Martin St. Romain, of Raceland, offers an inspiring example of the value of good coaching:

"In 1952 while on the track team at Thibodaux College, we participated in a track meet at St. Francis De Sales School in Houma along with the Thibodaux High School team and their coach.

"We did not have a track coach, but once a week Coach Fakier, Thibodaux High’s coach, would attend our practice and coach our team.

"During the track meet, Coach Fakier came to me and said he wanted me to run in the 42-inch hurdles event.

"I had never run the hurdles, and wouldn’t have known how to jump over them. He then gave me brief instructions on how to put my left foot over first, etc., and then told me to practice a few jumps. I followed his instructions, and he said I was ready.

"To my surprise, I only knocked down half the hurdles and finished third. I believe I won third place only because just three teams were competing."

Pump it up

Gary Penton, of Pineville, comments on Russ Wise's description of my column in the Wednesday column. Russ said it primed his memory like an old hand pump:

"I remember that all of the hand pumps used for drawing water were, in my experience, called 'pitcher pumps.' I guess this was because the body of the pump looked like a large container, and the mouth like a pouring spout of the pitcher.

"We had one at our rural school where the Bonner Creek Baptist Church is today, and one beside the back porch of my grandfather's house near Mount Hermon.

"If such a pump sits idle for very long, you must have a container of water to pour in the top to prime it."

And T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, says this about memory: "I have a great memory. But, unfortunately, it is like a steel trap and keeps rusting shut."


Elaine Labat says, "I don't know if you want to hear about another restroom mishap, but here goes:

"A few years ago my husband and I went to the Washington Parish Fair. When it came time for me to go the the restroom, the line for the ladies' restroom was very long, but I noticed six brave women who decided to stand in the line for the men's restroom.

"So shy little me stood with them and went in the men's restroom with the other ladies.

"I guess I took a little longer then they did, for when I walked out (sheepishly), I looked around and realized I was the last woman standing. I have never attempted to do that again."

Special People Dept.

— Edward Deumite, of Baton Rouge, formerly of Oberlin, celebrates his 100th birthday Thursday, Feb. 4. He attributes his longevity to eating four apples and walking 5 to 10 miles a day until he was 95.

— Buddy and Suzi Ball, of Donaldsonville, celebrate 59 years of marriage Thursday, Feb. 4.

— Edmond and Linda Hardin, of Albany, celebrate 54 years of marriage Thursday, Feb. 4.

The Cajun way

Our Wednesday story about Cajun kids in school brought this recollection from Shooter Mullins:

"My first grade teacher at Houma Elementary School in 1938 was Miss Victoire Ané, who could speak Cajun French as well as English.

"In trapping season, a significant number of students went missing until the season was over. Entire families went into the marsh, living in rough camps while they ran trap lines for muskrat and mink.

"It was just something the school board had to work around, and they did."

Seeing the light

J.B. Castagnos, of Donaldsonville, sometimes tells of his adventures in the exciting world of vehicle repair. Here's his most recent tale:

"A customer brought his truck to the shop, saying the headlights were staying on during daylight driving, when they should only come on at night.

"I think prayers could have fixed this one. I looked at the dash, and the photo eye controlling the headlights was covered by his prayer book."

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.