A frustrated reader files this quarantine complaint:

"When I was a younger man and joined the Navy, I was introduced to what the leaders called 'working parties.'

"Every sailor and Marine knows what I am talking about. Every time a senior leader felt his crew was bored, he'd assign them a task such as painting, swabbing or moving stuff from one place to another.

"The logic during a painting party was that if it doesn't move, paint it; if it moves, salute it.

"I have painted the house, garage, decks, gazebo, furniture and whatever else has struck my commanding officer's (wife's) fancy during this lockdown.

"I sure hope this virus clears soon; I am afraid the commanding officer will decide that everything should be a different color.

"If we can't get the virus cleared up, could we at least limit the amount of paint a hardware store is allowed to sell a single household?"

The other brother

Over the years, I've enjoyed "small world" stories sent in by readers, about running into folks with local ties in the most unlikely places. This tale, from Alma Mims, of Mandeville, is one of the best:

"Many years ago, we were returning back home from a vacation trip to Philadelphia in our Winnebago, and had just gotten on the road when suddenly our RV was chugging along very dangerously slow on a busy interstate.

"We pulled off an exit on a Sunday and was referred to a gentleman with a shop. We called, and he said he was having dinner but would come to his shop.

"As soon as my husband saw this man, he said, 'Man, you have a twin in Metairie, Louisiana.'

"The Pennsylvania repairman said, 'Yes, my twin brother works at a truck repair shop there, close to the Lakeside Shopping Center.'

"My husband had a few beers with him. What a small world!"

Drown your sorrows

Wayne Weilbaecher, of Covington, says, "In line with the stories about old New Orleans barrooms, maybe one of your readers will remember a barroom across the street from Jacob Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street.

"The highlight was the 25-cent drinks (cheap even for the ’50s).

"It was well known at the time that even those who didn't like to attend funerals couldn't pass up 25-cent drinks with your fellow mourners. Many a toast were given at this bar for the deceased."

Special People Dept.

  • Joanna Spring Champagne, a former Baton Rouge resident now at Lambeth House/St. Anna's Assisted Living in New Orleans, celebrates her 99th birthday Sunday, April 26.
  • Lucy Mae "Lou" Alleman, of Paincourtville, celebrates her 98th birthday Saturday, April 25.
  • Elliot "Razor" Raisen celebrates his 92nd birthday Friday, April 24.
  • Jesse York, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 92nd birthday Friday, April 24.

Coming clean

Marvin Borgmeyer says, "On a police show, I just heard the police yell to the bad guy, 'Come out with your hands washed.'"

It's not grits

Mary H. Thompson, of Baton Rouge, tells of a toddler true to her Louisiana roots:

"Our son, daughter-in-law and 18-month-old granddaughter live in Chicago, where April snow is not unusual. This week they took her to the park to check out some of the cold white stuff.

"She put her hand down, grabbed a pinch of it and said, 'Gradoux!' I agree with that!"

True gritty

In case some folks aren't familiar with the term gradoux, or gradou, I asked Ann Plauche Bachmann, of New Roads, this column's unpaid Cajun French linguist, to explain:

"Gradou is unwanted stuff that collects without your knowledge that’s gross and needs to be cleaned! Under fingernails and toenails, the bottom of your purse or school bag … where did all that stuff come from? It's also stuff that you can’t scrub off the frying pan, or the mess that collects around your faucets."

Ann says it's a popular term around New Roads, and wonders, "Does this word expand beyond Pointe Coupee Parish?"

Aging process

David Stoker says, "You know you're getting along in years when you sit in a rocking chair and can't get it moving."

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.