Bill Jacobson says his brother Larry told him about his first Sunday in retirement after 62-plus years as a Methodist preacher.

“Sara and I enjoyed visiting a church pastored by friends. When it was time for the offering, she nudged me and asked if I was going to put something in the box.

"Now, I had only one medium-sized bill with me. I’d been carrying it around all week, in case of emergency. I had already decided not to give it, but then the Lord also nudged me, so I dropped it in.

"After church, we went across town to eat. When we finished, the waiter came over and said something I’d never heard before: 'There was a family across the room, and before they left they paid for your meal.'

"I’m sure they must have been strangers; we hadn’t seen anyone we knew!"

Bill adds, "Makes one wonder — who provided that meal?"

Never say die

Joel d'Aquin Thibodeaux, of Baton Rouge, tells a saga of survival against all odds:

"I saw a giant, slow-moving roach crawling by the baseboard in the bathroom this morning.

"I said to myself, 'This roach looks sick; he must be almost dead already' as I took a big hard-soled shoe and hit him.

"'Got him!' I thought. He kept crawling to the carpet.

"Wham! 'Got him this time!' I thought. He kept moving to the edge of the laundry hamper.

"I bashed him again, thinking, 'Finally, I really got him!'

"He recovered one more time and scurried away under the hamper! I moved the hamper aside. He was nowhere to be seen! How can it be that I killed this roach three times, and he still got away?"

Well, Joel, if it makes you feel any better, think of the terrible headache he must have today.

Saving Soso

Peter Bourgeois tells this story about choices:

"When I lived in Prairieville, we had a large pond in our backyard.

"One day my wife and I were sitting in chairs at the edge of the pond enjoying a cold beer. Our little dog, Soso, was with us.

"All of a sudden, the water seemed to explode right in front of us, and a 6-foot alligator came charging up to the bank after Soso. Thank God, she ran fast enough to escape.

"Then the alligator stopped alongside my chair, turned around, and walked slowly back into the water. It was an experience I wish I had never had."

After that, it was obvious either the gator or Soso had to go.

Peter explains, "I loved Soso more than I loved the alligator."

Special People Dept.

  • Buddy Mazzeno, of Metairie, celebrates his 99th birthday Friday, Sept. 4. He was a research chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans for 34 years. After retirement, he taught chemistry at Our Lady of Holy Cross College (now University of Holy Cross) for 19 years.
  • Billy and Rhonda Hebert celebrate their 51st anniversary Sunday, Sept. 6.
  • Roger and Renie Clark, of Baton Rouge, celebrate 50 years of marriage Saturday, Sept. 5. They met when they were 15 and in high school in Hammond.

A morning dentist

"When I was a young boy in grammar school," says Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, "my mother would make an appointment for all of us to get our annual dental check up.

"The dentist was a very capable one who had a small fault.

"His brother either owned or worked in a Kentucky bourbon distillery, and sent the brew to his brother by the case.

"If you were fortunate enough to have a morning appointment, you were cared for by a true professional.

"However, if you had an appointment after 2 p.m. …

"My mom made an effort to have only morning appointments for us."

Two reactions

Algie Petrere tells how pets react to our self-isolation:

Dogs: "You're here all day! This is the best; I can love you, see you, be with you and follow you! I am so excited; you are the greatest!"

Cats: "What the hell are you still doing here?"

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.