Dick Hastings, of Abita Springs, says, "In 1954, when I was 13, my mother, baby brother and I went from our home in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to Eagle Harbor, Michigan, on the Lake Superior shore of the Upper Peninsula for summer vacation with my grandfather, who lived in Detroit.

"There were many other teenagers, the beach was walking distance, and we had a great vacation.

"They tagged me with the nickname 'You-All.' I could never convince them the correct pronunciation was 'Y'all.'

"A few years ago, I posted a notice on an Eagle Harbor website inviting any of the teens from the summer of 1954 to contact me. One responded with a letter, including several faded Polaroid snapshots. It was addressed to 'You-All Hastings.’ ”

Getting real

The Advocate's Monday article about Louisiana members of Congress working from home included five photos of congressmen at work.

Two, of Reps. Scalise and Richmond, didn't show a desk. Two others, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Johnson, were shown at neat desks.

But Rep. Garrett Graves' desk at his Baton Rouge congressional office was very much like mine at home — and, I would venture to guess, like yours.

It was a mess: papers everywhere, two coffee flasks, what appears to be a folding umbrella, even a hard hat.

"Baton Rouge Reader" says after seeing the other tidy work spaces, Rep. Graves deserves credit for "keeping it real."

That shrinking feeling

Mike Nola, of Baton Rouge, says, "A friend and I were talking recently, and wonder if any of your astute readers can help us out.

"Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed that during this quarantine period wine bottles have gotten smaller?" 

Good gradou 

"Elphage Caillouette" says "gradou" describes more than the grit between couch cushions:

"Back when Cajun cooks used cast iron for their gumbos, jambalayas, etc. there would usually be a remnant of food left on the bottom of the pot, removed by putting a little water in the hot cooking dish.

"This deglazing yielded a delicious thin gravy, rich in food particles, meat juices, and of course fat. This was known as 'gras doux,' literally 'sweet fat.'
 
"Sometimes we would use it as gravy over rice, or to sop bread in. Probably not the most heart-healthy, but 'Tonaire, mes amis, ca c’est bon, oui!’ ” 

Which reminds me

When I was a kid, I called the "gradou" described above as "scrimblings." (Being from Mississippi, we didn't know many Cajun terms.)
 
As my mom finished frying chicken in her cast iron skillet, there were always crisp pieces of flour coating that fell off into the grease (probably lard, maybe Crisco).
 
I'd hover around the stove, and after she'd removed the chicken from the skillet she'd scoop up some scrimblings, put them on a paper napkin to soak up grease, and give them to me to munch on while she made milk gravy.
 
Not healthy, of course, but very tasty.

Special People Dept.

Miles Lawrence Jr. and Mary Joseph Lawrence, of Scotlandville, celebrate their 70th anniversary Tuesday, May 5. He is a World War II veteran. They are members of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Cattle call 

Nancy C. Van Den Akker adds to Cajun phrases mentioned in the Monday column:

"My grandmother, Eva Henry Weinstein, growing up around 1910 on Frenchtown Road near Baton Rouge, quoted an old farmer looking for missing cattle: 'You see my cow down by the bayou, you push her in (toward home).’ ”

Baaad idea

Calvin Golden, of Baton Rouge, says, "If barber shops don’t open soon, I may have to head out to the sheep farm and line up for the next shearing."

Heed those voices

Stuart Clark, of Lafayette, says, "These days, staying at home all day makes it very difficult for me to fight off the temptation to eat sweets, especially chocolate.

"When I look at chocolate, I always hear two voices in my head. The first says: 'You need to eat that chocolate.'

"The other voice goes: 'You heard correctly; now eat the chocolate.’ ”


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.