1. My father to me, last night:
I was driving home today and saw this hobo on the other side of the road. Poor soul was just sitting there in the ditch with his head on his knees. Felt so sorry for him. Must of been headed the other way. Back in the Depression, when I was a boy, we had hobos coming by all the time. We didn’t have much, but my mother and my grandmother would give those men whatever they could spare. Duck eggs, chicken eggs, whatever. They went away with their bellies full. Lot of times they would go down to Grant’s Bayou and make a fire under the arches of the overpass We called that the Triple 8. One time, I got to talking with this one hobo, who said goodnight, made his fire there, and went to sleep. The next morning I went down to check on him. He was gone, and had written a message on the concrete wall in charcoal: ‘THOMAS JOSEPH DOYLE. ONCE WORTH MILLIONS.’
2. From a New Orleans lawyer friend:
When I was in Baton Rouge, circa 1996, Roemer was a member of my gym. He was only 4 or 5 years out of [the governor’s] office at this point. He strolled in the gym in front of me one day and told the college girl at the counter that he didn’t have his membership card, but smiled and said that she (a toned hottie) could look him up in the system. She says okay and just looks at him, waiting. They look at each other. She says, “What’s your name?”
He’s embarrassed for her and says “Roemer. Buddy Roemer.” Turns and gives me a wink, waits for her to apologize.
No hint of recognition from Miss Tightperky. She just starts typing, and stares into the computer screen.
Now he’s embarrassed for himself. He spells out his last name, she finds it, lets him in. No clue.
He looks at me and says something like, “It’s hell getting old.”
3. Me, at the farmer’s market this morning, spying a young couple walking by pushing a baby stroller. The man is wearing an LSU Tigers fleece:
“Sir, I’d like to compliment you on your fine choice in outerwear. I’m Rod Dreher. I was in the Class of ’89.”
“Thanks! I’m [N.] and this is my wife [N.]. Class of 2004.”
“Where y’all from?”
“I’m from New Orleans,” says the man.
“I’m from Plaquemine,” says the woman.
“Plaquemine?” says I. “I used to go through there to get down to Bayou Pigeon to go visit my friend Father Termini.”
“Father Mario!” she says. “He gave me my first communion! He was a good friend of ours. You know, he was the only exorcist they had down there.”
“I know that. We called him up to St. Francisville once after my grandfather died and we were having poltergeist activity around my Mama and Daddy’s house. One time when I was courting my wife, I drove her down to meet Father Termini. We were on one of those country roads near Plaquemine. She saw a sign that said ‘Needlenose Fontenot for Police Jury.’ She couldn’t get over it. I told her that lots of people down here had nicknames, and that there are people who’ve known Needlenose Fontenot for most of his life who don’t know what his real name is.”
“You’re right about that. My daddy’s nickname is Ti-Coon.” Laughs.