Dear Smiley: When my late wife and I were planning our June 1975 wedding, we chose the (then new) Chateau Motor Inn, located in Shreveport, for the groom's family and other out-of-town guests to stay.
Unbeknown to us, Elvis Presley was giving a concert in town that weekend, and he and his large entourage were booked at the same hotel.
Around noon on the day of the wedding, I was preparing to take the suitcases for my bride and me down to my car, so the groomsmen could festoon it with bawdy slogans in white shoe polish before we left on our honeymoon.
My dad, noticing the large throng gathered in hope of getting a glimpse of Elvis, suggested I avoid the hotel's main entrance.
As I backed out of the door from a side stairwell, with a suitcase in each hand, another large crowd surged toward me shouting excitedly, "It's Elvis, it's Elvis!"
As I exited the door and turned around, the crowd recognized I was not the King. As one, they deflated and collectively exclaimed, "Oh, shoot!" (Or something like that.)
I turned, put one suitcase down, waved enthusiastically and said to the dejected crowd, "Thank you very much!"
Like Elvis, I then promptly left the building!
DENNIS D. RITTER JR.
The Woodlands, Texas
Dear Dennis: So it can accurately be said that you look like the backside of Elvis. ...
Getting a break
Dear Smiley: After reading the article about teachers who were the toughest, I have a story.
During a spelling test in the sixth grade the teacher, Mr. Monet, was calling out words for us to spell in our spelling tablet.
He called out the word “refrigerator,” and being a clown, I said, “Can I spell icebox?"
He said, “Yes, you can.”
As soon as he said that, a couple of my friends said, "Oh great!"
He said, “Oh no, just Craig."
Now that was a very nice teacher. And yes, I did pass the test!
Craig M. Bennett
Dear Smiley: I recently had an enjoyable lunch of blackened alligator at The Chimes. But why is alligator always served in small bits? Is it too tough as a steak?
There is plenty of meat on an alligator, whether 3 feet long or 12 feet long. If it is tough, surely there must be a way of making the meat more edible. Marinade? Thin slices? Hanging a carcass in a cooler for two or three weeks? Surely the Cajuns have a solution for this by now.
And the Choctaw and the other Louisiana tribes must have solved this culinary problem. What to do?
Dear Martin: Good question. I once judged alligator fixed 36 ways at a cooking contest in Franklin, and recall no steaks. It was handled like chicken: fried, in stews and gumbos, even cold in an "alligator salad." The winner cooked hunks of the meat with turnips in a heavenly brown gravy.
Dear Smiley: The Thursday story about crop dusters brought back memories from the ’60s, when I moved into my new home about 1,000 feet from La. 1 and Bayou Lafourche.
We were surrounded by sugar cane fields, which were sprayed with chemicals by crop dusters every year. When this occurred, I would bring my four children out on the front lawn to see the planes flying just 40 to 50 feet high, pulling up as they reached La. 1 and returning to continue spraying the cane fields.
We would wave to the pilots, and they would tilt the wings to wave back to us. This was quite a thrill for the kids. My wife and I also enjoyed it. (By the way, before you ask: No, the chemicals did not come near where we were, and we all grew up healthy. I am 86 and still going strong!)
MARTIN ST. ROMAIN
Taking a trip?
Dear Smiley: Stopped to get gas the other day, and noticed the guy before me got $10 worth of gas.
I had to wonder where he was going — the next pump maybe?