Ken Best, our unpaid fashion consultant, offers this thought:

"You and your column have a long history of public service to our community. I have a suggestion for your next project.

"From casual observation it is obvious that many women, young and not so young, do not have sewing skills. They wear jeans with rips in the knees and thighs that just beg to be repaired.

"I am a retired Marine officer. A little known fact is that all Marines are issued sewing kits to keep our uniforms looking sharp.

"I think you need to raise funds to purchase sewing kits and have them issued to address this problem. You could start the 'Smiley Anders Sewing School' — you have obvious skills in the needling area.

"One other option is a wonderful product called 'iron on patches.'

"Please do not thank me. Service is my life."

What's an "ID?"

Yogi Naquin, of Bayou Blue, shares this memory of laid-back times:

"When I was about 8, during the summer I would spend a few days at Pawpaw and Mawmaw Charley on Boudreaux Canal, 'down da bayou' from Chauvin.

"Mawmaw would call Wallis Lafont at his little store/pool hall and order a few things — a pound of white beans, etc.

"I would walk the quarter-mile to the store, stopping along the way to talk French with the 'old people' (my age now).

"When I got to the store, Wallis had it all bagged. I would get me a pop and some candy. Mawmaw would have added two packs of cigarettes and two Falstaff or Regal beers for Pawpaw.

"Wallis would wrap them up and tell me not to drink the beers on my way to Mawmaw's house. No ID needed."

The troubadour

Spencer Bohren, the singer, guitarist and storyteller who died June 8, was a New Orleans treasure, but was also loved in Baton Rouge.

Years ago our friends B.B. and Jackie Bruce told us about him when he played at M's Fine and Mellow Cafe. We never missed one of his shows there, or ones at the Red Dragon Listening Room after the demise of M's.

He could sing the blues, gospel, country, rock, folk, you name it, playing everything from a lap steel guitar to a banjo. You could tell he loved music and talking about it.

While he played songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, etc., his own tunes were the ones that touched us.

The finest post-Katrina song is his heartbreaking "Long Black Line," about the line that filthy, toxic flood waters left on the homes and buildings of New Orleans after the water went down:

"Beautiful New Orleans,

Aw, she was so fine.

Now everywhere you go,

There's just the long black line."        

Nice People Dept.

Dolores Clayton says, "We were ordering breakfast at the Baton Rouge farmers’ market when my husband’s credit card refused to cooperate.

"I was reaching for mine, but a friendly gentleman behind us handed his card to the cashier and told him to put our order on it. He insisted, and commented that we deserved it. Obviously he could tell by sight that we are senior, senior citizens.

"We learned that he is a pastor. He made our day. I have spread our story to numerous people; that made their day too."

Special People Dept.

  • Mary Ann Dunn, of Clinton, celebrates her 93rd birthday Wednesday, June 12.
  • Josephine Schultz, celebrates her 90th birthday Wednesday, June 12, with her domino group.

Pick a peck

Mary D. Bell, of Baton Rouge, says, "My husband and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa.

"On part of our trip, we stayed four days in a safari camp near Kruger National Park. Banana, avocado and macadamia nut farms were everywhere in the beautiful, hilly countryside.

"One afternoon I was talking with the owner of the camp, asking her about the fruit and nut trees on the property.

"She listed several familiar varieties, then said, 'We also have pecking trees that produce nuts.'

“'I’ve never heard of pecking nuts,' I said. 'How do you spell that?'”

“'P-e-c-a-n,' she replied."

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.