As a left-hander, I'm sensitive to issues involving this minority group.

My mom was left-handed, and my son and his son (a former southpaw pitcher for Louisiana College) are also lefties.

I've told the story of how a teacher in Natchez, Mississippi, tried to force my mother to write with her right hand, until my grandfather intervened.

Hopefully those days are long gone, but lefty Bobbie Spencer, of Lafayette, recalls discrimination in sports:

"LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri's shortage of left-handed pitchers reminds me of my college days, with I took tennis and golf classes.

"My tennis instructor used her loudest voice to tell me and another left-hander we were never to be partners — we distracted people passing by!

"I experienced another situation the next semester, when the instructor realized she was expected to provide golf clubs for me just as she did for the right-handers.

"Oh, what a grand feeling I experienced when a local professional complimented me on my style of gripping the club when I addressed the ball."

Voice of youth

Proud grandmother Babs Johnson, of New Orleans, says her granddaughter Blaire Durant had a letter to the editor published in the Corvallis, Oregon, Gazette Times.

Blaire is 9 years old, and a third grader.

It's headlined "Our Earth needs help from us all," and I think it's worth repeating:

"I believe that this world needs help. Each day and each night many habitats are cut down for houses just for people.

"This world does not belong just to us. It belongs to many other animals that need homes too.

"Circuses take many animals out of their homes just for people's entertainment. Zoos do that also.

"Oceans have trash thrown in them and no one thinks a second thought about it. Many animals die from it.

"I think we should recycle and reuse things.

"Please help our Earth!"

Says Babs: "I’m just bowled over that she took it upon herself to speak out. Sooo proud of her!"

Do it yourself

Sam Raney says, "About 65 years ago, on family trips, Dad would bring his drip pot and his Community Coffee with him.

"When we stopped in a small town for breakfast, he would ask the waitress if it was OK to make his own coffee. He would go to the car and retrieve the pot, ask for boiling water, sit the pot in the middle of the table, then bang the pot on the table to help it drip faster.

"He also had his own thick, coffee-stained cup for the coffee he loved." 

Kerosene cure

Tony Falterman's Thursday tale of curing a cut with coal oil (the old name for kerosene) and salt pork reminded me of a tale told often by my dad, Smiley Sr., of a boyhood incident from the '20s in the piney woods around his Gloster, Mississippi, home.

He said he was bitten on the leg by a "rattlesnake pilot," often another name for a copperhead.

Dad was a lifelong teller of tall tales, so I'm not sure this story is 100 percent accurate. But at any rate, he told me his father, Gray Anders, sliced open the site of the bite with a razor and put Dad's leg in a bucket of coal oil.

I still recall him saying how that coal oil "turned black as ink" as the poison went out of the bite.

They raised tough kids in southwest Mississippi in those days.

Special People Dept.

  1. Mable Mccandless celebrates her 97th birthday Sunday, April 7.
  2. Doris Lutz, of Slidell, celebrates her 91st birthday Friday, April 5.

Dangers of grammar

Marvin Borgmeyer, of Baton Rouge, offers "a story to emphasize the need to ensure you communicate what the pronoun you are using refers to:

"The village blacksmith found an apprentice willing to work long, hard hours. He instructed the boy, 'When I take the shoe out of the fire, I'll lay it on the anvil, and when I nod my head, you hit it with the hammer.'

"The apprentice did just as he was told — and now he's the village blacksmith!"    

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.