Seasonal stories of kids and Nativity scenes:

  • Annie says, "When my first grandchild, Emily, was about 3, I spent a lot of time with her; she was so much fun. She sang Shania Twain and I taught her all about Elvis!

"She was helping me take down our Nativity scene when I asked her to identify each statue — Baby Jesus, Mary, the Wise Men, the angel — which she did correctly.

"When I picked up the statue of St. Joseph and asked her who he was, she beamed, her eyes got big, as she replied proudly, 'ELVIS!'

"I called my daughter, Gina, and told her we might be excommunicated from the Catholic church!"

  • Judy Tuma says, "We have a plastic Nativity scene we set up every year in my front yard.

"One year I could not find Mary and Joseph. I set it up anyway.

"One night a little boy was looking at my display and asked where Mary and Joseph were. I told him they were their second honeymoon.

"A few days later he was looking at the scene with some of his friends, explaining to them that Mary and Joseph were on their second honeymoon. (I think some of the parents were not happy with me.)

"I finally found Mary and Joseph in the attic, and the little boy showed up and said, 'Oh, I see they're back from their honeymoon.'

"Now I can't find Baby Jesus…he's somewhere in the attic.

"I guess I can say he's on a cruise…"

A meeting in China

This might be "a record distance under the 'running into people' topic," according to "USMC Sgt. H. Meares:" 

"I was in Tsingtao, China with the Marines, eating at a White Russian establishment, when I heard a group talking about Mike & Tony’s and Bob & Jake's, Baton Rouge restaurants.

"I got up to see what that was all about. I was Istrouma, and here were three from Baton Rouge High — Mickey Montalbano, Ralph Ratcliff and Flip Sanchez.

"Mickey, a seaman first class in the Navy, had 'connections' (as always), and offered to provide me with whiskey."

Killarney goes country

"Here's my 'small world' story," says Al Bethard, of Lafayette:

"When I traveled to Ireland in June I learned how much the Irish love the U.S.A. and American country music. The U.S. flag is prominently flown throughout the country, and country music can be heard everywhere.

"Early one morning in Killarney, I walked to a convenience store a few blocks from our hotel. When I walked in I heard a recording of an Irish vocalist singing 'Me and Bobby McGee' ('Busted flat in Baton Rouge…') on the radio. The next song was 'I Want to Hear Some Old Time Fiddle,' which contained the phrase 'Give me some Jolie Blonde.'

"What are the chances of a Louisianan in Killarney, Ireland, hearing two songs (in a row) referring to Louisiana?"

Special People Dept.

Alice Karl LeJeune celebrates her 100th birthday Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Verbal hiccups

That's what I call words and phrases we insert into conversations that are unnecessary and can get irritating if overused.

For example, here's a complaint from Joe Fairchild, of Thibodaux:

"While watching the College Football Awards show on TV, I was again reminded that some words ought to trigger at least a 15 yard penalty, or more appropriately a targeting penalty.

"'You know,' 'like I said,' and 'irregardless' should never be uttered in the English or 'approaching English' vocabulary!

"Now, I feel much better having that off my chest. Happy bowl season!"

Have a ball

Anne Maverick has this contribution for our "Do you speak Louisiana?" file:

"Soon after we moved to Baton Rouge, many years ago, we went for supper to the old Cafe Louisianne on South Acadian Thruway.

"After we ordered our sandwiches, the gal at the counter asked if we wanted to add some 'balled crawfish.' I imagined little crawfish curled up in a melon baller, and declined.

"It's not like I hadn't had BOILED crawfish before — it was just that my Midwestern ears weren't acclimated yet."  

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.