Mary Brown, of New Orleans, says, "When my then-fiancé and I went to City Hall to get our marriage license back in 1991, the clerk asked us where we were born.

“ ‘Puerto Rico,' said I, and 'New Orleans,' said Billy.

"The clerk answered, 'OK, Mr. Brown, fill out this paperwork.' Turning to me, she said, 'But you’re a foreigner. You have to go to the other building.'

"I was appalled, and promptly informed her that everyone born in Puerto Rico is a U.S. citizen. She stood her ground.

"We went back and forth and the discussion escalated a bit, till Billy intervened: 'Ma’am, if she’d been born in Ohio, would she have to go to the other building?'

"The clerk, exasperated, almost shouted at us: 'YES! All foreigners.'

"We went to the other building."

How cool is that?

Bill Cotten ("Born and raised in Baton Rouge, but recently moved to South Carolina from Gonzales") says our recent mention of "ice boxes" brought back some memories:

"In the late ’30s and through the ’40s my family still had an ice box (I was born in 1933).

"The ice was delivered by truck, and the ice man would carry the block of ice with tongs and put it in the top section of the ice box, on a tray.

"As the ice melted, the water would drain down through a tube and through the wooden floor to underneath the house.

"Ice cubes were made with a lead-weighted ice tray, placed upside down on top of the ice. When the tray worked its way completely down, it could be removed and the cubes scraped from the block of ice.

"I still call my refrigerator the ice box, and it will always be the ice box."

Blame game

Shooter Mullins offers this explanation to a recent problem:

"One of your readers reported that birds were flocking to the bird feeder but refused to eat bread left on the ground.

"I'm not an accredited ornithologist, but until one comes along you might suggest that the answer likely has something to do with cats."

Gift of song

Mary Ann Mistric, of Baton Rouge, says, "Carl and I appreciate the Christmas carolers who surprised us on Southwind Drive Dec. 11.

"We have no idea who they were, but they sang beautifully and really brought the spirit of Christmas to us."

Special People Dept.

  • Mattie Lee Jarrell celebrates her 102nd birthday Dec 25. She has been on the ushers' board at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church more than 81 years.
  • Mary Maxwell, of Liberty, Mississippi, celebrates her 101st birthday Dec. 31.
  • Bessie Labat, of Des Allemands, turned 100 on Friday, Dec. 13, an event celebrated with family and friends Saturday, Dec. 14.
  • Bettie Dyson celebrates her 93rd birthday Saturday, Dec. 21.
  • Robert T. Nethken celebrates his 93rd birthday Sunday, Dec. 22. He is a World War II veteran, and taught at LSU for 44 years.
  • Pete Curcio Sr., of Brusly, celebrates his 90th birthday Wednesday, Dec. 18. A Korean War veteran who served in the 1st Marine Division, he is one of the "Chosin Few," survivors of the Chosin Reservoir conflict, in minus 40 degree temperatures.
  • Jimmie Billeaud, of Broussard, celebrates his 90th birthday Thursday, Dec. 19.
  • Kenneth and Glenda Dunnaway Sullivan celebrate 62 years of marriage Friday, Dec. 20.
  • Emmett and Dodie Irwin celebrate their 53rd anniversary Sunday, Dec. 22.
  • Eddie and Pat Fagot celebrate their 53rd anniversary Sunday, Dec. 22. Eddie is a decorated Navy veteran, wounded in Vietnam.

Time out

On my Well-Deserved Vacation the rest of this year, Lady Katherine and I will once more spend the holidays at Bubba's Exxon, Motel & Bait Shop in Back Brusly.

Large Marge, Bubba's former head chef, has returned from her job as a cook in a Mexican prison, and promises new and exciting dishes for our holiday enjoyment.

While side dishes will included her famous Spam and Velveeta casserole, she promises a surprise main dish, involving "the other, other, other white meat."

Hope your holidays are festive, and I'll see you in 2020.   

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.