Sidney Mestayer, of Baton Rouge, says, "Items in your column about running track reminded me of an experience when I was in the Army Reserve and due to attend two weeks of summer camp at Fort Polk.
"President Kennedy had called for a fitness test for all soldiers, and our commander warned us we should practice exercising before the test.
"Hard-headed as I was, I decided to skip practice.
"A few days into camp, we marched to the running track and proceeded to go thorough the 'daily dozen:' pushups, sit-ups, etc.
"Our last item was running around the track. I started all right, but halfway around I couldn't breathe. Then my legs began to give out.
"I made the last 30 yards on my hands and knees, gasping for air. I reached the finish line and collapsed. Two medics picked me up and carried me to a stretcher under a tree to recover.
"The next day in formation, you guessed it — I was presented a certificate saying I was physically fit."
Cookie Pecquet, of Metairie, says Donald Landaiche's story about the student spelling floor "flow," brought back this memory:
"In a classroom spelling bee when I was in grammar school, the teacher pronounced 'flow," which I spelled correctly.
"She then pointed to the floor and proceeded to say 'flow.'
"I then spelled the word 'floor.'"
"I’ve enjoyed your stories about how 'foreigners' react to Louisiana foods," says Carolyn French, "and feel compelled to share this story of how they react to Louisiana’s landscape.
"I was on a flight into New Orleans from Salt Lake City, Utah, and as we approached the city, two women in the seat behind me were amazed at the swampy scene below.
"One said, 'Look at all that water everywhere!'
"The other lady said, 'It can’t possibly be water. It must be salt.'
"To that, the first lady said, 'Of course. You are absolutely right.'”
John Murphy, of Baton Rouge, tells of a gastronomical misunderstanding.
"In 1970 I was going through Officer Training School in a class of mainly Yankees.
"While awaiting my turn in the chow line, I overheard a trainee ask 'What is that?'
"The next thing I heard was the trainee shouting, 'Fried ostrich!,' followed by a bunch of moans from those waiting in line.
"When it was my turn I shouted to the server, 'Give me a heaping plate full of that fried ostrich.'
"I drew stares from the trainees around me as I gobbled down my chow.
"It was fried oysters!"
Steve Koehler, of Metairie, follows up on Gilda Barger's comment in the Wednesday column about an attorney named Robin Cheatham:
"He was a neighbor of ours. Susan and I moved into the neighborhood two doors down from the Cheathams just before Halloween in 1985.
"Robin's wife, Leslie, came by with their first wave of children, and told us Robin would be coming with the second wave a little later, and he would be dressed as a pregnant woman.
"When Robin came by trick or treating with their older kids, I acted like I had known him for years. The look on his face, while he tried to figure out who I was, was priceless."
Special People Dept.
— Shirley Calamia Rihner, of New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood, celebrates her 99th birthday Thursday, March 18. She is retired from the Hotel Monteleone.
— Byrdie Doiron, of St. Clare Manor, Baton Rouge, celebrates her 98th birthday Thursday, March 18. She is a former resident of Port Allen.
— Dr. Willie Z. Bienvenu, of Lafayette, celebrated his 91st birthday Monday, March 15.
"Well, it seems we have another Cajun president," says Louis Martin, DVM, of Lafayette and Carencro.
"We had Hebert Hoover, Harry Trahan, Dwight Hoffpauir, and now we have Joe Badon."
Job with a view
Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "Besides unusual and appropriate names, there are funny stories associated with businesses.
"A dentist friend said a patient told him he didn’t understand how he could spend all day, every day, looking down people’s throats.
"The dentist's patient was a proctologist."