Thoughts on the joy of home schooling:

  • Paula King, of Gretna, says, "My daughter-in- law is working hard to keep my 7-year-old grandson up to date with school work. He called to ask if I could help him replace his mom — as the one he has is mean."
  • Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "Someone sent me an email about home schooling: 'Three weeks of home schooling my 7-, 9- and 12-year-old went exceedingly well! They all graduated high school, and will be ready to move out and get jobs when the quarantine is over!’ ”

Oranges in 'Baton Rushe'

Al Bethard, of Lafayette, reading the book "Booking in the Heartland" by Jack Matthews, came across mention of the 1885 diary of Charley Smith, a 16-year-old deckhand from Ohio, describing a trip down the Mississippi on the riverboat Kate Timmons.

Of Baton Rouge, Charley writes, "Here in Baton Rushe we saw the first oranges growing. … I saw in Baton Rushe the Penetenshrey, they work their men on public works about 4 miles below town … sugar plantations on both sides of the river … beautiful groves of live oak trees in front of some Residence."   

Smith wrote almost nothing about New Orleans when the boat arrived there: "I cannot describe it. I spent almost a day in the City, came to the boat tired slept all night."

Matthews says it might be a case of "What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans," or perhaps the lad was indeed just overwhelmed by the city.

Trips down the Mississippi River have long fascinated storytellers (Charley's trip was made the year "Huckleberry Finn" was published). And while Matthews describes the diary (written in pencil on a lined tablet) as "primitive," he also terms it "particularly fascinating" and "rare to the point of uniqueness."

Going frog wild

Mary Pramuk says she was walking back to the house from picking up The Advocate when she was "held up by a sentry on the screen door handle — a tiny frog who wouldn’t let go until I said 'I live here' and lightly touched him.

"Then, I had gone to bed early with a good book when out of the corner of an eye I noticed a small dark spot on the rug moving toward the bed. It was a tiny tree frog, and his next jump may have been into my lap.

"My husband captured him in an empty wastebasket and tossed him out into some bushes.

"This was not the end of it. When we tried to go to sleep, we had to listen to a serenade of a loud and persistent love song — or venting anger over being tossed out."

Special People Dept.

  • Mary Marquette, of Metairie, celebrates her 100th birthday Friday, May 8.
  • Lila Villneuve, formerly of Central, currently at Maison de Fleur Assisted Living in Denham Springs, celebrates her 100th birthday Sunday, May 10.
  • Gloria Young, of Landmark of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 97th birthday Sunday, May 10. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will stand outside her window and sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
  • Lois Giles, of Port Allen, formerly of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 95th birthday Sunday, May 10. During World War II, she worked at the government's nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
  • Margaret Bayhi celebrates her 94th birthday Sunday, May 10.
  • Stanley Browning, of Central, celebrates his 91st birthday Saturday, May 9.
  • Melba Dupuy, of White Castle, celebrates her 91st birthday Sunday, May 10.
  • Purvis Hebert, of Gonzales, celebrates his 90th birthday Sunday, May 10. He is a Korean War veteran.

Yucky saying

Tommy Cunningham, of Baton Rouge, says, "I don't know if this qualifies as a Southern saying, but one of my mother's favorites, used every time I said 'I want this' or 'Buy me that' was 'Spit in one hand and want in the other and see which one fills up first.'

"I've used it many times on our kids and grandkids. I'm not sure they ever got the point, but it does change the subject."

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.