The arrival of cooler days and nights brings thoughts of gumbo, and the seasonal controversy about this divisive issue:

Should you put your potato salad into the bowl with the gumbo?

I must say I am firmly against this practice. After going to all the trouble to construct a perfect, steaming hot bowl of fragrant chicken and sausage gumbo, why dump cold (I assume) potato salad on top?

Potato salad is a great side dish for almost any entrée, and gumbo is a special treat cherished by Louisiana cooks. Let's keep them separate. 

Water treatment

Perry Rose, of Denham Springs, tells this "teaching a lesson" story:

"There was an area of the plant that required hard hats to be worn. They were kept near the entrance in a 7-foot-high rack. Someone kept taking my hard hat and placing it on top of the rack.

"This went on for a week or so when I figured a way to teach the perp a lesson.

"I placed the hat upside down and did this for a month, to get him used to taking it upside down.

"Finally I placed the hat back in its proper place, filled  with water.

"Big Al, a mechanic, was a real hulking brute. When he started to go into the room where hard hats were required, Frank, our production supervisor, reminded him a hat was needed.

"Big Al grabbed one from the rack. Mine.

"I'm told Big Al was very surprised at the dousing, head to toe.

"The best part was he got the blame for it, because 'Who would be stupid enough to put water in his own hard hat?'

"I never let on that I did it."

(Funny story, Perry — but now Big Al knows who did it and where you live.)

Sounds suspicious

Avid golfer Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, says, "In 1972, I was a member of Briarwood Golf Club, and responsible for purchasing trophies for the club tournament.

"After I selected trophies for the winners of each flight, the salesman asked me about a trophy for the medalist (lowest qualifying score).

"Although I had only a few dollars left in my budget, he offered me a single, very large, trophy he had left over for what funds I had left.

"As it turned out, I was the medalist.

"When the trophies were being presented, I got more than a few curious looks, since it had been announced that I was in charge of buying the trophies."

About the host

On Thursday I ran a funny little story about a kid at Mass who got the host stuck in the roof of his mouth.

I sought to explain the physical nature of the host, relying on my years as an altar boy and Episcopal congregant. Evidently my rather clumsy explanation offended some readers, who felt it was disrespectful about something that, in the service, becomes the body of Christ.

They have called for corrections or retractions.

I don't want to turn this column into a forum for religious beliefs, so I'll just say this: I regret that a lighthearted story about a Catholic childhood has led anyone to think I would knowingly disparage a ceremony that has been part of my life for so long.         

Special People Dept.

Esther Morrison, of Baton Rouge, known as "Mrs. Dutch" of Dutch’s Lawnmower and Bicycle, celebrated her 91st birthday Tuesday, Oct. 13. She celebrated by volunteering at Mary’s House of Bread.

What do you shink?

Ron Kennedy, of Baton Rouge, gives this example of how "misunderstanding words and pronunciation is worldwide and potentially dangerous:

"I once attended a continuing education course where the lecturer showed TV ads from around the world to break the monotony.

"I don't remember the product, but one ad was about a German Coast Guard unit with the officer sitting at the radio.

"He received a message: 'SOS, SOS, somebody please help us; we are sinking!'

"He sat there and said, 'Humpfh.'

"The message came back: 'SOS, SOS, we are sinking…'

"Then he said on the radio: 'Und vot is it you are shinking about?'"     

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.