When I learned that Holly Clegg was entering hospice, I was on my way to pick up some ingredients for a chicken dish of hers I had seen in the Thursday Advocate.

To me, this illustrated the strength and determination of the nationally celebrated Baton Rouge cookbook author. She was still turning our her "Trim and Terrific" recipes as she struggled with cancer.

Holly occupies a somewhat unique place in the world of cookbook writers — she has the quaint notion that food can be healthy without tasting like cardboard or grass.

She is especially adept at making traditional Louisiana dishes both good and good for you.

We have a lot of cookbooks in our kitchen, but the Louisiana authors we continually turn to are Tony Chachere, Leah Chase — and Holly.

You're much loved, dear lady. And I can't wait to try your chicken.

Busted in the swamp

Molly McVea McKenzie, of St. Francisville, tells of her "Gonzales swamp lights" experience"

"On a hot summer night in 1956, I was one of eight bored Baton Rouge teenagers in a two-car caravan down a foggy, narrow gravel road bordered by swamp on both sides.

"Our two cars were parked side by side with the lights off, as we watched for the light.

"After about an hour of sweating, swatting mosquitoes and peering into the inky black fog, we girls told the boys it was a hoax and we wanted to go home.

"Suddenly, we saw a tiny light in the dense fog, coming closer and closer. It had to be the swamp light!

"But when it stopped behind us, it was a Gonzales police car. Our two drivers were promptly arrested for blocking the 'highway.' They were instructed to follow the officers to the police station.

"We missed our 10 p.m. curfew; parents had to drive to Gonzales to pay the fine and we never got to see the swamp lights."

Stoning Dad

Norma Ferachi, of Baton Rouge, says, "On Father’s Day I unwrapped a small box from my daughter Renee Sims. Not to my surprise, it was a pair of socks.

"But they were Rolling Stones socks, complete with tongue-extended logo.

“'Very nice, but it could have been tickets to see the Stones,' I said. And I started singing, 'Oh, you can’t always get what you want; no, you can’t always get what you want.'

"She quickly replied, 'But if you try real hard, you just might find you get what you need.'

"She reached into the bottom of the sock box and pulled out two tickets to see the Rolling Stones in the New Orleans Superdome next month! I’m going to go get Stoned!"

(That's nice, Norman, but I'm having some difficulty getting my head around your Mick Jagger impression.)

Almost heaven?

Susan Koehler, of Metairie, was visiting her daughter in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when she took a look at the local newspaper:

"Glancing through the obituaries, I came across an interesting one. A lady 'went to heaven in Colorado Springs.'

"I thought it was a bit much that someone would think that heaven was in Colorado Springs. I mean, sure, my grandson lives there, and it's a nice place to visit, but heaven? Really? It's a bit dry there, don't you think?"

Susan says instead of rain, they have either snow or hail, and adds, "It's nice to be back home, where you can breathe in the moisture."

Special People Dept.

  • Jacob and Oceania Cuny Scardina celebrated their 63rd anniversary Sunday, June 23.
  • Nolan and Ramona Veillon celebrated 62 years of marriage Saturday, June 22. They were married in Vacherie.

All in the family

Harry Clark, of Lafayette, says, "There have been ads on TV recently where they tell me that if I use their service/product they will treat me like family.

"If that means they are going to drop off a sick 3-year-old for me to take care of because day care won't take her, and they need to 'borrow' $400, I think I would rather have them treat me like a customer."

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.