Doug Becnel adds this Dixie Beer story to our collection:

"In the summer of 1966, while working for Industrial Signs in New Orleans, my co-worker and I had a work order to repair the neon sign at the top of the Dixie Beer building's dome on Tulane Avenue.

"We saved that order for our final job that day, since it was the closest one to the shop.

"After going up to the dome and removing a broken section of neon tubing, we installed a jumper wire, then went back down. We found a bench to sit on and relax for a while.

"When we sat down we noticed a Zetz soft drink machine nearby with a sign saying 5 cents for a drink. It was the chest type machine that had rows of bottles that you slid over to the left and removed after you paid your nickel.

"Upon opening the lid, we found the machine was stocked with ice cold Dixie longnecks. We dug in our pockets and got out all our nickels …

"I carried nickels in my pocket afterward in hopes we would get the job to reinstall the new section of tubing. However, someone else got the assignment. Just my luck."

"Sign here …"

The sudden death of Kobe Bryant, the great NBA basketball player, has brought a flood of memories about brief encounters with him. Here's one from Judi Betts, of Baton Rouge:

"I was on my way to teach at the Scottsdale, Arizona, Art School, flying first class from Dallas to Phoenix.

"I was waiting on the doors to close when the last person to board appeared. He was a nice looking, very tall man wearing athletic apparel. I was quite sure he was the celebrity basketball player Kobe Bryant.

"His seat was across the aisle and one row behind me. I glanced back several times toward the end of the flight to be sure it was him.

"Finally I handed him my open sketchbook and a pen and whispered, 'May I have your autograph?' He nodded his head yes, signed my book, smiled and handed my book back to me.

"Then other passengers began handing him napkins and pieces of paper for him to sign as well. He looked at me and said with a grin, 'You started this!' 'Yes, I did!' I replied.

"We'll miss you, Kobe."

The hole truth

Leon Minvielle III, of New Iberia, says, "The 'buried rabbit' story recently making the rounds reminds me of a funnier story.

"A man in his backyard looks over the fence to see the little girl next door digging a hole in her backyard.

"The man asks her what she is doing. She says she is digging a hole to bury her goldfish.

"The man says, 'Isn’t that a big hole for a goldfish?'

"The little girl replies, ‘No, ’cause he’s in your darn cat!'”

Special People Dept.

  • Milton Rougon, formerly of Rougon, currently a Baton Rouge resident, celebrates his 98th birthday Friday, Jan. 31. He is a World War ll veteran and former POW.
  • Bob Dale, of Central, celebrates his 93rd birthday Friday, Jan. 31.
  • Oneil and Vickie Williams, of Metairie, celebrate 73 years of marriage Sunday, Feb. 2. They met when he heard her singing at the house next door and jumped the fence to find out who it was.
  • D.J. and Millie Strickland celebrate their 72nd anniversary Friday, Jan. 31.
  • Nick and Lou Macaluso, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 67th anniversary Saturday, Feb. 1. They say a perfect marriage is when each partner secretly feels they got the better end of the bargain.
  • Jim and Kathy Melchers, of Baton Rouge, celebrate 51 years of marriage Saturday, Feb. 1.
  • Bill and Denise Rivers celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, Jan. 31.

Today's lesson

"There is a lot of physics involved in the alignments geese use during migration," says Alton Duke, of Baton Rouge.

"Many do not know the reason one leg of the 'V' flight formation is longer than the other one.

"The extended leg has more geese."

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.