April 28, 2000

Young and Restless

I’ll never forget the time when Laurie Toups and I were going to school. Laurie was working as a druggist at Hebert’s Drug Store in Berwick. We were on the ferry and instead of going to school, we hitch-hiked a ride to New Orleans. We must have had all of 90 cents between us. We walked all over the French Quarter, saw everything that could be seen, and finally decided that we were hungry. We had enough money to buy each a poboy and a drink with a few pennies left over.

We happened to see a freight train going west and I told Laurie that we had better catch it and get home because it was getting late. Well, we couldn’t find a box car open, so we climbed on top of the cars. After about a half-hour, I noticed that the train had turned North. We had caught the wrong train.

Instead of a Southern Pacific train, we had caught a Texas Pacific train. When we passed through Donaldsonville, we jumped off the train, going about 30 miles an hour and rolled in the rocks for about 20 feet. We got up and saw that there was a State Fair right in front of us. Although tired, hungry, cold and broke, we went to the fair.

We ran into a Berwick boy by the name of “Fats” Johnson, who is really a character, and was married to Adele Mahfouz, who is a good friend of ours. Boy, were we glad to see him! We told “Fats” that we were both hungry and really wanted something to eat. “Fats” said, “Don’t worry, follow me!”

We went into the back of a restaurant and into the kitchen area. “Fats” told the head cook that he was a State Food Inspector. I know the cook couldn’t read because “Fats” showed him some kind of a fake card with false identification on it. The cook said, “Look around, everything is spotless – eat all you want.”

So, we filled up the plates that he handed out to us and we ate our fill. I told Fats, “Boy, let’s get going before they get wise to us.” Just then I saw two policemen approach the door and knock. So we ran out the back door and hauled tail.


On my way to church recently, I met Beryl Sauce Stiles, author of the book A Cajun’s Persuasions. She told me how much she enjoyed reading my column. Thank you, Beryl – I also enjoyed reading your book.


Remember the nickel and dime days when it use to cost 10 cents to ride the ferry? I can still see Jack Drackett and Benny Stansbury with that little coin machine around their waist. You gave them a quarter, and they would click you 15 cents change.

* The End *