Ernie Gremillion says, "The story about pinball machines reminds me of this:

"Years ago there was a federal stamp requirement on both coin operated gaming devices ($250 per year) and plain amusement devices ($50 per year). The Internal Revenue Service was responsible for administering the issuance of the stamps and collection of the stamp fees.

"The story was that an IRS compliance officer was doing a check on a remote fishing camp in the marshes of southwest Louisiana.

"He noticed on the counter a large glass jar filled with water, with a baby food jar at the bottom. The sign on it explained if you dropped a coin in the water and it landed in the small jar, you were paid 5 to 1.

"Looking up the regulations in his manual, the officer determined that it indeed was a coin operated gaming device, subject to the $250 license plus a 25% penalty for noncompliance.

"Needless to say, after all the fees and fines were paid, the fish camp owner permanently removed the jar."

He's busted

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, continues our series on confessions of youthful misdeeds:

"When my grandfather passed away, he left his Plymouth Valiant to my mother. I was a novice driver who usually didn’t have direct access to it, but one weekend my parents had to go out of town — and there it was.

"I was told in no uncertain terms that the Valiant was off limits, and obeyed the order for at least a couple of hours before the temptation became too much.

"Well before they were expected back, I put gas in the car and carefully returned it to the place it had been when they left. And I still got busted.

"My observant mother had noticed that there was more gas in the tank than there’d been when she left."

Scootin' along

Ronnie Melancon, of Gretna, says, "Your contributors have written in about chinaball guns and rubber band guns, but there was one other homemade device that will bring back memories — the foot propelled scooter.

"All you needed was two pieces of wood nailed together, L-shaped, and one roller skate. Two skate wheels were nailed to the back of the bottom board, and two were nailed to the front. Worked like a charm for me in the late ’40s!"

Nice People Dept.

A Baton Rouge lady says, "Sunday night my husband and I decided to try the Blue Corn Tequila & Tacos restaurant. We found it had a youthful crowd.

"When we went to pay, we were told an anonymous couple had picked up our tab. I hadn't thought we looked that old, but the charming waiter assured me age had not entered into it. They thought we looked 'sweet' coming in.

"It was a treat, and I promise to 'pay it forward' if I find someone older, and sweet as well!"

Mail call

Ronnie Stutes, of Baton Rouge, offers a hint to mailers:

"With the departure of all the other tenants, the post office at Entrance 5 of Cortana Mall now has the largest parking lot of any post office in America."

Special People Dept.

  • Paul Cire Bajon, of White Castle, celebrates his 100th birthday Sunday, Sept. 8. A World War II veteran in the Army Air Corps, then the Army, he holds the Combat Infantry Badge and seven medals, including the Bronze Star.
  • Sam Pizzolato, of St. Gabriel, celebrates his 90th birthday Friday, Sept. 6.
  • Charles and Peggy Breard, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Saturday, Sept. 7.
  • Joel and Madeline Ringer, of St. Rose, celebrate 60 years of marriage Friday, Sept. 6.
  • Julaine and Isby Schexnayder, of New Iberia, celebrate their 57th anniversary Sunday, Sept. 8.
  • Donald and Diana "Tootie Pruett" Andre celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, Sept. 6.

Racking up decades

Fritz McCameron, of Baton Rouge, offers this comment on the aging process:

"In my 60s I said jokingly,

‘Getting old is tough.’

In my 70s I said solemnly,

‘Getting old is tough.’

In my 80s I said grimly,

‘Getting old is tough.’

Next month I’ll be 90."

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.