he emptied his very full bank account, thanks to all those generous, oblivious depositors.

“Those counter checks allowed me to enroll in college.

“I registered at Southeastern, but I was too clueless to understand I would have to pay my fees immediately.

“So I simply filled out a counter check on a bank in Covington. Then I went home and told my mother she needed to go to that bank and open an account so my check would not bounce.

“She was not as impressed with my creativity as I was.”

Help from a stranger

Earl C. Johnson, of Baton Rouge, tells this story:

“In the late ’90s my wife and I attended a funeral at a small Catholic church outside Napoleonville. We did not know the deceased; she was the mother of my wife’s co-worker.

“At the church steps the greeter said, ‘Good morning. Will you be a pallbearer?’

“Taken aback, I said, ‘Certainly I will.’

“Although the beautiful church was almost empty, it was a reverent service, and I was honored to be included.

“My father, a Southern Baptist deacon for 52 years, was impressed with my experience as a Catholic ceremony pallbearer.”

Save the burgers

Larry Sylvester, of Baton Rouge, says, “As far as I am aware, there has been no movement towards saving Dearman’s soda fountain and hamburger place. Therefore, it would be your duty as a public servant to organize such a movement. Hamburger eaters would thank you.”

I’m a great fan of locally-owned businesses, and locally-made hamburgers, and Dearman’s had some of the best, plus a ’50s high school vibe that appealed to me.

But I’m going to have to let the free market work on this one, Larry. However, thanks for thinking I could influence anything...

Where there’s a wheel...

Speaking of hamburgers, Kerry Palmer, of Lafayette, tells this story of youthful ingenuity:

“Your reader who once used his car as a church key reminded me of a situation some friends and I from Gonzales found ourselves in.

“Back in the late ’60s a group of us were going to make a day of it at Thunderbird Beach (remember that place?).

“We piled everything for a good time of beach, hamburgers and sun into my friend’s pickup truck and took off for the beach.

“When it came time to cook the burgers, we had the kerosine burner, but nothing to cook on.

“No one had remembered the cookware — but did you know a ’67 Ford pickup truck’s hubcap makes a great frying pan?”

Which reminds me

Mention of hubcaps and burgers reminds me of New Orleans’ legendary Clover Grill, an all-night, extremely colorful diner at Bourbon and Dumaine. They use a real automobile hubcap to cover their meat patties while they’re preparing hamburgers.

Say what?

Marvin Borgmeyer says, “As I watch all the basketball games, I am reminded of the famous quote from a player from North Carolina State some years back: ‘I can go to my right or my left; I am amphibious!’”

Scrambled Oofs?

“Although we haven’t named any potholes things like ‘Brad Pitt,’ we do have some odd family code names for objects,” says Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut:

“I noticed a bowl of eggs in the fridge. Each egg had ‘HBO’ written on it.

“I asked my daughter what that was about. Since she was studying French, she had named them ‘Hard Boiled Oeufs.’

“Because she was feeling silly, she pronounced the French word for eggs as ‘Oof!’ while ‘punching’ herself in the belly and jumping backward.

“Now we all call the eggs Hard Boiled Oofs.”

Snappy patter

Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, waxes nostalgic about old Baton Rouge radio:

“In the ’50s and ’60s Diggy Doo ruled the air at WXOK. He injected his humor into the advertisements.

“My favorite: ‘If your shoe soles are so thin that if you step on a slice of gum and can tell what flavor it is, you need a new pair of shoes. Go to Acme Finance; you’ll walk out with so much money you’ll think your pockets have the mumps.’

“Another quip told why he didn’t share secrets with so-and-so: ‘He’s like a worn-out refrigerator; he can’t keep nothing!’”

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.