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Smoke School

Stories that will make you laugh and cry- from Uncle George- an old hippie

Attitude Adjustment Bolo Paddles Fan Belts, and Harley Davidson

911, The Early Days of Smoke School, and refer a friend

A story form the past of Uncle George- Ripley's believe it or not

We like to see new faces at smoke school. I am almost 60 years old and I guarantee you one thing, it is hard for me to make changes in routines. Shucks, my daddy used to say, "If it works, Don't fix it." The trouble is that about 99% of you hate smoke school and you hate your smoke school provider. When I was a young Buck, trying to get certified as a Louisiana DEQ inspector, I would rather get a do-gone tooth pulled than sit out there in a oven baked parking lot 3 days trying to pass a smoke school certification test. I have been there and done just that. I decided if you can't lick em' join em'. I took over the DEQ smoke school program in 1984 and I am learning something new just about every day. I have never looked back. Without a doubt I have made smoke school the most enjoyable educational experience you will ever see.

It is a lot better than the experience I had walking 12 miles to Lida Benton school in the blizzard in Monroe Louisiana back in 1953. Walking past polar bears that ate all of my home work and stepping on cotton mouths that bit my barefoot toenails. I remember when I got my first pair of shoes. My momma used to say that these shoes will take you anywhere. The shoes still fit.

Those shoes took me to Lida Benton school where every day, I had to face Miss Smith with the bolo paddle, the paddle that us kids had with the little rubber ball tied to an elastic cord on a ping pong paddle. Anyway she had taken the ball off and used the paddle on my rearend about 6 times a day for an attitude adjustment. If that would not alter my attitude, she would send me down to Mr. Goldstein's office. The principal used to walk the halls with the fan belt from a model T dump truck especially designed to adjust the attitude of a full grown mule. If that did not work, then he would pick up the phone and call my daddy. It did not take long for me the hear the Harley police motorcycle revving it up out in the parking lot. Daddy could adjust my attitude with just one look.

Well friends our smoke school is better, and I can beat the other smoke school providers with half my brain tied behind my back. If I'm lying, I'm dyeing. Our job is to get you and your friends at other plants to try it, you might just love it. We give special discounts for first time customers, and additional discounts or prizes  if you Refer a Friend to Smoke School.

We are a small business, family owned an operated. I decided back September 1, 2001 9-1-1 to retire from my cushy secure little posh job with the DEQ and step out to make the best little smoke school ever. At the time, this nation was in crises. I was having a business meeting with a friend and potential business partner in the Fleur de' Lis Pizza place in Baton Rouge eating the most bestest pizza you ain't never had (Don't get the anchovies). I have been to one other place in Bloomington Indiana where the Pizza was better and that is Max's Place where you can eat the best pizza and listen to live folk music at the same time. Email me if you are aware of a very good pizza parlor. Tar nation - I done got off the subject again.

I was eating a wonderful tomatoes and fresh vegetable pizza when the owner of the joint brought in a new large screen television. My friend, a retired Marine, had told me that we had been attacked by terrorists. I had slept in that mild September day and had not seen the news. I simply did not believe my friend. He explained that the Arabs had crashed two planes into the Twin Towers.

"What are the Twin Towers?" I asked. (It runs in the family. My momma ran into Willy Nelson's crew in a catfish restaurant in Columbia Louisiana, and she thought Willy was a logger from Shreveport.)

At this point I had to really pray and think about starting this business. I became addicted to CNN. The image of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers will be forever in my mind. The nation was in crises. We were in shock. I was certain the price of fuel would be going up and that many plants may close as a result of the terrorist attacks. I prayed late into the night at the Catholic Church nearby, out loud holy roller style. I prayed for the people who lost their lives and their family. I prayed with the faith of a mustard seed if I should start this business of smoke school. I think somewhere in the middle of the night, I heard the small voice of God say, "If you build it, they will come."

And come you have, by the thousands and I really appreciate it. I often think about the story of Jesus and the multitudes and the fish. I wonder with no television or radio, how did the multitudes knew where Jesus was? I guess it is the power of God and the word of mouth.

I found out it is hard for a small business to survive in these times. Plants are shutting down, people are unemployed, gas is going up- maybe 5 bucks a gallon soon. I simply can't believe the taxes for this and the taxes for that. Good help is hard to find. I can't believe the payroll expenses we have. The truth is that it cost just as much to travel from Monroe Louisiana to NEW YORK CITY to train 12 people as it costs to train 100 people. We need to work on getting more people to come to our smoke school locations. We had an office staff meeting and brainstorming session at Bennigan's. Angie and Tracy came up with the ideal of the Refer a Friend to Smoke School. It was a wonderful ideal and we are going to try it. Over the next several weeks we plan to mail out some business cards that you can  hand out to your fiends at other plants. Until then you can download a coupon at Refer a Friend to Smoke School. You can earn a 5% discont or a famous Whitlow hat, t-shirt, an autographed copy of my novel Blue Bayou Days- The Summer of 61.

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