Bill Bankhead, of Baton Rouge, says stories about Catholic services triggered this memory:

"In the 1950s the LSU cheerleaders, of which I was one, were driving home after a game in Florida and stopped at a north Florida motel.

"Because most of the squad were Catholic, we asked the motel clerk if there was a Catholic church nearby. He explained that Catholics were as scarce as snow in the Florida Panhandle, but he thought a priest said Mass on Sundays at the American Legion hall just up the road.

"Sure enough, we discovered a priest setting up a card table and chairs at the hall.

"After helping him ready the 'church,' we took seats on the front row. The 8 of us doubled his congregation.

"Before the Mass began, the priest asked for a volunteer assistant. Knowing I had graduated from Catholic High, I was unceremoniously pushed into the aisle to 'volunteer' as altar boy.

"What no one knew was that I was not Catholic. But what the heck, having attended Mass every Wednesday since the 5th grade, I knew all the moves.

"Things progressed smoothly until the priest offered me Communion; at which time I told him I could not partake because I was not Catholic.

"Not at all fazed, and, I suspect, knowing we were from Louisiana and just a bit weird anyway, he simply said, 'God bless you' and turned to serve his flock."

Ham it am

It's none of my business, but I was wondering what you're having for the entree at Thanksgiving dinner during these perilous times.

No doubt gatherings will be smaller than normal. Lady Katherine and I are dining alone, and to keep out of the kitchen we've ordered a prepared meal — the usual sides, but with ham instead of turkey as the centerpiece.

In our view, anything from the noble pig is superior to the big bird, and ham offers more uses for leftovers — ham and eggs for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, ham and cheese casserole for dinner.

I'm sure in this food-centric part of the world there are many creative main dishes that will take center stage on Thursday — hearty gumbo, jambalaya, steaks off the grill, Louisiana seafood… 

I'm getting hungry just writing this…      

Food for thought

Algie Petrere, of Central, says she came across this classic Thanksgiving poem that also made her hungry. And no wonder:

"May your stuffing be tasty.

May your turkey be plump.

May your potatoes and gravy

have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious

and your pies take the prize,

and may your Thanksgiving dinner

stay off your thighs!"

Technical problem

Speaking of Thanksgiving dinner, Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge, has a question:

"The CDC is recommending we consider having virtual Thanksgiving celebrations.

"OK, but who gets the drumstick?"

Year of uncertainty

Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Clinton, says, "In a meeting the other day two men greeted each other.

"One said, 'How are you?' The other replied, 'I'm well…I think.' The universal language of 2020…"

Special People Dept.

— Claude Larry Taylor, of St. Amant, celebrates his 94th birthday Monday, Nov. 23. A Baton Rouge native and LSU graduate, he is a Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict. He was an electrical engineer in Baton Rouge.

— Bo and Mary Domingue, of Lafayette, celebrate their 63rd anniversary Monday, Nov. 23.

Dime beer

David Spriggs, M.D., of New Orleans, says, "The Saturday story about the thirsty student reminded me of when I was a medical student at Ohio State.

"I belonged to Phi Chi medical fraternity, and I lived across the alley from the fraternity house.

"The fraternity had a Coke machine in the basement, where it was loaded with Falstaff beer that cost 10 cents a bottle.

"Falstaff would throw us a party every year, where the guys got Falstaff T-shirts and the girls got Falstaff panties.

"I still have my T-shirt. Needless to say, whenever I needed beer I would walk across the alley and fill up that Coke machine with dimes."

Thanks, Doc. About that second Falstaff gift; I was wondering…oh, never mind… 

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.