By now, men are so conditioned to completing our dressing ritual by putting a length of silk around our necks that we don't even think about it.

But Mike Walker did and came to this conclusion:

"After many years of wondering, I finally learned the reason we wear ties.

"Driving back to Baton Rouge from a business meeting in Shreveport, I ran out of gas in that empty stretch through north Louisiana.

"There was nothing to do but walk to the next exit, buy a gas can, fill it and walk back to my vehicle.

"Not too far into my walk, a gentleman stopped and offered me a ride to the gas station and back to my truck, which I gratefully accepted.

"It was a good thing — the next exit was 11 miles away.

"During the ride, I asked him if he was in the habit of picking up strangers. He replied, 'No, but when I saw your necktie waving in the breeze, I said, "That guy’s in trouble.”'

"Now I understand that the only good use for a tie is as a distress signal."

Which reminds me

Years ago, I saw this story in Esquire magazine about bolo ties, a popular item in the Southwest.

As I recall it, a guy from Arizona or New Mexico, wearing a bolo tie with an ornate silver and turquoise slide, tried to enter a high-end New York restaurant.

When the maitre d' said he couldn't come in because he wasn't wearing a proper tie, the guy asked him, "How much did your tie cost?"

Taken aback, the maitre d' replied, "Uh, about $50."

"Mine cost $120," said the visitor, who was seated without further ado.

Creative mom

Olive M. Campbell, of Baton Rouge, recalls her youth and canned corned beef — not corned beef hash but a rather unappetizing meat product that has virtually no resemblance to deli-sliced corned beef:

"In the 1940s, our mother, Vada Mullins, was raising her six children alone, with very little money. Times were hard.

"Corned beef, in an odd-shaped can with a tab on the side and a small key to open it, cost 59 cents.

"Mama would make a brown gravy in a big iron pot, add onions and potatoes, and crumble the corned beef in it.

"Cooked on top of a wood-burning stove and served over rice, it fed six kids quite well."

Hap talk

After I said Hap Glaudi pronounced it "Noo Awlyuns," Bill Huey said, "I really think Hap was more toward NooWAHyuns. …"

Still there

Mention of Baton Rouge's suicide prevention line brought this from LaVondra H. Dobbs, CEO of VIA LINK of New Orleans:

She says crisis phone services formerly provided by Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center are now handled by VIA LINK:

"The phone number (225) 924-3900 continues to operate 24/7. The Survivors of Suicide Support Group continues to meet Tuesday evenings at the Traumatic Loss Center in Baton Rouge."

She's at (504) 895-5575 if you'd like more information.

Special People Dept.

  • Mary Lee Wilson, of Clinton, celebrates her 90th birthday Wednesday, Sept. 19.
  • Susan and Emile C. Rolfs III, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 50th anniversary Friday, Sept. 14.

The road north

Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, tells another story about "pre-cable TV days and the Ville Platte LSU Tiger football fanatics:

"Before college football megabucks, many LSU-Ole Miss games were played in Jackson, Mississippi — sometimes as a double-header with Mississippi State vs. Alabama.

"After one of these games in Jackson, the crew from Ville Platte that had ridden up to the game entrusted a designated driver with the task of getting them back home.

"After being on the road for a long time, the driver pulled into a 'filling station.'

"As the crew began to wake up, someone asked a station employee how far were they from Louisiana.

"The response was, 'Mister, y’all are 20 miles from Memphis, Tennessee.'

"After the commotion among the game crew died down, they figured that the driver had taken a left on U.S. 51 instead of a right. But he had made great time."

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.