Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, tells how he saved money by changing the oil and fluids in his "hunting pickup truck" himself:

"One Saturday I popped the hood on my old pickup and noticed the brake fluid level was low. I grabbed one of two plastic containers in my shed and topped it off. 

"When the rubber gasket liner began to curl up like the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy threw water on her, I drove my pickup to Western Auto.

"They said I had put in automatic transmission fluid instead of brake fluid, my whole brake system was ruined, and it would cost over $200 to repair the damage.

"That was the last time I ever attempted any truck maintenance."

Sorry, right number

Donald Landaiche, of Donaldsonville, tells of a youthful prank:

"My father was a faithful Knights of Columbus member and attended every meeting. Since the meeting hall was in a risky neighborhood where he didn't want to park his new car, he had my brother drive him to the meetings.

"When the meeting was over he would call home from a pay phone, let it ring once and hang up, so his nickel would be returned.

"After several meetings, my brother and I couldn't resist. We would take turns sitting by the phone, and as soon as it started to ring whoever was sitting there picked it up and said, 'Hello.'

"Our father, madder than two wet hens, asked, 'What did you do that for? I lost my nickel!'

"From then on, one of us would have to supply the nickel for his call. If the nickel was returned we would get it back. We didn't want to lose our nickel either."

Pronounced 'yummy'

It appears Drago's, Baton Rouge's newest seafood restaurant, is pronounced "Drah-go's."

"I know a lot of people say it the other way ("Dray-go's"), says a reader, but I've known the owner, Tommy Cvitanovich, for about 20 years."

Mike Avocato, of Lacombe, puts it this way: "My experience: locals say Drah-go's; out-of-towners say Dray-go's."

But, he adds, "Everyone says 'Yum, yum!'"

It takes two

Regarding a question about the home of Joe Burrow's Heisman Trophy, Jim Mestayer, of Baton Rouge, says, "Two are provided; one for the athlete and one for the school." 

Beer with Father

Our Dixie Beer seminar reminded Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, of a memorable meeting in New Orleans in 1983:

"Besides working at the Loyola University Bookstore, I would answer phones and do housekeeping on weekends at Thomas Hall, where I met Father Dan Berrigan, the renowned Jesuit peace activist.

"I invited him to Cooter Brown's, a watering hole in the Uptown area by the Mississippi River, where St. Charles and Carrollton avenues merge.

"For our oyster meal, I recommended he try a Dixie longneck. By the time we finished our second Dixie, it was clear we both better understood our beliefs — especially in the great value of dat beer and dem oysters!"

West Coast Dixie

Speaking of Dixie:

"I instruct classes in terrorism response," says Bennie Hughes. "I was in Orange County, California, and when we finished the class I offered to buy the first round.

"I walked into the hotel bar, and there was a Dixie sitting on a shelf. After inquiries, I found out there had been a wedding there, and the groom was from New Orleans. So he wanted Dixie to be served.

"I bought each student a Dixie, and the bartender gave me a discount — since no one out there had heard of Dixie and he had couple of cases left."

Special People Dept.

  • Ira Landry, of Denham Springs, celebrated his 92nd birthday Thursday, Jan. 30.

Le mule

Yogi Naquin has another story from "down da bayou:"

"Pawpaw Naquin had an old mule who would pull his plow as he farmed. The mule only understood French. Pawpaw would give him commands in French.

"As a little boy, I would try to tell the mule something in English, with no luck. But once I would say 'Allons' ('Let's go'), he would go."

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.