Dear Smiley: Eighty years ago, New Orleans hosted the first NFL regular-season game in the southern United States.
In mid-October 1938, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney (whose football team was called the Pirates from 1933-39) got NFL permission to move the team’s upcoming home game vs. the Cleveland Rams to early December and relocate it.
(This was because of low attendance, despite published reports of bad weather or home field remodeling.)
Negotiations with Chattanooga, Tennessee, failed, and a friend recommended that Rooney speak with New Orleans officials on the availability of City Park Stadium.
So on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2:15 p.m., some 7,500 people paid between $1 and $2.50 to watch Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Rams.
The Rams dominated most of the contest, but Byron “Whizzer” White prevented a Pittsburgh shutout with a 46-yard run, followed by a touchdown pass to end Wilbur Sortet on the game’s last play. Still, the Rams won 13-7.
Whizzer White would temporarily leave the NFL to study under a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University. Later, he became a Supreme Court justice.
Dear Smiley: My “small world" moment came years ago when I was working as volunteer director for Hotel Dieu Hospital in New Orleans.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, for a workshop, I was late for a dinner, and took the only empty chair at the 50 or more tables.
I introduced myself and sat down. I knew no one there, so we began making small talk, inquiring about where we were from, where we worked, and so forth.
At one point, the lady directly across from me said she came from Farmers Branch in Dallas. Chuckling, I said I had lived there a few years ago, and my street name was really odd — Beauty Lane.
The lady’s eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped. “I just moved to that very street,” she said.
“Well, what a coincidence!” I stammered. “I wonder if you lived at my end of the street, 10811.”
She dropped her fork with a clank! “That’s MY house,” she croaked, stunning everyone at the table.
Not for sale
Dear Smiley: Another Western Auto story:
In the early 1970s there was a Western Auto store at Bon Marche shopping center on Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge.
I had a holiday job at J.C. Penney nearby, and one day went into Western Auto to get a couple of things.
I heard the manager in serious conversation with his employees. Upon his return to the store from lunch, he had stopped to help a woman having a very difficult time carrying a TV to her car. He admonished his employees for not helping her.
However, it seems no one had sold her a TV. She had stolen it, and the manager had abetted in the crime.
Funny Critter Dept.
Dear Smiley: After reading Sonny Chapman's post regarding God having a sense of humor in making the giraffe, I thought about the platypus.
It seems to me God took some leftover parts to make that critter — a duck's bill, a beaver's tail, the ability to lay eggs, and the male even has poison glands in his rear legs.
Now if that isn't a sense of humor, I don't know what is.
Dear Smiley: Your reader's comment about being warm here compared to those in the Frozen Nawth reminds me of one of the happiest days in my life: when I threw my snow shovel in the trash and climbed in the moving van to head back south!
It also reminded me of the Northerner who saw one of his neighbors frantically filling up a moving van that had a snow shovel tied to the front bumper
The neighbor trudged through the snow and asked, "What are you doing?"
"Where? And why do you have your snow shovel tied to the front bumper?"
"I'm heading to the South, and the first place I stop to refuel and someone points to the snow shovel and asks, 'What's that?' THAT'S where I'm moving!"