John in Lacombe questions an Advocate story from last year about the lady claiming she was the first to expose her, uh, upper portion for Mardi Gras beads in 1976:

"Years ago there was a costume factory in the French Quarter, E. Simon & Sons, located around Bienville and Royal.

"I was friends with the Simon family, and starting around 1958 I joined them at the factory for Mardi Gras. This was our home base for the day, with plenty of food and booze, and we party-hopped in the Quarter until we couldn't take it any longer.

"Even then, there were daring young ladies on balconies eager to display their assets. I'm not even sure receiving beads was a necessity.

"When we returned to the factory later that day in 1958, being of unsound minds, we thought it would be fun to dress me up in a Santa Claus costume and take pictures.

"E. Simon & Sons had a contract to furnish costumes for the Sears & Roebuck catalog. So I wound up being Santa in the Sears catalog that year!"

Changing times

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, comments on our Wednesday story about the lady who wanted change from her church usher as he passed the collection basket:

"I well remember ushers holding coins in their hands to provide change to contributors during the collection.

"I also remember it lengthened the time of the services by many minutes as ushers haggled with attendees about how much change they wanted.

"At some point, Msgr. Landsman did away with the practice, and told the congregation there would be no more change by the ushers.

"The outcry was unbelievable. It was like he had taken a sacred part of the services away! That lasted for a short time, and Mass services got a lot shorter! I was grateful."

Accident magnet

Gwen Briggs says, "I would ask you to tell your readers NOT to say 'It can't get any worse' in 2021.

In July I cut my left index finger; I burned my arm getting too close to the iron; I gashed my toe after falling from a footstool; I skinned my shin from foot to knee; I cut my right index finger (should have had stitches); I broke two toes; I tripped over a step and went sliding across the floor, hitting my head and getting face burns from the carpet.

"I couldn't wait for August, saying it couldn't get any worse.

"In August I got shingles."

Find that hill!

Z David Deloach, of St. Francisville, says my mention of Baton Rouge's H.G. Hill supermarket, where I worked as a bag boy between high school and college, "cleared up one of those childhood mysteries I haven't thought about since I was about 10.

"My family moved to an area off Jefferson Highway between Harahan and Kenner in 1955. There was nothing but cow pastures at the time. But there was a grocery store up the road.

"My mom used to refer to the 'Hill Store.' I could never figure out the hill. It’s pretty flat there; the only 'hill' was at Audubon Park.

"It eventually became a Winn-Dixie, saving me from having to struggle with that childhood issue again."

Special People Dept.

J.B. Smiley, of Pride, celebrates his 96th birthday Thursday, Jan. 7.

Poetry corner

Some months ago I amused myself with haiku, a Japanese poetic form. Some readers liked them, others not so much, including Anne Maverick:

"A while back I sent a somewhat snarky note about haiku, and how people had ignored that its content should be about nature.

"Well, in a recent bridge column in this paper, Phillip Alder pointed out that there is an identical poetic form (5-7-5 syllables), senryu, which is for everything else.

"So that's what some of us have been doing all this time:

"We had forgotten

Haiku is about nature

Senryu is not"

My senryu moment

A further definition of senryu, mentioned above, says they're about "human foibles" and tend to be "cynical or darkly humorous."

So, in that vein:

"Some dismiss danger

Ignore virus and vaccine

Find death is no hoax" 

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.