APTOPIX George HW Bush

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush passes through Magnolia, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, along the route from Spring to College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool) ORG XMIT: TXDP486

Mike Staid has this observation after viewing funeral services for President George H.W. Bush:

"I just watched them carry the casket out of sight at Texas A&M. I've been watching since the military took charge of the funeral.

"One of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life was the soldier behind the casket. I want to find out who he is.

"For seven days, he has not left the casket. He must come from the Watch of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"Every time that casket moved, he was standing by it; it would not move without him — the same soldier, immaculate, perfect.

"He saluted every time the casket was moved; he never took his eyes off it. When the honor guard was formed at the back of the hearse, eyes front, he was at attention looking at the casket.

"He just marched over the hill out of sight, still on watch, perfect. He was as inspiring to me as the man he took home."

Tears from a Texan

Algie Petrere, of Central, says the Bush funeral reminded her of her Texas upbringing:

"I wasn't going to watch any more of President Bush's funeral but couldn't help myself when they went to College Station. I'm so glad he chose Texas, and especially Texas A&M, as his final resting place.

"Naturally, I cried when they played the Aggie War Hymn when they were bringing him off the train. I sang along through the tears.

"I didn't attend A&M; at that time, it was an all-male college. However, we were indoctrinated to be avid Aggie fans from an early age. The Aggie War Hymn was played at all of our junior high and high school games, and we sang with great enthusiasm."

Wizard on the water

Following a Thursday story from a reader who had trouble starting a Western Auto Water Wizard outboard motor, Robert Robbins, of Baton Rouge, tells of a more positive experience: 

"My fondest memories of Western Auto involve the Wizard 25 horsepower outboard I bought from them around 1956.

"Don't remember how I talked them into giving a school kid a big-ticket item on monthly payments, but they did.

"With addition of a speed prop and the 25 mounted on an old hydroplane hull my brother and I had modified, we could outrun any 40 horsepower outboard on Lake St. John in Concordia Parish.

"After installing a steering wheel in the front cockpit, I was able to pull two (skinny) kids on water skis if they survived the take-off. I would go to full throttle while steering in a circular pattern to reach planing speed, then yank the skiers to the top of the water.

"To my knowledge, none experienced permanent damage."

Special People Dept.

Dorothy D. Romero celebrates her 95th birthday Monday, Dec. 10.

Getting personal

Marsha R. says our tale of creative marketing "reminded me of my brush with extreme targeted marketing back in the '60s.

"Before the days of the internet, where the world is arrayed before you, a company advertised that they could connect you to sellers of exotic and unusual goods from all over the globe. I signed up, sent them $2.98, and they sent a small book of companies, products and addresses. Every month, I sent them $2.98, and they sent another book.

"After about four months, I realized the offerings were not exotic and prices were not domestic, so I stopped sending money. I soon got a letter reminding me to send money, but I ignored it. A second letter did not change my mind.

"The third letter, from the marketing vice president, said he was getting a cup of coffee when Bob in sales told him Mrs. McCormick had not sent in any money for several months. He told Bob he knew Mrs. McCormick, such a faithful customer, would not have dropped her subscription; it surely must be an oversight.

She didn't send more money, but says, "I had to applaud their tactics. I still smile remembering that company."

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.