This story by Pierre Hjartberg, of New Orleans, ends with an example of keeping your sense of humor under the most trying conditions:

“Several years ago I played a tennis match against Rick Fisher at Aurora Tennis Club on the West Bank. It was an important match; I don’t believe I had ever beaten him in a match that counted towards our rankings.

“I was fortunate that evening, and got him to match point. I was serving. I tossed the ball in the air for the serve, but before I hit it there was big implosion in the electrical system and the lights went out.

“I followed through with my serve, and while neither of us could see where the ball landed, I hollered ‘Ace!’ and walked away in total darkness as the champion!

“A few months later Katrina hit. When we returned to New Orleans after a few days in Texas, I went running as a I usually do and my lap took me by Rick’s house.

“There on the sidewalk sat his refrigerator, and on the side facing me, in big red painted letters, was ‘PIERRE NEVER ACED ME!’”

Keep it short

Readers address those verbal hiccups in our language:

Mike McGrail, of Harahan, says, “I can give three more suggestions for shortening conversations. Eliminate the use of ‘if you will,’ ‘having said that,’ and ‘at the end of the day.’”

Alien no-shows

“You only THOUGHT you’d put the flying saucer story to bed in the Thursday column,” says Everett Powers.

“There’s another WLCS story I remember, possibly related to the one you’ve been telling. The timing seems about right to me.

“In any case, there was something of a national hysteria about flying saucer sightings, and WLCS decided to take advantage of it by inviting the flying saucers to visit Baton Rouge so our citizens could welcome them and assure them we meant no harm.

“A time and place was announced — late one day at City Park — and thousands of teens showed up for the event, which was broadcast live.

“I was too young to go, but I sure listened on the radio. Needless to say, the flying saucers were a no-show. I’d love to hear a report from someone who was actually there.”

Regal remembrance

Jerry Berggren, adding to our discussion of old New Orleans beers, says, “I don’t know when Regal beer stopped being produced, but I do remember well it being available in the spring of 1966.

“As a student at (then) Southeastern Louisiana College, I sadly can’t forget 10-cent Regal draft beer night in Hammond. It’s amazing how hung over one can get on a dollar.

“It also reminds me of how brutal Coach Earl Nolan’s 7:30 a.m. phys ed classes were.”

Grand opener

George G. Francke, of Mandeville, says in addition to church keys, “military veterans remember another handy gadget — the hinged metal can opener that came in every C-ration pack.

“It had a small hole in it, and many of us carried one on our key chains for many years. It disappeared with the introduction of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).”

Teacher appreciation

Millie Matherne, of Gonzales, says when she caught a typo in a newspaper article, husband Pat commented, “Wow, your error-finding eyes still work after all these years.”

She replied, “Yes, even with glasses and 30 years away from the classroom.”

Millie adds, “It reminded me to send a shout-out to my Lutcher High School typing teacher, Karen Poirrier, for being such an outstanding teacher and mentor!”

Special People Dept.

Lela Dedon celebrates her 96th birthday on Friday, Feb. 19. A longtime Baton Rouge resident, she’s currently living in Bogalusa.

Dot Mayer, of Metairie, celebrates her 95th birthday on Friday, Feb. 19.

Doris Landry celebrates her 92nd birthday on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Ann Palermo Ruiz, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 90th birthday on Friday, Feb. 19.

Ralph “Putsy” and Clare Levy Caballero celebrate their 68th anniversary on Friday, Feb. 19.

George and Roberta Kelly, of Denham Springs, celebrate 65 years of marriage on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Robert “Bob” and Betty Watts, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 61st anniversary on Friday, Feb. 19.

Charles and Mary Hulbert celebrate their 57th anniversary on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Ewww, gross!

Mickey Christensen says, “I am a bit slow in commenting on throws people have used or caught during parades.

“When a group of us rode in the Spanish Town parade for several years, I would buy a bag of plastic cockroaches.

“When you hand one to girls asking for throws, the expression on their faces was priceless.

“The comments they made I won’t repeat here, because this message may be seen in mixed company.”

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.