I was saddened to hear of the death of one of my favorite contributors: Clarence Berteau, of Gonzales. But I was pleased to learn from his son Jeff that he went out in style:

“While going through his papers, we found a lot of clippings from your column that he sent in. We also found a letter he wrote to our family, which ended with these words:

“I cherish the friendship and companionship of all my classmates, customers and family, and hope I am remembered fondly. I am sorry if I have offended anyone and beg forgiveness of any whom I may have offended. Do not weep for me nor send flowers. Rather, take someone you love for dinner, and have one for me. When I meet my God, I hope he judges me with more compassion than justice.”

Which reminds me

I was discussing epitaphs with a friend (I don’t remember how the subject came up), and he said he had already selected his, from a song by Jimmy Buffett (not someone you might think of first when solemn subjects come up).

From “He Went to Paris,” he picked this line: “Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic. But I had a good life all the way.”

Oysters and irony

Bob Downing says the effort in the Legislature to allow the sale of unpasteurized milk reminds him of this story:

“I was having lunch at Mike Anderson’s with an old buddy.

“I said, ‘We need to get our raw oysters now because May doesn’t have an R in it.’

“He said, ‘Don’t worry; they pasteurize the oysters now so that they are safe.’ ”

Bob thought of how ironic it would be to live in a state that pasteurized its oysters, but not its milk. …

Lose the fork

Rose S. says, “With all the comments about ‘pizza pie,’ let me share my memory of my first one:

“Some of the girls and I went from work to Leon’s Italian Kitchen on Weller Avenue.

“Not one of us had ever eaten any, so we each ordered a slice of pie, which was brought to us on a plate, along with flatware.

“We proceeded to use knife and fork to eat it.

“Mr. Leon (Lungaro) came over to our table and very politely instructed us on how to eat ‘pizza pie,’ then sent each of us another slice.”

Equal time

Alex Chapman, of Ville Platte, says we’ve devoted a lot of space to grits without talking about another famous breakfast side, hashbrown potatoes:

“I still recall my ‘first time’ at the Pitt Grill in Lafayette in 1973 around 2 a.m.

“I put some ketchup on them, and it was love at first sight.

“I don’t recall any law that says we can’t enjoy both grits and hashbrowns.

Pests of summer

Helen Rankin says, “As I was leaving church Easter morning, there was a love bug couple on my car door. The next day on my patio was a big stinging caterpillar.

“Both seem to be here early, since they do not usually arrive until June. Can summer be far behind?”

(If you had been bitten by a mosquito, you would have experienced a “summer trifecta.”)

Worthy causes

The American Heart Association benefits from a “Jump Rope for Heart” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 2, at Twin Oaks Elementary School. Call (225) 275-6620.

Looking for stuff

Judy Benitez says residents of Iris Domestic Violence Center keep valuables, medicine, etc., in very small lockers and need larger ones:

“We have asked around in hopes of finding a school or business that is refurbishing and has full-size or even half-size school-type lockers, which would allow the women and children much more space for their belongings.”

If you can help, contact her at (225) 389-3001, ext. 207, or judy@stopdv.org.

Special People Dept.

  • Ethel Brockbank Dinkel, of House of Grace Hospice in Watson, celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday, April 28. A transplanted Yankee, her favorite song is “On Wisconsin,” which she ends with “Go, Tigers!”
  • Robert E. Lee, formerly of Baton Rouge and now a resident of Ponchatoula, celebrated his 96th birthday on Wednesday, April 23.

    Marguerite Hathway celebrated her 91st birthday on Monday, April 28.

    Estelle S. Wall, a resident of both Liberty, Miss., and Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday on Tuesday, April 29.

Missing person

George Lane, this column’s religious commentator, files this report:

“In reading the list of those attending the canonization ceremony in Rome Sunday, I noted that the name who would best represent Louisiana in Rome was omitted: Deacon John.”

Just dessert

I’ve pretty much wound up my seminar on misheard song lyrics, but I just had to add this one from L.P. Miller, who thought “I’ve grown accustomed to her face” was “I’ve thrown a custard in her face.”

“That was the end of our romance,” he says.

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.