From my "Rural Problem Solving" file comes this tale:

Hots Aull, of Baton Rouge, says his mother Jeanette was only 12 when her mother died. She took over cooking duties for the family, consisting of her father and six siblings; three older and three younger:

"They had a two-hole outhouse, and a very large rooster that claimed it as his own. He would jump on anyone who came in, even the older children. My mom, a country girl who was not afraid of him or any other creature, would have to lead them past the rooster."

Hots says when her father noticed the rooster was missing and asked his mom about it, she referred him to the gumbo they had a night earlier. 

The littlest bus

Our "eight in a Beetle" story might have inspired this tales of people-hauling:

— Joel Hingle, of Prairieville, tells of his 1960 VW Beetle, the early one with no gas gauge: "You drove until it ran out of gas, then turned a handle on the floor board and got another 30 miles."

He adds, "In Jackson, Mississippi, I was involved with a gospel singing trio. Four of us went in the Beetle every weekend all over Mississippi, singing in churches."

— Mickey Christensen says, "When I was a freshman at LSU, a group of us played basketball for the YMCA. There was a tournament in Jackson, Mississippi, that we had been invited to play in. Our coach/player signed us up.

"However, most of us did not have any money, so we decided to drive to Jackson in his VW Beetle and to stay in the dressing room at the gym rather than a motel.

"His little Beetle had a sun roof; thank goodness. With our team of five, along with game gear, we piled into the Beetle. It turns out there was not enough room for all of us and our gear, so we had to take turns standing with our upper torso out of the sun roof.

"It was a bit windy, but we got there and wound up second or third in the tournament. We did not win, but we had a great time."

Delivering smiles

Mary Ann Riddle commends postal employees at Baton Rouge post offices on Government Street, Bennington Avenue and Perkins Road:

"All the window employees are so accommodating, apologetic for any waiting time, and always have a friendly smile.

"At the Government Street post office, when there seemed to be an unusual number of customers in line, the manager came out and apologized for our wait.

"Keep up the good work. Everyone walked away with a smile."

Special People Dept.

— Dorothy “Dot” Piazza celebrates her 96th birthday Saturday. She is "one of the Kelly sisters, born and reared in north Baton Rouge on Scenic Highway, across the street from the old Buckhorn Bar."

— Marion Paul Hymel, of Denham Springs, celebrates his 95th birthday Friday. He is a native of White Castle and a former Baton Rouge resident.

— Frank and Terry Janca, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 66th anniversary Thursday. 

— Earl and Joanne Daigle LeBlanc celebrate their 61st anniversary Friday.

— Joe and Billie Civello celebrate 61 years of marriage Friday.

— Myrna and Joseph Vaurigaud, of Hammond, celebrate their 57th anniversary Sunday.

— Kim “Pops” and Virginia “Teeny” Seago, of Columbia, Tennessee, celebrate their 56th anniversary Sunday. They are former Baton Rouge residents.

— Carlton and Sharon Jones celebrate 51 years of marriage Saturday.

Remember that?

Jeannette Beck says, "This past Tuesday our Monday bridge game played at my home.

"As we were trying to remember whose deal it was, Marianna, Vickie, and Grace all commented that our memory was really getting bad.

"I told the ladies I was taking a vitamin to help my memory. When they asked what it was, I told them it was 'Focus something…'

"They all agreed I should save my money — it wasn't working too good:

"'Just deal the cards…'"

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.