Martin St. Romain II passes along his dad's World War I story of a chance meeting in Nantes, France, in 1918.

His dad, Martin St. Romain, said his outfit, the 113th Field Signal Battalion, had an overnight pass to visit the town.

There he noticed "a terrible commotion which aroused my curiosity."

"An old man who could speak only French was trying to make himself understood to a crowd of about 50 American soldiers who were seeking his souvenirs.

"I walked up and greeted him in French. I helped him clear out the crowd, and was invited to join him in a few drinks of such liquors as I had never seen before.

"The man, Albert Brunet, felt indebted to me for the nice job I had done in the sale of his merchandise, and extended an invitation to a feast of nice juicy horse steak to be prepared in my honor the following Sunday. I did my best to accept willingly…

"But luck was with me, for on Saturday afternoon before the planned banquet I was ordered to duty in a nearby town.

"I experienced disappointment — not in the meal I missed, but in the old man. It was his fine character and grand conversation I disliked leaving behind."  

Discriminating slugs

Robert Nethken has another K&B beer story involving slugs:

"About 35 years ago, in Baton Rouge, we had a little garden. We planted butterbeans, okra, tomatoes, etc.

"Slugs just loved our garden. We would bury a jar lid in the garden and pour it full of Heineken beer, and the slugs would come running and fall in.

"One time we had no beer to put in the lid, so I went to K&B to get a can of beer. We poured the K&B beer into the lid, and the slugs hurried up to it.

"But, alas, they turned and went away. The cheap K&B beer was definitely not as appetizing to them as the more expensive Dutch beer."

Artist at work

Al Bethard, of Lafayette, says my recent seminar on Borden's ice cream parlors reminded him of the iconic one still operating in his city:

"On a recent visit to the Lafayette Borden's, my friend and I watched in awe as one of the workers constructed a truly monumental banana split.

"He carefully applied toppings, and was equally careful in covering the confection with a mountain of whipped cream, decorated with three cherries.

"It was like watching a master artist at work. When he finished, three people enjoyed his banana split."  

Thanks, Round Oak

A "most appreciative" lady thanks "some wonderfully kind residents of the Round Oak subdivision in Baton Rouge:

"I recently attended an estate sale there, and the riding mower I wanted to purchase would not start.

"After the gentleman who worked the estate sale could not start it, a kind and observant nurse who was at the sale saw his futile efforts and graciously offered the help of her husband, and also contacted a couple of neighbors to come and assist.

"One neighbor, still dressed from attending church, came with his charger to charge the battery, and another, a mechanic, helped get it started. They also gave me a brief tutorial on how to operate it.

"A neighbor across the street helped to load it, and his wife offered refreshments.

"You guys shine! You should have gotten a commission for helping to clinch the deal. I wanted to share this to spotlight something we rarely read or hear about — kindness. Keep it up!"

Special People Dept.

Ted and Mollie Roy Landaiche celebrate 60 years of marriage Thursday, Feb. 13. Ted says, "We were married in Marksville, and 8 inches of snow covered the town that day."

Extra passengers

After I mentioned my (admittedly slim) "Joy of Aging" file, Joseph W. Berey, of Covington, had this comment:

"My wife and I just celebrated our 52nd anniversary, finding ourselves with the time and means to travel — but we cannot afford to pay for all our doctors to accompany us on our trips."

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.