Back in February I told of a lady who had left her home in Empire due to Hurricane Katrina and wound up in a FEMA trailer in Plaquemine.

Among the donated clothing she received at that time was a heavy wool coat.

Last winter it finally got cold enough to wear it. When she put it on she discovered $112 in the pocket that the donor, from up north, had put in to help out whoever got the coat.

Writer Sam Irwin took that little story, added a lot of imagination and a touching ending, and came up with “Empire Satsumas,” one of four winners in Country Roads magazine’s 10th Annual Short Story Contest.

The story is in the June issue.

I’m delighted to have played a part in bringing this story to life.

It has always been my contention that everybody, and I mean everybody, has at least one story worth telling.

And in the hands of a talented writer, that story can become art. …

Quick results

Fiddling Doc Chaney says, “I opened my Thursday paper to see the headline ‘Major crime drops 9%.’

“I’d say our new police chief is doing a great job so far.”

Presidential pralines

Keith Horcasitas says his wife’s pralines are so good they like to share them.

A few years ago, when President George W. Bush came to town for a fundraiser at a plush Highland Road home, they couldn’t afford the $250 per person tab, but wanted him to have some pralines:

“So my wife and I drove to that beautiful venue and surprisingly were able to get in, as we said we just wanted to drop something off for the Pres.

“We were told to give the box of pralines, addressed to President Bush with our name and address on it, to someone. We did, and then drove off.”

A few hours later they got a call from the Sheriff’s Office telling them the Secret Service wanted to know what was in that box — the guy they gave it to had left it under a bush.

Says Keith, “About a month later we got a nice official letter from President Bush thanking us for the pralines.

“I wonder how many of those dozen the Pres actually got, as I’m sure the SS had to do some ‘taste testing!’ ”

OMG indeed!

Todd Bidwell of Uncle E’s Wings & Things made me an offer I can refuse.

He invited me to take part in Uncle E’s 1st Annual OMG Challenge on June 25 at the restaurant at Florida and Sharp.

The task is to be the first to down an OMG Burger, fries and a 32-ounce drink in an hour or less.

Here’s his description of the “beastly burger:”

“Three pounds of ground beef, 18 strips of bacon, eight slices of hot sausage, nine slices of cheese, fully dressed on a 10-inch muffuletta bun.”

The event is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with eating starting at 5 p.m. There is a $100 prize, and pros from the International Federation of Eating (really!) are invited to compete along with local folks.

I gracefully declined, pleading sanity.

But if you want to take a crack at this snack, go to

Worthy causes

Sales of spaghetti dinners at Whealdon Estates from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday benefit Gabe Hilliard, who was treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a 10th-grader in 2009 and is now receiving treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Whealdon Estates, a retirement community at 8680 Jefferson Hwy., will sell dinners to eat in or take out for $5 a plate. Faye and Gerry de Gruiter, managers, will match the first $500 raised.

Call (225) 927-7557.

Not his type

Our recent mentions of typewriters reminds Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, of an exchange between a secretary and a student worker at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches:

“The student had been parked in front of a typewriter and told to copy something.

“Student: ‘I don’t know how to operate this thing!’

“Secretary: ‘Whaddaya mean? It’s a keyboard, just like your computer.’

“Student: ‘But there’s no screen!’

“Secretary: ‘The paper comes up and you read it, just like a screen. Look, there is even a white half of the ribbon so you can correct any mistakes.’

“Student: ‘But there’s no SPELL CHECK!’ ”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.