On the Lighter Side: A biography

Joe Guilbeau

The late, great country singer Jim Reeves wrote and sang “I Lived a Lot in My Time.”

I grew up in the Great Depression on a cotton farm, but I was never hungry. Our garden was in rows in the field, and we had a large orchard. My daddy used today, “If you have dirt, you will eat.”

Joe Guilbeau

From the perspective of growing up on a farm and growing up in Lafayette Parish, I’ve had conversations with many famous people over the years. They include Sam Walton, Stan Musial, Terry Bradshaw, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Mickey Gilley, Donna Douglas, Buck Trent, Bill Anderson, Bishop Fulton Sheen and astronaut Dick Gordon.

In this world, I’ve traveled land, sea and air. I rode the roads, sailed the moody oceans of the world aboard aircraft carriers, including USS Valley Forge, and in my younger life I was a licensed private pilot.

Here’s a funny story: I met Sam Walton to sell him a product. I asked him if he would sell it.

“Yes, if you can make enough of ‘em,” Walton said.

I found him to be very kind and friendly.

I crossed the international dateline. I traveled on the great ridge of the Continental Divide. I transited on the Panama Canal.

I am a member of the Navy League of the United States, founded in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

I have seen five Presidents of the United States and shook hands with one sitting President. I have lived longer than all U.S. Presidents except Jimmy Carter.

I have met seven Louisiana governors and I had a speaking relationship with three of them.

I enlisted in the United States Navy in 1946 and served aboard the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Valley Forge as a fire-controlman first-class.

I shook hands with astronaut Dick Gordon.

I had the privilege of seeing the moon rocks.

I was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Co.

I saw the British crown jewels.

I had a photograph published in a national magazine. The editor sent me a signed copy,

I had a cartoon published in a national magazine. The cartoonist sent me a ‘thank you” from his office in Brooklyn.

In high school, basketball was my sport. After graduation, I joined as a bigger team … the U.S. Navy.

While in the Navy, I also ran a private business. That will be the subject of another column.

FORMULA FOR LIVING: Care and share with everyone you meet!