Dear Smiley: Since I am still practicing law, I was asked recently by an elderly Cajun woman to prepare her last will and testament.
Therefore, I hosted a rather solemn meeting with the maternal matron and her several children in order to decide on the disposition of her assets.
Tellingly, most of the really serious discussion centered on how to fairly distribute among the heirs her four beloved cast-iron gumbo pots.
WARREN A. PERRIN
Taking the heat
Dear Smiley: I've enjoyed the mentions of Charlie McClendon's tandem quarterback strategy. He'd always have one quarterback who could throw the length of the field and the other one to run the option.
I was a broadcast journalism student in the early '70s and was able to get an interview with Coach Mac in his office.
He asked me why I wasn't asking about the current quarterback controversy. I told him everybody had asked him about it, and figured he was tired of talking about it.
What has stuck in my memory for nearly 50 years was when he told me it really hurt his young quarterbacks when the crowd would boo when a change was made.
He told them, "They aren't booing you, they're booing me."
Dear Smiley: I have another story about a kid misunderstanding what a grownup says.
When I was little, my mama used to tell my sister and me, "Too late for Herpicide!" in situations where we had not planned ahead and suffered resulting negative consequences.
I never asked her what it meant, but since I had learned that herpetology was the study of amphibians and reptiles, including snakes, I assumed that Herpicide was a snake bite preventive.
When I was older, I asked my mama if that was what it meant, and she laughed and shook her head. She said there used to be ads with the caption "Too late for Herpicide" under a drawing of a bald man, indicating hair loss.
This is another example of my missing the exact meaning of one of my mama's many maxims, but still absorbing the basic message.
Dear Katie: Herpicide was developed by Dupont Newbro in 1898, to kill parasites he said caused dandruff and possibly hair loss. The name is from the Latin "herpes," to creep, and "cide," to kill. "Too late for Herpicide" became a popular catch phrase.
Can you dig it?
Dear Smiley: In 1985, a circus was setting up its "big top" in Springhill, using an elephant to raise the main pole. The pole contacted a power line, killing the elephant.
It was decided that it was most practical to bury the 4,000-pound animal on the spot rather than hauling it away.
David Jean, the local health unit sanitarian, was tasked with assuring a proper sanitary burial. He procured a large amount of lime and engaged a backhoe to dig a huge grave.
David had studied paleontology in college, and had once participated in a dig that unearthed a mastodon. He always said he was the only person he knew who had dug up an elephant and buried one.
Dear Smiley: On problems that travelers have with languages, there’s the matter of trying to find where to eat in Russia.
Nowadays, there are fast food places with Western names on signs.
But when I was a reporter in Moscow during Soviet times, signs simply said PECTOPAH. Travelers who did not know the Cyrillic alphabet could have gone hungry.
The Cyrillic P is our R, the C is our S, and the H is our N. So those signs said “restoran.”
Russia had adopted the French word. In return, the Russian word for "hurry up" used by impatiently hungry Russian soldiers in France to defeat Napoleon became the French word "bistro."
Dear Smiley: About hurricanes songs:
I’m not singing after Hurricane Ida, but before it I sure sang (apologies to Jimmy Buffett and his song "Volcano"):
Ida go or I'm a gonna go where the margaritas flow."