Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, tells a story that explains why he's not this column's apparel consultant:

"Some time ago I had accumulated a collection of men's toiletries I wanted to donate to the downtown Catholic men's shelter.

"I put them in my car and proceeded to drive downtown. I thought I had a general idea of where the shelter was, but couldn't find it.

"I drove to St. Joseph Cathedral and went into the office next door to ask.

"The gentleman at the desk was helping what appeared to be a homeless man, and rather than wait, I kinda butted in to ask him the location.

"He cut me short, telling me that if I wanted a room for the night, I would have to wait my turn.

"When I told this to my wife, she admonished me by saying that she had been telling me for some time I needed to dress better."

Grumpy says 'Thanks'

Tom Hawk says, "I was the designated 'grumpy old man' by the time I was 42, so it is unusual for me to express gratitude.

"However, on Saturday, I was stuck, motionless, on a New Orleans bridge behind some fender-crushing nitwits who received driver's licenses without ever having learned how to drive.

"I was in the midst of composing a scathing email to my boss regarding never sending me to New Orleans again.

"There was a knock on my driver's side window, and a gray-haired gent informed me that my radiator was draining on the pavement.

"I never had a chance to thank him for preventing me from burning up the engine on my truck. Not sure where I was, but I remember seeing Michoud just before hitting the bridge. Thank you, sir."

Nostalgia Corner

Fred Rabalais, of Fort Worth, Texas, says, "Reading about the buggies in Amish country in the Monday column reminded me of when I was a child (l’m 82 now) we would drive down from Bunkie to Jennings early Sunday morning to visit relatives for the day.

"We went the back way, through Cajun country. I remember passing by a Catholic church where almost all the vehicles were black buggies."

Nostalgia Corner II

Carol Stutzenbecker, of Kenner, has another story of travel in bygone times:

"Growing up in Shreveport in the 1950s, I would accompany Grandma Julia on a trip to Batchelor to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins.

"Getting there was a real challenge! In Shreveport we would board a passenger train to Melville, where my aunt would pick us up in her car.

"Then we would drive to catch the ferry that took us across the Atchafalaya River. Once we got across the river we had to travel down a long, dusty graveled road to reach her home out in the country.

"The last leg of the trip meant we had to drive across a cattle grate to get to her home.

"The fun was just beginning! She would serve homemade biscuits and canned fig preserves, pot roast, rice and gravy, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, peach cobbler and iced tea.

"Fun days!" 

Special People Dept.

  • Jennie Crifasi Fonte celebrates her 102nd birthday Tuesday, July 30. She is the oldest living graduate of St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge.
  • Louise Ritter, of the Lakeview neighborhood in New Orleans, celebrated her 98th birthday Sunday, July 28.

Aging process

When Georgie Smith, of New Orleans, sent me the note about her friend Louise Ritter's 98th birthday she added this:

"She teaches bridge twice a week and attends Mass daily. … Always has a bright smile for all.

"I'm about 20 years younger, and I once mentioned to Louise that I didn't understand how she is able to always be so active and cheerful.

"Louise smiled and told me: 'Getting old is inconvenient.'

"This is now my motto, and I have it printed on a large index card in my entry hall. Whenever I walk by, and if I am not particularly cheerful and possibly even grumbling, I'll see Louise's printed words and they support me to be a better person."

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