Peggy Duffel Simmons, of New Orleans, tells this harrowing story, which sounds like a "Planet of the Apes" prequel:
"When I was 10, in 1950, I played clarinet in the Redemptorist School band in Baton Rouge.
"Every year we marched in the parade leading to the opening of the Louisiana State Fair in Donaldsonville.
"My grandmother, Bertha Duffel, lived on Iberville Street and would stand on the corner and wave to me as we marched by.
"We would board the school bus and travel to Donaldsonville in our regular clothes and then change into our band uniforms.
"Arriving in Donaldsonville, the band director said we would stop to get a cold drink. Behind the restaurant there was a spider monkey tethered to a wire across the yard so he could run.
"Wanting to see the cute little monkey, I ran toward the back of the yard. Just as I was approaching the monkey he came running, jumped on me, bit my arm and left dirty paw prints on my white dress. I was scared and bleeding.
"My arm was cleaned and bandaged. How do you explain that to parents?"
(You simply say, "Parents, I was monkeying around where I shouldn't have been monkeying around. …")
Great Excuses Dept.
Glenn Everett, a retired judge, says, "In court I heard a driver explain his excessive speed was because he was low on gas and he was trying to reach a station before he ran out."
You have the time?
Mike Romano, of Lake Rosemound, says, "I wonder if some of the senior readers of your column remember the days when we had to call on our telephone to get the correct time.
"As a child growing up in Baton Rouge I always wanted to make sure before going to bed on a Friday night that my windup alarm clock had the correct time — because I did not want to be late to go fishing with my uncle the next morning.
"I still remember our telephone number — 44358."
Which reminds me
When we moved to Baton Rouge from Natchez, I was in fourth grade, and I recall two things that impressed me about our new city:
One, Baton Rouge at that time had five-digit phone numbers, while Natchez still had only three. Ours on Washington Street was 619.
Two, Baton Rouge had "cocktail lounges," which seemed to me dark, mysterious, romantic places for adults. Natchez was more or less officially dry, so most liquor was consumed at home (there were a LOT of house parties), delivered by your friendly neighborhood bootlegger.
Special People Dept.
- Alene M. Watts, of Wynhoven in Marrero, celebrates her 101st birthday on Friday, Oct. 5. She is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.
- Mary "YiaYia" Pepps, of New Orleans, celebrated her 101st birthday on Sept. 14. She is an active member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. (“YiaYia” is "grandmother" in Greek).
- William “Bill” Gilbert, a native of Napoleonville and resident of Thibodaux, celebrates his 100th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 6. He is a World War II veteran.
- Beulah Ferachi, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 95th birthday on Friday, Oct. 5.
- Mary Polozola Dixon, a former Melville resident now at Flannery Oaks Guest House in Baton Rouge, celebrated her 94th birthday on Thursday, Oct. 4.
- Walter “Bud” Leonard celebrates his 94th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 6. A World War II veteran, he flew 27 missions over Germany and dropped supplies during the Battle of the Bulge.
- Albert Kidd, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 92nd birthday on Saturday, Oct. 6.
- Harvey and Loretta Gonsoulin, of New Iberia, celebrate 55 years of marriage on Friday, Oct. 5.
The late John Allphin's granddaughter, Brenna Allphin-Smith Perez, of Baton Rouge, reminds me that it's been seven years since the death of John, the source of many groaners in this column:
She calls my attention to this one:
“The doctor’s secretary called an old farmer and said, ‘Your check came back today.’
“The old man replied, ‘Yep, and so did my arthritis.’ ”
Thought for the Day
Algie Petrere says, "With all the leaking going on in Washington these days, I am reminded of a saying by Benjamin Franklin: ‘Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.’ ”