William "Buckskin Bill" Black... 01/22/02

In 1956, WAFB-TV children's show host William "Buckskin Bill" Black began closing is program witht he admonition "Remember, Baton Rouge needs a zoo." After the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo opened in 1970, Black asked his young listeners to donate pennies to buy an elephant. The wildly successful campaign raise enough money to buy two elephants- Penny and Penny Two. Black, now retired from children's television, is shown here with a successor to Penny. Ran Mary 21, 1990 State-Times. Photy by Guy Reynolds. Malformed publication history data 112-Book Keyword Communications Labor Recreation

The death of Buckskin Bill Black reminds us that he was far more than just the host of a kids' TV show — he was an educator who genuinely loved teaching children.

Folks of a certain age in this part of the world will always cherish their memories of this gentle man. For me, it's the time I led the Monday Morning March (as an adult). Somewhere there's a photo of me in a drum major's hat, waving a baton and looking like the happiest kid in the world, which I was.    

The tributes to Buckskin Bill are coming in from everywhere:

  • Leila Pitchford-English says, "My brother, Thomas Pitchford, who lives in Carmarthen, Wales, said on Twitter that we in Baton Rouge need to have a very large Monday Morning March this week."
  • William Taylor, of Thibodaux, says, "I remember one instance where his frequent on-air partner Señor Puppet (voiced by Sid Crocker) got into a discussion about the Monday Morning March — because at the time it was June, so Señor felt the routine should be called the Monday Morning June.

"Buckskin had to explain that often in the English language one word can have different meanings and that 'March' referred to the act of moving and not the actual month. It's a great example of learning and laughing all at the same time.

"I don't think we should necessarily be crying at this time because that might prevent us from smiling at all those fond memories of a man that simply made life better in our area.

"After all, you're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."

The company we keep

Here's a cheery note as our state lurches into 2018:

The Jan. 1 New Yorker has an excellent article by Lawrence Wright about Texas and its "boom and bust" economy due to its dependence on the oil industry.

This statement caught my eye:

"Societies that depend on natural resources tend to have certain inherent problems. The limited concentration of wealth — whether from oil, coal, diamonds or bauxite — often leads to corruption and authoritarianism. Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Louisiana are primary examples."

Happy New Year, cher. …

Say no to faux

Susan Rolfs responds to our Friday item pointing out that the popular "geaux" for "go" is "faux French" and is really pronounced like "Joe" in French:  

"Hallelujah, some one else agrees — best news in the paper today.

"I have been complaining for years about geaux — makes us look dumber than a box of rocks. …" 

Count on it

Carla Campbell addresses our latest obsession:

Loving haiku but

Obsessively need to count

Syllables in them

Flat nice deputy

An anonymous reader writes, "This morning, my wife called to tell me she had a flat tire on Interstate 12 while on her way to work.

"Just as I was getting there, an off-duty East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy pulled up. He had been driving in the opposite direction and had seen her problem.

"He changed the tire for us and sent my wife off to work. Many thanks to Deputy Troxclair (I hope I spelled it correctly)."

Special People Dept.

Lillie Mae Pertuis Sheets celebrated her 103rd birthday Friday, Jan 12. She is a native of Acy and worked in the St. Amant School lunchroom for 37 years.

Hard to swallow

Our Health Tip of the Week comes from Warren Bourgeois:

"Now that the cold and flu season is here, I thought I’d share a remedy from Julio, a co-worker of mine.

"He would take a cold capsule and bury it in a heaping spoonful of Vick’s salve and swallow it. He swore it worked."

(I don't know, Warren … sometimes, there are worse things than having a cold. …)

Math lesson

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "Not wanting to be dethroned for sending the worst Cajun joke, I thought I would try again.

"Boudreaux told Thibodeaux, 'Mais, Thib, you know divorce is a lot like algebra.'

"Thib asks, 'How’s dat?'

"Boudreaux says, 'You look at your X and wonder Y.'”

Louisiana Haiku

Gray skies and cold wind

Coffee drips, gumbo simmers

Time to hunker down


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