Back when Lady Katherine was single and living in New Orleans, I visited her on weekends. We went out for dinner one wintry Friday, in the kind of weather the tourism folks don't tell you about.
That's when the winds whip across the lake and the river carrying a moist, bone-deep chill.
We had just settled into the last available table at Mandina's when the nearby door opened, letting in frigid air. Two men stood staring in dismay at the packed, bustling restaurant.
"Come join us," Kathrine told them, pointing to the two empty seats at our table.
They couldn't have been any more surprised if she had pulled a gun on them, but after a second invitation, they sat down.
They were from different parts of the country, attending a watchmakers' conference at a downtown hotel. Seeking a little adventure, they had told a cab driver, "Take us somewhere the locals eat." The savvy driver had deposited them at Mandina's, several blocks out Canal from the hotel.
We turned them on to oyster po-boys and suggested some activities — a quiet, relaxing stroll through the Aquarium of the Americas, a streetcar ride to view the Uptown mansions and have pecan pie at Camellia Grill, etc.
When we parted, they thanked us profusely — and we learned they had picked up our dinner tab.
OK, so it's not a big story, and it happened more than 20 years ago. But I still recall the warmth we felt that chilly night. …
Two left feet
Recent confessions about mismatched shoes led Jo Ann Kiser, of Mandeville, to tell this horror story:
"My husband and I left on a driving trip during the summer. I was still asleep, and he got up and tried to dress without waking me up. He put on two sandals in the dark and never looked at them again.
"When we got to the hotel that night, he sat down to take the sandals off. He got hysterical, and I had to go look.
"Not only did he have two colors on, both were for the left foot.
"Obviously, he went to buy new shoes, as that was all he had."
"I guess it was inevitable," says Dudley Lehew, of Marrero:
"At a birthday party for my wife Mary's great-grandson Brynnan Grammar, I brought out some recently uncovered pictures of our wedding, most of the photos being 3-by-5-inch color prints.
"Heather, Brynnan's mom and a modern iPad woman, wanted a better look at the people in one of the pictures and tried to 'widen' the picture by placing two fingers on it and spreading them.
"She laughed. We laughed."
To bacon with love
Gerald Wray, of Pride, says, "While frying my bacon this Saturday morning (as I do every Saturday and Sunday morning, and have done for many years), my wife, Kathy, looked at me and asked, 'Do you think you will ever stop loving bacon?'
"I said, 'Well, I have loved bacon for 50 years or more, so I doubt I will ever stop loving bacon.'
"I told her, 'I loved you for over 35 years, and I haven't stopped loving you.'
"She replied, 'So who is first?'
"Of course I replied, 'You, darling. You, the kids and our grandchild, then bacon.'
"But do we ever really get over our first love?"
Special People Dept.
- Juliette Alford, of LaPlace, celebrates her 98th birthday Tuesday, Feb. 12. She is retired assistant superintendent of schools in St. John the Baptist Parish.
- Juanita Stafford, of Covington, celebrated her 98th birthday Monday, Feb. 11.
- Billie Jean and Oscar Lofton celebrate 58 years of marriage Tuesday, Feb. 12.
After a reader's mention of time accelerating as one ages, I received this observation from both Joseph Mistretta, of Donaldsonville, and H.P. Smith, of River Ridge:
"Life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end the quicker it goes."
And Val Garon offers this culinary warning:
"Things I have learned today: When cleaning jalapeño peppers, wash your hands BEFORE going to the bathroom."