Phil Ragusa says, "Years ago I went to a dermatologist to have a small growth removed. After removing it, he said to call him Friday — he was going to have it biopsied! That shook me up.

"After two to three calls before noon Friday (the office closed at 12) without talking to the doctor, I called 15 minutes before noon. I was really nervous!

"A lady answered, and I blurted out, 'Ma'am, I've called a bunch of times. I want to find out the result of my autopsy!'

"I heard laughter over the phone (she was on the office speakerphone).

"After 30 seconds or so, she assured me the test was negative."

Hog wild

Bob Schoen says recent pork-centric remarks reminded him of this:

"I know this is old news, but in 1972, when I was attending LSU and lived in North Stadium, Edwin Edwards had just been elected governor and they were planning a cochon de lait on the campus to celebrate his inauguration.

"His crew set up pipes and, with a large pile of burning oak, cooked 100 split pigs held in place by two wire racks each.

"Each dangled by a single wire and gently turned in the breeze. That was the best pork I have ever tasted."

Of course it was, Bob — it was free.

Which reminds me

Once upon a time, as our Avoyelles Parish hunting trip was getting rained out, one of the guys who had lived there knew of an ice cream stand where they kept dressed pigs in the cooler (only in Louisiana!), and a youth camp that provided shelter for the night and had a brick fireplace rigged up for a cochon de lait.

Several guys volunteered to stay up and watch the overnight cooking process, keeping the fire going. When we got up that morning we found out why.

The pig looked like a checkerboard, with square pieces of crispy skin cut out. As the skin got done, our "fire-watchers" had enjoyed cracklings for breakfast.

Oh well, the meat was delicious.  

Cool it

Anne Johnston says, "Like other readers, I remember World War II rationing and bubble gum.

"When you were lucky enough to get your hands on Double Bubble, you treasured it and cared for it appropriately.

"My sister and I would keep our already-chewed gum in a glass of water overnight in the refrigerator.

"That meant you could chew it again for at least three more days. We had a wonderful mother who would put up with all that foolishness."

Good ruler, and rule

After I ran a "groaner" about 12-inch rulers not being made any longer ("longer" — get it?) I heard from retired teacher Charlanne Cress, of Zachary:

"My yellow Coca-Cola ruler spells out a wonderful rule by which I was raised. I taught my students, my two children and my three grandchildren to live by it: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

"My ruler is worn and scratchy, saved from when I was a second grader in Mrs. Montegut’s class at John L. Ory School in LaPlace in 1949!"

Special People Dept.

  • Zepher Dean, of Denham Springs, celebrates her 101st birthday Sunday, Oct 25.
  • Estelle Smiley, of Pride, celebrates her 97th birthday Friday, Oct. 23.
  • Jewell Barker, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 96th birthday Friday, Oct. 23.
  • Drexel A. Stewart celebrates his 94th birthday Friday, Oct. 23. He is a World War II Army veteran.
  • Louise Schultz Walder, of Slidell, celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday, Oct. 23.
  • Julie and Richard Antolik, of Covington, celebrate their 61st anniversary Saturday, Oct. 24.

Dangerous numbers

Greg Thompson, of Baton Rouge, says, "Years ago a friend told me of the time that he and his wife were at a party chatting with another couple.

"When the man asked my friend, 'How long have you been married?' he replied, '26 years!'

"When his wife told him, 'We have been married 18 years!' he replied, 'Yes; 18 years to you and 8 to my first wife.'

"She was not amused."

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.