Dear Smiley: I got one of my first paying jobs from a German grocer in northern Indiana when I was about 10 or 11 years old.
He hired me to mow his lawn (with a push mower) for, as I recall, 50 cents.
I showed up with my buddy Joe, and he immediately sent Joe home.
He told me that two boys were as good as half a boy, and three boys were as good as none.
He knew what he was talking about. I have seen that demonstrated numerous times as I grow older.
Dear Smiley: Years ago, my wife and I, approaching Livonia, were stopped for speeding.
The officer wore a black shirt opened down to the third button, with a gold chain hanging from his neck.
Before he finished his lecture, another officer raced by in hot pursuit of a motorist, and our officer joined the chase.
After a sigh of relief, I pulled back onto the highway and proceeded through Livonia.
Shortly after clearing the western limits of town, I saw the same blue light to the rear.
I came to a stop and awaited my fate. The officer exited his vehicle, but just stood there until I got out of my car.
I thought the injection of a note of levity might lighten him up, so I walked to the rear of my car, turned around and leaned across the trunk, spreading my hands and feet.
Not hearing footsteps, I stood up and turned around to see him still standing by his door.
He said, “You gotta watch me. I’m Slick today,” got back in his car, made a U-turn and drove back into town.
Over the last 30-plus years, my wife and I have never failed to warn each other upon nearing Livonia: “You better watch out for Slick.”
The Reuben place
Dear Smiley: I sincerely appreciate your mention of my dad’s restaurant, Sigmund’s. It evoked such wonderful memories.
Now that was the best Reuben anywhere — I have yet to eat one to match it.
SUE DURLACHER CORMIER
Dear Smiley: Jack Kemp’s story of a sergeant’s retirement plans reminded me of a story I heard a while back:
An Army sergeant was assigned to a boot training camp for the 20 years he was in the service.
When he announced that he was going to retire, a fellow soldier asked him what his plans were.
The sergeant said, “I have been in the Army 20 years, and never got married. I lived on the base, and every morning at 5 a.m. when the bugle was played, I would roll out of bed and start my day.”
His friend said, “Are you going to get married and move far away from any Army base?”
He answered, “No, I plan to buy me a small house near my old base. Every morning when the bugle is played, I am going to wake up. Then I am going to roll over and go back to sleep.’”
Dear Smiley: I have three suggestions for the name of the New Orleans NBA team, in order of preference:
Why don’t you get together with Tom Benson and stage a vote?
To encourage participation in the contest I suggest the following prizes:
1st prize: An autographed copy of your new book, ”Smiley! A Laughing Matter.”
2nd prize: A new Mercedes.
3rd prize: A free pass to the Pastime.
Dear Bill: OK with me — except most of the folks I know would be hoping they came in third …
Let us spray
Dear Smiley: I have a bad relationship with sprays, having Windexed and bug-sprayed my hair and hair-sprayed my armpits. So I removed the bug spray from the bathroom.
Sure enough, a spider boogied across the bathroom floor. So I hair-sprayed him.
It didn’t kill him, but it gummed up his little legs bad enough that I could locate a shoe to finish him off.
What we need is an all-purpose spray, unscented, that will clean your mirrors, hold your hairdo, and eliminate BO and bugs.
Dear Smiley: You put one of my emails in your column a couple of months back, and I just now told my mother about it.
She was also previously published in your column many years ago.
The best way to explain her joy upon seeing me in your column is this quote from her:
“You know there is nothing to make a mama prouder than having her offspring published in Smiley!”
Thanks for making my mama happy!
Dear Michael: That’s nice — but you’d still better get her a Mother’s Day gift. …
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.