Chakula cha Jua, of New Orleans, says, "Black History Month always reminds me of a funny incident that happened some years ago when I worked as drama director for a Central City after-school program in New Orleans.
"I had worked with a fifth-grader on delivering excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 'I Have a Dream' speech.
"Just before curtain went up, I asked the young actor if he wanted to run through his lines. 'Oh no, Mr. Chakula,' he replied, 'I’m ready.'
"He gave a wonderful performance of the speech, with the exception of one line, which he altered just a bit:
"'… and we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Prostitutes, will be able to join hands. …'
"We couldn’t stop laughing."
While on the subject of religion, more or less, Tommy Cunningham, of Baton Rouge, tells this story:
"Reading about cheap places to eat reminds me that in the '60s, when I was a freshman at LSU, Larry K. Sullivan's on Plank Road offered all-you-can-eat fried chicken once a week.
"It didn't take long for word to get around, and soon, students were filling his dining room.
"One day, we were discussing other types of food. Most of my friends were from down the bayou, and gumbo became the topic.
"One of the Jewish students said he didn't care for 'Catholic soup.'
"I can't eat gumbo today without thinking of its other name, Catholic soup."
Our studious leaders
Tommy Windham, of Baton Rouge, says, "Your reader's idea about putting columns at the front of Baton Rouge's sagging downtown library (instead of the present hydraulic jacks) would be great.
"The only problem would be that, this being Louisiana, you know how people like to mull about things.
"It would take a $100,000 study to find that the size of the column was the same size as the cylinder on the jacks that are there now."
Some like it hot
Frank Carney offers a "small world story with a Louisiana flavor.
"On an Alaskan cruise, my wife and I took an excursion that took us into the back country wilds. As part of the trip, we were served smoked salmon in the outdoors.
"Someone behind us remarked that this would taste a lot better if we had Tabasco. Our ears perked up, and we inquired where they were from — Baton Rouge."
Which reminds me
Once, at a columnists' conference in Boston, a gang of us went out to dinner at a clam restaurant.
I got a bucket of steamed clams, served with drawn butter.
They were good but seemed to lack a little something. So I asked the waiter for a bottle of Tabasco and found that a drop or two on each clam spiced them up to my liking.
Then, from behind me, I heard someone say in a perfect Kennedy accent, "Waiter, please bring me a bahttle of that Tabahsco. …"
Did I start a new clam-eating method in Boston? I wonder. …
Special People Dept.
Jim Nichols, of Shreveport, celebrates his 92nd birthday Thursday, Feb. 28. He is a member of Baton Rouge High School's Class of 1944.
Laughing at yourself
Evidently, my readers are so secure that they don't mind sharing their sillier moments:
- Bruce Dodd, of Clinton, says, "Recent stories about mismatched shoes really hit home.
"Twice in the last couple of months, I have found myself in Baton Rouge wearing not only shoes of a different color, but completely different styles.
"At least they were comfortable."
- Van Michel says, "I recently went to the refrigerator and poured a glass of what I thought was strawberry Kool-Aid.
"I told my wife not to buy any more strawberry Kool-Aid, as they are making it too sweet.
"She said, 'Fool, that wasn’t Kool-Aid; that was hummingbird nectar.'"
Patrick Hughes says, "The most comforting thing about my computer is knowing that every photo, document and message is in there and I can always find it — in a few weeks."