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Michelle Hocke, of Slidell, says, "The fast-approaching July 4 holiday brought to mind the following memory of my sister Laura preparing to pop fireworks.

"Before popping firecrackers, Laura read the directions on the package to me: 'Lay on ground, light fuse, get away fast.'

"With much confusion in her voice, she said, 'If you're laying on the ground, how do you get away fast?'

"That was about 50 years ago, and it still makes me chuckle."

American taste

"Here's a Tabasco story with international flair," Robert Hebert, of Baton Rouge, says:

"Back in 1995, my wife and I were living on the Left Bank in Paris while I was doing research under the auspices of the Fulbright Program.

"Like most Parisians, we did our grocery shopping almost daily to ensure the freshest ingredients.

"One day, while perusing the local wines for sale, I noticed a small sign designating an assortment of 'American' foods. I had to investigate.

"To my surprise and amusement, the 'section' consisted of two items: Tabasco sauce and Old El Paso taco shells.

"Was that a paean or a put-down?"

From what I know of the French, Robert, I'd go with put-down.

Which reminds me

When my daughter Tammy and my son-in-law Boyce were in San Diego for a national school boards conference, they visited an area with a fascinating array of little shops.

One of the shops specialized in spices, and they went in hoping to find some exotic peppers or other seasonings for Boyce, an accomplished Cajun cook.

They were surprised, and amused, to find an entire wall of the little shop devoted to Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning, from Ville Platte.   

When Jackie played

Ted Landaiche waxes nostalgic over the old Evangeline League:

"The Baton Rouge Red Sticks baseball team mentioned in your column reminded me of going to many Red Sticks games with my father and neighbor across the street.

"The highlight of attending a game in the stadium on the hill overlooking City Park Lake was when Jackie Robinson played in an exhibition game there.

"We had to stand in the outfield because of the crowd. Great experience."

And a reminder that the greatest player to ever set foot in that stadium wouldn't have been welcome on Baton Rouge's Class C baseball team. The "good ole days" weren't so good for everyone …

Special People Dept.

— Barbara and Jack Newton Sr., of Metairie, celebrate their 67th anniversary Sunday, June 27.

— Louis and Shirley Adams, of Thibodaux, celebrate 66 years of marriage Friday, June 25.

— Herb and Gwen Patterson, of Harvey, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Sunday, June 27. They were high school sweethearts for four years.

— Pete and Mary Yager, of Mandeville, celebrate their 61st anniversary Friday, June 25.

— Jean and Dick Bengtson, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 51st anniversary Sunday, June 27. He is a retired LSU professor. She is a retired middle school librarian.

— Iris and Van Foster celebrate 50 years of marriage Friday, June 25.

— Becky and Ted Williams, of Metairie, celebrate their 50th anniversary Saturday, June 26.

— Larry and JiJi Jonas celebrate their 50th anniversary Sunday, June 27, with a rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Dirty dining

"Granddaughter Zelda, 7, likes to eat fruits and vegetables straight out of the garden," says Gail Stephenson, of Baton Rouge.

"She'll pull a carrot from the ground and munch on it with bits of earth still clinging to it, or nibble on a green bean or a blackberry without worrying that an insect might have just crawled over it.

"Her parents just shrug; their garden is organic. But I was raised to wash everything before eating it.

"One afternoon, picking blueberries, I decided to pop a sun-warmed berry into my mouth. Heavenly! I think Zelda might be on to something …"

Peppered with puns

Bill Haynie, of Slidell, says, "To 'curry' favor with my pun pals and respond to the 'thyme is cumin' groaner, this spicy remark:

“A ‘sage’ person knows mislabeling and moving ‘all spice’ bottles around without spousal approval could place you in a (dill) pickle.”

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.