"A couple of weeks ago I was at the old New Orleans airport waiting for a flight," says Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville.

"Passengers at the gate were told the flight might be delayed so the crew could assist passengers from the plane.

"When the first passenger disembarked we realized why. It was a flight of World War II and Vietnam War veterans returning from Washington, D.C.

"As each veteran (many in wheelchairs) was led from the plane, there was an ovation. The applause was very loud, and the veterans saluted or tipped their caps.

"Not one person on the flight complained about the 15-to-20-minute delay. It was truly heart warming."

Unfortunate name

John Currier says, "I was visiting my father at his assisted living facility near the river in New Orleans.

"I thought it was just the 'River Road' until I glanced up at a street sign.

"Is it just me, or is anyone else bothered by the fact that the road at the base of the levee is officially called 'Leake Avenue?’ ”

Phone phun

Elsa Nichols, of New Orleans, adds to our "Dealing With Telemarketers" file:

"Years ago we would get a lot of calls asking for my husband. When I asked why they were calling, they would say something like, 'I spoke with him a few days ago about a new investment.'

"Knowing this was bogus, I'd say, 'He’s here; please hold on.' I’d never come back and they got tired of waiting.

"Another time, when my husband traveled a lot, his secretary made up a travel sheet with an 800 number for the limousine service.

"Once I had to call the 800 number, and two of the numbers were reversed. I was hooked up with a phone sex line!

"I saved the number, and when a telemarketer called I'd say, 'My husband's not here, but he can be reached at his 800 number.'

"Today it’s not as much fun, because the calls are with robots and they have no sense of humor."

The pen myth

On Monday we talked about misconceptions regarding NASA and space travel; here's another one:

Several readers repeated this old line: 

"The U.S. spent millions on a space pen that could write upside down; the Russians just used a pencil."

NASA says this: "During the first NASA missions the astronauts used pencils. During this time period, Paul C. Fisher of the Fisher Pen Co. designed a ballpoint pen that would operate better in the unique environment of space.

"Fisher developed his space pen with no NASA funding."

NASA adds that it bought 400 of the pens at $6 each for Project Apollo. The Soviet Union bought 100 of them to replace the grease pencils its cosmonauts had been using.

Special People Dept.

  • Lemuel W. McCoy, of Covington, celebrates his 97th birthday Tuesday, Nov. 12. A native of Alto, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a pilot in World War II and the Korean War. He has had an audience with the Pope, flown Marilyn Monroe, and delivered cease-fire orders at the end of the Korean conflict. He and his wife, Mary Jane Dillard McCoy, celebrated 60 years of marriage Oct. 31.
  • Pat Snow, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 90th birthday Sunday, Nov. 10. A fine actress, I always think of her as "Miss Daisy" because of her stellar performance in "Driving Miss Daisy" at the old Cabaret Theater.

Fishy story

Francis Celino, The Metairie Miscreant, has a story about Serra Clubs, organizations of lay Catholics who promote religious vocations:

"The Serra Clubs in the New Orleans metropolitan area had a fish fry for seminarians at St. Joseph Abbey.

"One of the monks would taste a fish out of each batch. He claimed it was quality control. I think it was a case of 'out of the frying pan, into the friar.’ ”

As much as I trust Francis, I still fear he's doing a variation on the old joke about the fish and chips served at the monastery and prepared by a two-man team — the fish friar and the chip monk.

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.