Here's a challenge for Amazon:

"Maybe not too many people know this," says Mary Pramuk, of Baton Rouge, "but when Rural Free Delivery began, Sears began delivery of ready-to-assemble houses by rail. (Sears said more than 70,000 of the houses were sold in North America between 1908 and 1940.)  

"Some were delivered to Cinclare Plantation in West Baton Rouge Parish where, believe it or not, two of these cabins were still standing a few years ago.

"I was working at the West Baton Rouge Museum when two guys from Sears came by and asked about Cinclare. They were researching Sears history and wanted to know if any cabins were still standing. They seemed to believe they were.

"Since I had heard they were still standing, the Sears men set out to see them."

(I can't find evidence the houses are still around, so I don't know if the Sears guys were successful.)

The littlest WAC

Gertie M. Beauford, of Jefferson, adds to our Sears nostalgia with a memory from our hometown:

"You might remember the Sears store in Natchez, Mississippi, where Santa Claus would read our Christmas wish list over the radio.

"Every afternoon just before Christmas, he would 'Ho, ho, ho' our names and read our long list (we only got two things anyway).

"One of mine was a child's WAC uniform. I still have a picture of me in my uniform."

(When I was a little kid in Natchez during World War II, my uncle, Prospero Louis DeMarco, an Army Air Corps officer, sent me a dress uniform I treasured.)

Dinner and a show 

Ernie Gremillion says, "Seeing the story about Jack O'Neill (Baton Rouge singer and music story owner) singing at the restaurant table reminds me of a similar one.

Smiley: Nikita, the birthday boy

"Some time back, my son Randy was a singer in the cast of 'Phantom of the Opera' in San Francisco. His wife, Kate, worked as a singing waiter in an upscale San Francisco restaurant.

"On his night off, he and I went to eat at the restaurant, and when it was Kate's time to sing a song, she did 'All I Ask of You' from Phantom and walked around the room singing.

"When she got to our table, Randy joined in singing the male portion of the song.

"I became embarrassed, thinking they would throw us out. As it turned out, he did this every night he wasn't performing — and got a big kick our of my embarrassed reaction."

Sad culinary news

I regret to report to lovers of lutefisk (a Scandinavian delicacy involving dried fish, lye and a strong stomach) that the "Ole and Lena Restaurant" that Perry Snyder saw in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, doesn't exist.

Perry says his more observant wife, Cindy, tells him the sign he saw was a humorous one promoting the annual dinner at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, where both lutefisk and meatball dinners were offered.

There is an Ole and Lena Pizzeria in Rothsay, Minnesota, Perry says, but he rather doubts they serve lutefisk pizzas.

Scandinavian humor

Perry Snyder, during his Midwestern visit, found that Ole and Lena jokes were everywhere, and resemble Aggie jokes. Here's one:

One Sunday, Ole was lying in the hammock and, having just returned from church with Lena, was feeling a little religious.

"God," he said, "ven you made Lena, vy did you make her so nice and round and so pleasant ta hold?"

Suddenly a voice from above says, "So you would love her, Ole."

"Vell then vy, Lord, did you make her so stupid?"

"So she would love YOU, Ole."

Special People Dept.

  • Jewel Barker, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 94th birthday Tuesday, Oct. 23.  
  • Louise Schultz Walder, of Slidell, celebrates her 91st birthday Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Heaven on earth

David Meeks, of New Orleans, says an Advocate article by Keith Spera on musician Cyril Neville reminds him of a favorite comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes."

At 70, Cyril Neville still proudly flying flag for his family's legacy in New Orleans music

Calvin: "What do you think will happen to you when you die?"

Hobbes: "I’m going to play saxophone in an all-girl band in New Orleans."

Calvin: "So you believe in heaven?"

Hobbes: "Call it whatever you want."

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.