With Veterans Day coming up on Thursday, David Palmisano, of Marrero, recalls this incident from his Air Force days:

"It is great to see our vets receiving recognition they deserve. This was not so much the case when I served between ’69 and ’73, but I still remember an exception.

"Wearing my dress blues, I had just taken my seat on Pan Am 747 for the New York to Rome flight, for an 18-month deployment to San Vito, Italy.

"A stewardess (what they were called back then) asked if I would switch seats so a lady could sit next to her husband. I would have sat on the wing if asked!

"I grabbed my packet of travel orders and was about to sit in the vacated seat when she said, 'No, not here; follow me.'

"We did not stop walking till we reached the first class section. She gave me a smile, told me, 'Thank you for the seat swap and your service,' and disappeared.

"Thanks to all our vets!"

Thirsty work

Earl Newman, of Baton Rouge, says, "While searching for something on TV to soothe my pain after the Saints last-minute heartbreaking loss to the Falcons (and still feeling the seething pain of LSU’s 'close but no cigar' loss to the Crimson Tide), I came across the 2021 New York City Marathon 'highlights'.

"I didn’t tune in, but only wondered what the highlights of a distance run could be.

"I ran in the first and second Great River Road Runs, sponsored by The Advocate, ’79 and ’80 as I remember.

"The only 'highlight' I had was, upon completion of the first one, where we entered and circled the LSU track to the finish line, gasping for breath and wondering what in the world prompted me to torture myself like that, I noticed some fans occupying the back of their pickup truck drinking beer from an ice chest.

"I promptly offered them my firstborn male child for a beer (I got it, but wasn’t required to forfeit a child). That was all the highlight I needed."

Which reminds me

Since, as mentioned above, this paper sponsored the Great River Road Run, I felt obligated to go down to Nicholson Drive to check on the event.

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As it happened, The Pastime restaurant and lounge was on the route, and seemed to offer me a fine vantage point.

The late great bartender Joe "Joe Lipp" Lippian joined me in the doorway as we watched the runners.

As they ran by, Joe told me some of his regular customers had told him they were running, and he wanted to wave to them as they ran by.

We waited, and waited, and didn't see any of Joe's regulars until the very last group of runners struggled by.

As he dutifully waved to them, Joe told me he had realized that perhaps the Pastime bar wasn't the best place to train for a distance running event.

River crossing

Our story about the scary train ride over the Huey P. Long Bridge brought this recollection from Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville:

"This reminds me of the stories my mother told me of the trains to New Orleans actually placed on a barge to cross the river, pushed by tugs. How scary was that?

"Southern Pacific’s ferry barge was called the 'Mastadon.' The Huey P. Long Bridge ended the use of it and other barges that transported trains across the river."

Cutting remarks

Yogi Naquin, of Bayou Blue, says, "As I read the story about haircuts, I remembered when I was a youngster, the 'old' men at the barbershop would sit around and spend time there; no rush. 

"Haircuts were 50 cents, and 10 cents more to shave your neck, plus have some good-smelling stuff put on.

"Now, as I look back today, I realize those 'old' men were a lot younger than I am today.

"My old barber had a sign in his shop, 'Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.'

"Never could figure it out until I became one of those old men." 


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.