Taking a break from our virus discussion, here are a couple of old St. Patrick's Day stories I tell every year at this time. They're from back in the days when we had parades to mark this holiday:

Story 1: Along with green beads, green garters and other throws, it was once the custom to toss cabbages to the crowds from St. Patrick's Day parade floats. As you might imagine, there was an element of danger in this practice.

Once I was riding in a mule wagon in the Baton Rouge parade with Chuck Perrodin and other merrymakers. I saw a lady I knew in the crowd, and cheerfully threw her a cabbage. She had a drink in one hand, and tried catching it with the other hand.

I saw her grimace, but then the wagon rolled on and she was soon out of sight. I learned later from other friends that she had jammed her finger catching the cabbage, and wound up in a hospital emergency room.

Story 2: Long ago a friend, the late Pat King, ran a Magazine Street bar, The Gin Mill. She said during one St. Patrick's Day parade, someone threw a cabbage from a float and beaned one of the regulars, knocking him out.

"He was just lying there, out cold," she told me.

"Wow! What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, we took the cabbage back to the kitchen and tossed it in a pot with the corned beef we were cooking." 

Light and dark

Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, adds to our seminar on daylight saving time:

"The book 'Spring Forward, Daylight Saving Time' admitted it was never the choice of farmers. There was no way they could explain the concept to cows who wanted to be milked.

"The idea that it would save electricity in the evenings was laughable, since those dark mornings were going to use all that ‘saved electricity.’ Mothers hated it because they had to force children into the house and into bed when it was still broad daylight.

"No, it was all about luring shoppers to stores on their way home from work. By extending their evening hours, they increased their net income significantly, and consequently they have always fought giving up DST."

Grape expectations

Mike Romano, of Lake Rosemound, calls on his experience working in his father's grocery story to give us something else to worry about:

"With all of the talk about the coronavirus, I wanted to address readers about risks when shopping for produce.

"When grapes are sold in open plastic bags instead of plastic cartons, I have seen some shoppers casually sample them to satisfy their taste before they buy them."

I have to confess it's tempting to sample, because it's irritating to get home and discover that your grapes taste sour.

But these days, a hands-off policy is required.

Drink up

Russ Kercher, of Mandeville, says, "Thanks to COVID-19, we now have an exciting new drinking game challenge.

"Every time you hear the phrase, 'Due to an abundance of caution,' you must take a shot of your favorite poison. After 15 minutes, you won't be able to stand up."

Go home

A public service announcement from Rick Marshall:
"OK, people, you have cleaned out the stores, emptied the shelves, and jammed traffic. It is now time to quarantine yourselves." 

Special People Dept.

S E Mixon, of Watson, celebrates her 93rd birthday Tuesday, March 17.

A great American

Thomas Suydam says, "Upon entering the first grade, we learned (in a kid way) the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I interpreted the part ‘of which it stands’ as ‘for Richardson stands.’

"Richardson was our town's superintendent of schools. It didn't sound exactly right, but as 6-year old, that was the best I could do.

"I don't know how long I pledged alliance to the superintendent of schools before I realized the error of my ways."

Grandpa's heart

Yogi Naquin says, "I have a friend who lives 'down da bayou.'

"He calls his grandkids his ‘li’l onions.’ He told me that's because they put tears in his eyes."

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.