Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, says, "My mother made a donation to the church 'poor box' whenever she had something to be thankful for, and taught us to do the same. So I did that when my wife or I had good medical news.

"Once I was attempting to put a bill in the poor box at St. Joseph Cathedral, but my bill wouldn't go in. I pulled out my trusty Swiss Army knife and cleared the obstruction.

"A church employee noticed me, and must have misunderstood my intentions, judging from the look on his face.

"Rather than explaining, I simply retreated and exited the church promptly."

Diplomatic Beetle

Ruth Barnes says, "I was with the U.S. Foreign Service in Somalia from 1968-70. My orange Volkswagen, with its 'Think Snow' bumper sticker, was shipped there for me by the State Department.

"It served me well, bouncing around on mostly unpaved roads and beaches until I completed my tour, during which a military coup overthrew the government.

"When I left Somalia, I was told my car was purchased for repainting and use by the American ambassador — so his vehicle wouldn't stand out."

True confession

Michael Eldred says tales of kids seeking loose change remind him:

"I, too, had some enterprise for finding lost money. Jimmy Gallent taught me the art of retrieving pennies from parking meters.

"Pineville's business district downtown was lined with parking meters. Most motorists put an extra penny in the slot, so the patrolman could turn the handle for them.

"A thin blade or paper clip could fish the penny out. It was possible to get 10 cents, enough for the Saturday movie at the Star Theater.

"I would like to say I only took pennies from empty spaces, but it wasn’t so."

Drunk as a robin

Our mention of chinaberries reminded Glenn Fuselier, of Morgan City:

"Growing up on a farm between Eunice and Mamou, we had a couple of large chinaberry trees. In winter, the berries would shrivel up and ferment. The robins thought they had found the Pastime, way before it was built

"They would gorge themselves, and get so drunk they would fall out of the tree.

"I would pick them up. They could hardly breathe, their crop was so full of berries. I would gently squeeze their crop, and force chinaberries out till they could breathe.

"Then they would waddle/fly up on a branch and snooze it off.

"They weren't good to eat — chinaberries gave them a bad taste."

Uh, Glenn, I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to eat robins at any time, no matter what they have consumed.

Nice People Dept.

Kathy Wicker says, "I was in my car, sitting at the red light at George O'Neal and Jones Creek roads in Baton Rouge.

"I noticed the young man behind me jump out of his car and run toward me. He handed me my phone. Apparently it had been riding on my trunk a mile and a half.

"What a Good Samaritan. My faith in mankind is restored!"

Special People Dept.

  • Eugenia B. Land, of the Old Jefferson neighborhood of New Orleans, formerly of San Jose, Costa Rica, celebrates her 100th birthday Tuesday, Aug. 20.
  • Leda and Darrell Bowden celebrate their 71st anniversary Tuesday, Aug. 20.

The other Charlie

From my "Life imitates TV" file comes this tale from Doug Lee, of Prairieville, responding to my Saturday mention of working at home in my jammies:

"I’ve been working from my home for over 20 years now, and often get accused of working in my PJs and bunny slippers. The truth is irrelevant.

"On Mondays we have a conference call, in which I call into a board room equipped with a speaker on the table.

"A few times I would dial in and open with 'Good morning, Angels.'

"It’s funny to hear who gets it and laughs, while the younger ones voice, 'Huh? Angels?'”

Louisiana haiku

Pat Cougevan comments on those TV campaign ads that are about to dominate our viewing for the next few months:

"Talking heads abound.

It’s that time of year again.

Oh no! Elections!"

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.