Don Garland’s Friday story about a Volkswagen "stuffing" contest causing a back seat fire reminded "Nathan from Prairieville" of this near-tragedy:

"We used to have a carpool with six of us who worked at the Texaco plant in Convent.

"On Fridays, we would splurge and buy Beck's dark beer on La. 22 before going to Andy’s Grocery in Duplessis to cash our checks.

"We were in line when a fellow came in and asked who owned the Ford Falcon. He had just put a fire out in the back seat.

"It appears someone was smoking, and the butt somehow landed on the straw-filled seat.

"We told him we hoped he didn’t put it out with our expensive Beck's. He said he had a Coke that worked — and we breathed a sigh of relief." 

Carnival crowd

"Here's my stuffing story," says J.B. Castagnos, of Donaldsonville. His tale will be familiar to anyone who ever lived in New Orleans during the Carnival parade season:

"We had an apartment on Esplanade when I attended Delgado in 1969.

"We invited everyone we talked to for Mardi Gras. Our two-bedroom apartment had 35 people sleeping in it, including one in the bathtub."

Which reminds me

Before I wore down Lady Katherine's resistance and got her to marry me, she lived for a couple of years in New Orleans.

Her one-bedroom Uptown apartment was in an old house on Constantinople Street, where you could walk to Napoleon Avenue to see the start of a parade, then go over to St. Charles and catch it again.

Naturally, the strategic location attracted a lot of her Baton Rouge friends. And they invited THEIR friends, who invited THEIR friends, etc.

Early one morning after a parade, I attempted to go out to a bakery to pick up breakfast for the horde, and found I couldn't walk across the living room without stepping on a sleeping person.

So I set out across this sea of bodies, soon discovering that it would take more than being stomped on to wake up that bunch.

I think some of them are still there. …

A Texas thing?

Algie Petrere says, "Kay Harrison's Friday mention of Texas recipes brought back happy memories of holidays with my grandmother in Iola, Texas.

"We always had 'cush' for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It was actually her delicious cornbread dressing, but, like Kay, I have no idea why she called it cush."

Nice People Dept.

Joan Black, of Metairie, says one Sunday, two longtime friends she's known since elementary school, Sherry and Marie ("We're now 80-plus," says Joan), met for breakfast at Mandee's in Mandeville.

They chatted with a "nice gentleman," his wife and family, who were on their way to Metairie for Mass. He told them he was recovering from a second knee-replacement surgery.

Says Joan, "When we requested our bill, we were informed that the friendly gentleman had paid it. He made our day, and we would like to say 'Thank you' and wish him a complete recovery."             

Special People Dept.

Joseph and Glenda Falcone, of Gretna, celebrated their 50th anniversary Friday, Nov. 9.

Wartime humor

Ruby R. Mounce, of Hammond, sent me a yellowed piece of newsprint containing a column she cut from a New Orleans Times-Picayune "many, many years ago."

It's the "Remoulade" column of Howard Jacobs. It's not dated, but a joke is from the North African campaign of World War II. (The column started in 1948, when war stories would be fairly fresh.)

Erwin Rommel, the German general and master of tank warfare, was giving the Allied forces fits, and an American buck private volunteered to ride a camel into the desert and come back with the general.

Two days later, the American camp received a message on the wireless saying, "Rommel captured."

The U.S. troops went wild with joy and awaited the return of the heroic private.

He finally showed up, on foot, complaining that no one came to help him after his message — which should have read "Camel ruptured."

And you complain about THIS column running bad jokes. …  

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.