Ralph Melancon, of Kenner, has some noteworthy "small world" stories:

  • "One afternoon in Australia, my wife and I went to a locally owned kiosk to purchase some snacks and soft drinks.

"When we paid for our purchases, the cashier/owner asked us where we were from.

"When I answered, 'New Orleans,' he replied, 'Saints.' 

  • "When paying for my souvenirs in the Falkland Islands, I noticed the cashier had a familiar accent.

"When I asked where she was from, she answered, 'A small city in Louisiana that you probably never heard of — Gonzales.'

  • "I was standing in line one morning to tour the United Nations in New York when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was my next-door neighbor, there with his wife."

Which reminds me

Years ago, a friend of Lady Katherine's from Minnesota came to visit us and attend her first New Orleans Mardi Gras.

We were standing on the corner of Chartres and Canal (sounds like the first line of a blues song, doesn't it?), sipping Hurricanes and waiting for Bacchus to come rolling by, when our visitor struck up a conversation with a couple standing next to her.

They told her it was their first Carnival parade, too, and as they chatted, our visitor remarked that the lady had a Minnesota accent.

She did — because she and her husband were from Winona, Minnesota (population 27,000), the same town as the young lady with us. They compared notes about neighborhoods, sought mutual friends and wondered about the odds against people from that small city meeting at that time, in that place.

Busted!

Here's a stuffing story that doesn't involve Thanksgiving turkeys:

"I thought of another 'car-stuffing' story," says J.B. Castagnos, of Donaldsonville.

"We raced a car at the LaPlace Dragway in high school.

"One Sunday, friends were coming to watch. They stopped their 1963 Pontiac on side of the Airline Highway, and three of them got in the trunk, the size of a small bedroom.

"They drove through the gate with only the driver paying.

"He parked the car and opened the trunk. Excited, he said, 'Wait; there's a cop right there,' and slammed the trunk.

"When it opened again, they were staring at a policeman — who escorted them back to the gate to pay."

Missed opportunity?

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, comments on the story by “Annette in Lafayette” about stuffing 16 people in a car:

"It brought back the story my brother Terry sent to you regarding the evacuation of a party when the parents came home unexpectedly, and made me wonder why Annette and her friends didn’t use the trunk.

"That is where we put four people. …"

Special People Dept.

  • Eleanor Lenoir, of Denham Springs, celebrates her 90th birthday Thursday, Nov. 29.
  • Paul and Henrietta Boriskie, of Lafayette, celebrated their 60th anniversary Wednesday, Nov. 28.
  • John and Barbara Culmone celebrated their 55th anniversary Wednesday, Nov. 28.

What's in a name?

Bobby Matherne adds to our seminar on automobiles with this story about the importance of choosing the right designation for your vehicle:

"We had just bought a used VW Bug, which was all shiny silver with mag wheels, so we called it the 'Silver Bullet.'

"We had the car only a month or two when our daughter took some girls with her to the Do Drive-In in Metairie. We got a call later that the Silver Bullet had gone up in flames at the drive-in.

"Apparently, the fire started in the engine. The girls were all right, but the motor of the VW Beetle had melted. Apparently, aluminum engines can melt during a fire. Who knew?

"After the fire, we bought another VW Beetle to replace it. We called it the 'Durabeetle' and it lasted us 300,000 miles. I learned a lesson: Names are important."

Know how to hold 'em

"Old Friend" comments on an Advocate photo showing a young student holding her pencil in her fist:

"When I was in first grade, we spent the entire first semester learning how to hold the pencil AND how to write in cursive. Does it come as any surprise that the present generation cannot write legibly?" 

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.