When I lived in New Roads for a few years in the ’80s, I became friends with Dr. Jim Christopher, his wife Dianne, and their three children.
Jim’s death on Sunday reminded me of the many good times we had:
Marching in our tuxes down Bourbon Street in a second line to celebrate the life of our friend, the late potato chip king Ron Zappe.
On my first and only duck hunt, sitting in the blind in the cold rain, and telling Jim, “No duck ever did anything to me.”
Celebrating New Roads Mardi Gras with Jim, Tony Chachere, Don Williams and a colorful cast of characters.
Jim’s daughter Leslie Martin, a New Orleans attorney, tells these two stories about her dad:
Knowing his body was going to the LSU Medical School, she and her two physician siblings, Jay and Regan, wanted to do something to let the students there know of Jim’s lifelong devotion to medical education.
So Jim arrived at the school in New Orleans bearing this message (written in Sharpie): “Still teaching after death.”
Leslie says just before Jim died she asked him if he would send a sign he had arrived safely in the after-life.
He replied, “Check the broccoli.”
The broccoli crop in his backyard garden had gone to seed days earlier.
But when Leslie and Regan checked it on his birthday Wednesday, there were, Leslie says, “florets all over the garden — a whole new crop was coming in.”
Bobby Tullos, of Denham Springs, says, “During the Christmas holidays, all the women were sitting around talking about ‘the good ol’ days’ back in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
“All of a sudden my 12-year-old great-granddaughter perked up and said, ‘Y’all lived back in the 1900s?’”
Jimmy Wall adds to our “small world” story collection:
“I was stationed in Korea from March 1970 to April 1971.
“At Camp Coiner in Seoul, South Korea, I was lying on my bed in my barracks when a soldier came to the door looking for Charlie Cockern.
“I got up, went to the door — and did a double-take.
“I said ‘Skeeter’ and he replied ‘Jimmy.’
“Skeeter and I had gone to Fairfields Elementary from first grade to the sixth — 1956 to 1963. We had not seen each other since 1963.
“My NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) was from a small town in south Louisiana, Gueydan.
“After Korea, I went with him to Gueydan to put a duck blind in, and met his sister. We wrote to each other when I was sent to Vietnam.
“That was 43 years and three children ago.”
Gene Dartez says senior golfers who play at LSU on Tuesdays and Thursdays are planning a February celebration at Walk Ons on Burbank for LSU golf pro Mike Johnson, slated to retire on March 1.
Says Gene, “We would appreciate a plug through your Geezer Network to round up some of the non-regular members and active ones who don’t play in the winter.”
The contact people are Dave Van Netta, (225) 281-2164, or Bruce Weaver, (225) 753-5529.
(By the way, Gene, what makes you think I have a “Geezer Network?”)
Art on the air
Bruce Morgan says Baton Rouge’s WHYR Community Radio, 96.9 FM, launches an “Art Scouts” show Saturday, Jan. 10, at 10:30 a.m.
He says the half-hour show features “conversations with interesting artists of all kinds, from fine art to film, from tattoos to theatrics.”
Janoma Acy “Ms. Nomie” Lambert, of Sorrento, says the birth of little Hayden Jane Landry means she’s a maternal great-great-grandmother and Jeanne Eve Richard is a paternal great-great-grandmother. Great-grandfathers, maternal and paternal respectively, are Woody S. Lambert and James “Dobbs” Landry Jr.
Special People Dept.
Inez “Nez” Landry, of Donaldsonville, celebrates her 95th birthday on Sunday, Jan. 11.
Lucy LeBlanc Kadair, longtime Baton Rouge resident, celebrates her 93rd birthday on Saturday, Jan. 10.
Verl Luzena, of Baker, celebrated his 93rd birthday on Dec. 29. He is a World War II veteran.
Hubert and Georganne Clotworthy, of New Orleans, celebrate 69 years of marriage on Saturday, Jan. 10.
The healing arts
I can’t mention my New Roads friend, the late Dr. Jim Christopher, without telling this little story:
He was my physician when I lived there for a while in the late ’80s.
One day I visited Jim’s office for a checkup, and told him, “I’ve been having headaches in the morning.”
He replied, “It’s that cheap Scotch you’re drinking.”
I answered, “But it’s YOUR Scotch and I’m drinking it at YOUR house!”
He calmly replied, “Well, bring over some better stuff next time.”
Talk to Smiley
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.