Annabelle Armstrong says the congregation at Baton Rouge's Broadmoor Presbyterian Church on the Sunday before New Year's Day was small, with only 55 people in attendance. So they opted to meet in the fellowship hall for a service and brunch.

Before the service could get underway, a loud siren went off. They searched all around the building, to no avail.

They trekked over to the sanctuary, but when they determined that the siren was off in the fellowship hall, they went back in — but then it went off again.

They were about to vacate the premises a second time when one of the ladies realized the siren was coming from an alarm she had received as a Christmas gift.

It was an egg-shaped device with a string on it that, when pulled, sets off the loud siren. It's designed to thwart parking lot attacks and other such events by calling for help and scaring off the culprit.

It occurs to me that the alarm could be handy in such a church setting if the sermon seemed to be running a bit long…  

Cabitza connection

Loretta Mattio Hamilton, of Metairie, says, "I had to laugh when I saw Joan Hall's Monday suggestions for a state cookie.

"I come from a large Sicilian family, and the cookies she referred to as Italian wedding cookies were called cabitza fingers in our family.

"The recipe is the same for the cabitza fingers as for cocoons or Italian wedding cookies, only they are rolled to look like a finger."

(I don't even want to think about all the bad jokes if our state cookie was "the finger…")

Up we go…

"If you've been paying attention," says Paul Major, of Livonia, "you will have noticed that the price of a first-class 'Forever' stamp will be increasing by five cents later this month.

"I guess what we all didn't realize was that when the USPS gave the stamp that name, it really meant 'Forever going up.'"

Nice People Dept.

Emmett Irwin says, "While my wife Dodie and I were celebrating our 52nd anniversary at Zorba's Greek Bistro in Baton Rouge, a couple approached our table and wished us a happy anniversary.

"We enjoyed a delicious meal, and when it came time to pay we were told that same couple had paid for our first round of drinks.

"We thank them for their generosity and kindness. There really are very nice people in the world."

Special People Dept.

  • Ethel Carpenter Watts, a lifelong resident of Central, celebrated her 97th birthday Friday, Jan. 4.
  • Frank and Jackie O'Quinn, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 67th anniversary Thursday, Jan. 10.
  • T-Charles and Audrey Daigle, of Paincourtville, celebrate their 66th anniversary Thursday, Jan. 10.
  • Jimmie and Julia Billeaud, of Broussard, celebrated their 64th anniversary Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Thought for the Day

From Joe Savell, of St. Francisville: "Remember, you’re unique, just like everyone else."

Patchwork cat

Lindy King, of St. Francisville, says, "Last month the making of a platypus was discussed in your column (sorry, holidays left me having to catch up on back issues).

"We had a calico cat once that was patches of black, orange, gray, and white. The very tip of one ear was absent of any pigment at all.

"My kids and I figured God made her from leftover pieces of cat hair, and just ran out of fur when he got to her ear."

Honoring dunces

Mike Manes, of New Iberia, weighs in on our effort to find a statue to replace Robert E. Lee in New Orleans:

"What about Ignatius J. Reilly to oversee Lee Circle?"

Not bad … the philosopher/hot dog vendor hero of "Confederacy of Dunces" symbolizes the madness of New Orleans better than anyone else I can think of.

Thanks, Facebook

Just as I was about to leave the office to procure our first king cake of the season, I happened to notice a Facebook post that said king cakes consumed during the Carnival season contain no calories.

I was pleased to get this information, which MUST be true — it was on Facebook! 

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.