Bill Bankhead, of Baton Rouge, says Advocate stories about how the late President George H.W. Bush was respected by members of both political parties reminded him of 1987, when Bill was executive director of the International Special Olympics Games on the Notre Dame campus:

"I worked directly for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John Kennedy and as politically Democrat as anyone could be. Much to my surprise, she invited Republican Vice President Bush to be the principal speaker at the closing ceremonies.

"Waiting in the green room for him to speak, my wife Mary Ann and I discovered him to be the quality person that people are now praising.

"On stage, he hugged Eunice and told the audience how much he and President Reagan respected what she and her husband Sarge Shriver had done for People with Mental Retardation.

"It didn't matter to him that Sarge had run for vice president and president as a Democrat, and that Eunice's brother Ted Kennedy was a mortal enemy of President Reagan.

"What mattered to him was what the Shrivers had accomplished for humanity, and he applauded them for this regardless of their political association.

"A far cry from the attitude of today's politicians."

Lesson in honesty

Keith Horcasitas says Jim Coleman, before acting in the St. Luke Productions play "Tolton — From Slave To Priest" at Baton Rouge's Catholic Center (about America's first African-American Catholic priest), shared a story about teaching honesty to kids:

"When Jim's daughter was a young teenager, she desperately wanted to go to a movie with her friends, so Jim said she could go after she had completed her chore of cleaning under the kitchen sink.

"When the daughter told him, 'OK, Dad, I'm finished. Can you give me the money?' Jim told her, 'If you had done the job right, you would have found the $10 bill beneath the sink.'

"She didn't get to go to the movie.

"Recently Jim heard his daughter telling that story to her children as a lesson in life."

Keeping his schedule

Nobey Benoit says, "The Wednesday story about the guy who had to go to work at Western Auto after retirement to get away from his wife reminded me about a fellow worker's dad.

"All his working life, his dad worked the offshore '14-on, 7-off' shift for an oil company.

"When he retired, he couldn't adjust to full-time life at home. So he bought a fishing/hunting camp and spent 14 days there and returned home for 7 days.

"Now that's what I call retirement."

What language barrier?

Paul Duffy says, "On a trip with my family in the '60s, when we got to Milan, Italy, we knew our hotel was across the street from the train station.

"After practicing with the phrase book, I pulled up to a traffic cop, and in my finest accent asked in Italian for directions to the station.

"As he began to answer, I realized that those phrase books can teach you a question, but you'll have no idea what's being given as an answer!

"Seeing the confused look on my face, he asked, 'American?' When I said yes, he said, 'You go down three blocks and hang a left; you can't miss it.'

"He was probably from Brooklyn!

"Needless to say, my family never let me live that one down."

Special People Dept.

  • Albert A.N. Coleman celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, Dec. 7.
  • Duke Faulkner, of St. James Place in Baton Rouge, celebrates his 90th birthday on Saturday, Dec. 8.
  • Dale and Jo Anne Adams, of Plaquemine, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 7.

Educational Christmas

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says he will never forget the lesson he learned one Christmas when he was 4:

You don't stomp on the glass Christmas tree ornaments, even if your cousin is doing it and invites you to join him…

Dead reckoning

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, tells of the two things he wants in his obituary:

“He died unexpectedly” and “His girlfriend was so distraught that she had to take time off from her job as a Victoria’s Secret model.”

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.