In the interest of local history, I should note that this column started 42 years ago Friday — on June 4, 1979.

I was a youthful business reporter for the Morning Advocate when the editors asked me to start a daily "column about nothing." Of course, that's not how they phrased it, but that's pretty much what they meant.

From the start, it was unstructured, and very much dependent on contributors telling stories about things that interested them.

If I had limited it to stories about my life, I would have run out of interesting material in a week or so.

But fortunately, and to my amazement, readers responded with tales of funny stuff they'd done or seen; nice things people did for them; old businesses they recalled from their youth; milestone birthdays and anniversaries, and some of the worst jokes known to man or beast.

As always, I'm indebted to those who keep this thing going, so I don't have to go back to my old job, bagging groceries.

Bayou law

Tony Falterman, sheriff and then district attorney in Assumption Parish, comments on our Thursday story about a speeder in Napoleonville:

"The officer mentioned is the much beloved, now deceased, Clarence Ponson. He was chief of police when Napoleonville, now a village, was a town."

Tony says when the chief stopped the speeder, who said he was from Houston, he questioned him about why he had Texas plates.

"I actually sent you that story about Chief Ponson many, many, moons ago!

"He was the Yogi Berra type of individual I vividly remember, and gave all of us many Ponsonisms to remember him by!"

What's the hurry?

J.B. Castagnos, of Donaldsonville, says the Napoleonville police story above brought this one to mind:

"One of the local oil companies had an older truck driver, Pete. He was a good driver, but rarely exceeded 30 mph.

"He was driving through Napoleonville with a line of vehicles behind him. An officer stopped him and gave him a ticket for obstructing traffic.

"Pete radioed his boss, Russel, and told him what happened. Russel knew the police chief and called, telling him that Pete always drove slow but he was a good driver with no accidents.

"The chief said, 'OK, I'll give his license back. Tell him he doesn't have to stop; I'll just hand it to him when he's passing by.'"

Northern neighbors

Jim Carruth says the 23rd annual North Baton Rouge Neighborhoods Reunion (for folks who lived in that part of town in the '30s through '60s) "returns Thursday, July 8, after a year absence due to the COVID pandemic.

"It will be at old Sherwood Forest Country Club, now The Legacy at Bonne Esperance, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"For more information contact Wayne Price, (225) 333-6380."

Shooting Larks

As a certified Old Person, it pleases me to report that the Louisiana Larks basketball team, ranging in age from 77 to 92, won the gold in the Senior Olympics Basketball tournament in Biloxi, Mississippi, beating the Mississippi and Alabama teams.

Dwight Smith, 92, earned two individual gold medals in the free throws and three-point shooting contests.

Other team members are Glen Gobert, Val Fontenot, Charles Bradley, and Bob Brumberger. They've trained at the Spectrum Fitness gym in Baton Rouge for over 30 years.

Special People Dept.

— Dale Nyman, of Baton Rouge, celebrated his 90th birthday Friday, June 4. He is a veteran of the Korean War.

— Connie and Edward Bouterie, of Thibodaux, celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday, June 5.

Tell it like it is

George Sells, of Baton Rouge, says, "With the exception of Mississippi, and occasionally Arkansas, it seems that Louisiana is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to income, vaccination rates, education, obesity, you name it.

"But at least our folks acknowledge their plight. Check the attached photo of a shiny Ford F-150 truck I was behind on College Drive in Baton Rouge on Wednesday."

Of course we don't run photos, but I can tell you the truck had a Louisiana license plate reading simply "POOR." 


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.