It would seem you might want to learn how to sail before you actually started sailing.

But, as Peter Dassey of Kenner tells us, this wasn't a concern of the four youngsters who launched Tommy Dantin's sister's Sunfish sailboat on Lake Pontchartrain:

"With the wind at our backs, we headed east. After many stops for jumping in the water, water fights, and soaking up sun, we found we had sailed all the way to the Seabrook Bridge/Lakefront Airport. The wind was still blowing to the east. How do we get back to West End? 

"While we pondered our plight, a fairly large sloop pulls up to us with a single sailor onboard. He must have noted our situation, as we were heading to the mouth of the Industrial Canal. Not a place to be.

"He steers us 90 degrees and we head north, not west. We shout 'No! we need to get to West End!' It wasn't long before we headed south, and continued this zig-zagging north/south until he delivered us to the calm waters of whence we came.

"After a thankful wave, we were already planning our next imbecile adventure."

Which reminds me

I was hanging around the Pelican Yacht Club on False River admiring the sailboats when one of the guys asked if I'd like to take part in the upcoming regatta.

So I joined the crew of his 28-foot boat, and we soon found ourselves sailing at a good clip down the lake.

I noticed that the captain kept asking me to sit here, move over there, come down here, etc.

Then I realized why he had wanted me to sail with him. I was ballast!

We won the race, and at the medal ceremony I was duly recognized for my weighty contribution…

Returning the favor

If there's anything good about a hurricane, it might be that it gets families together who might not have seen each other for a while.

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"During Hurricane Betsy," say Pam Maxwell, of Baton Rouge, "my mom had just delivered her eighth child in eight years.

"When it was known that the hurricane was coming, my dad divided up my seven brothers and me and farmed us out to various relatives.

"My 1-year-old brother and I went to New Orleans to stay with my Aunt Ro and Uncle Jim Quigley. I remember the night of Betsy like it was yesterday

"Fifty-six years later, due to Hurricane Ida, I had the absolute honor to house and care for now 90-year-old Aunt Ro and 97-year-old Uncle Jim. The sweetest part was that they got to meet and enjoy my granddaughter, their great-great niece."

Special People Dept.

— Evelyn Fleming, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 100th birthday Sunday, June 5. She is a charter member of Oakcrest Baptist Church.

— Ralph and Marilyn Rougee, of Metairie, celebrate 56 years of marriage Saturday, June 4.

— Ronald and Elaine Boudreaux, of Marrero, celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, June 3.

Watch that kick!

The 100th birthday of Brother Eldon Crifasi reminded Eddie Cole, of Blairsville, Georgia, of these stories:

I first met Brother Eldon when we taught together in Thibodaux. He was an accomplished basketball player on our coaches' team — we called him 'the Happy Hooker' because of his proficiency with the hook shot.

"Later, we both relocated to Baton Rouge, and I had the pleasure of participating in the Brother Eldon Run/Walk hosted by Catholic High. Since I had just had knee replacement surgery, I was plodding along in the back, but Brother Eldon kept me company — until we approached the finish line.

"Then, at the urging of his many fans, he out-kicked me to the finish line! I've been training for a rematch ever since. Maybe when he gets to 101, I can hang with him!"

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.