Smiley: Lotta shakin’

Dear Smiley: Those of us who lived through World War II and bad economic times sometimes reflect on steps our parents took to “make do” with what we had, using ingenuity to meet our needs during government rationing.

I was visiting with my 82-year-old sister, Jimmie Dee McLeod, when she reminded me of how our family got through sugar rationing.

Everybody was allowed a five-pound bag, when it was available.

Sugar was used sparingly, and sometimes for special occasions.

My dad, J.D. Lehew, worked at the Baton Rouge Dr Pepper bottling plant.

He would collect empty 50-pound sugar bags and bring them home, where my sister and I would shake them vigorously over a bowl — and usually collect enough grains to refill our empty sugar bowl!

I’m sure your readers have a plethora of “make do” stories they can add to this.


Denham Springs

Run, Scrofula, run

Dear Smiley: I recently noted a mention in your paper of a disorder named “chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.”

I have for some time thought that the ridiculous and sometimes unpronounceable names used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the race horse business, are the result of just running out of names.

Consider simpler times and the medical terminology I once gleaned from the 1880 mortality records of Stewart County, Georgia, while doing genealogical research.

Some of the deaths were attributed to the following: “Dropsy,” “Burnt,” “Tree fell,” “Brain,” “Dentition,” “Inanition,” “Scrofula,” “Apthae,” and my all-time favorite, “Old age.”

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll have a Derby winner named Scrofula.


Baton Rouge

What, no pickles?

Dear Smiley: My daughter Lacy, who is expecting, called to ask if it is weird to crave strange foods.

She explained she was craving fried eggs with Tony’s Creole Seasoning on them, and toast with cinnamon sugar.

She made a sandwich of the eggs with the cinnamon toast and ate it all.

I agreed that was weird.

“No, Mom, the weird part is, it was so good I made a second one and ate it too!”


Baton Rouge

Sign language

Dear Smiley: When my husband worked for FEMA, we traveled a lot.

I began keeping a list of amusing signs we would see.

The following are some of my favorites:

On a laundromat in Kentucky: “Wishy Washy.”

On a bait shop in south Louisiana: “Minnow Pause.”

A sign on an Arkansas diner: “You Et Yet?”

Sign on a beauty salon in north Louisiana: “About Face.”

Sign on antique store in Tennessee: “Lost in Time.”

Sign near Chicot State Park: “All cattle trespassing on this property will be brought to court!”


Denham Springs

Sign language II

Dear Smiley: Your funny signs reminded of these from quite a few years ago.

One was in Bunkie, at a restaurant/gas station combo. The sign outside of the restaurant read “Eat Here — Get Gas.”

Another one was in Hendersonville, N.C. A restaurant had a sign in the window that read “Sorry, We’re Open.”

P.S.: It had good food.



The crying game

Dear Smiley: While visiting my daughter at Delta State in Mississippi, I saw a billboard advertising a funeral home.

Their motto was “Why Cry Twice.”

Irreverent, kind of.



Give him the bird

Dear Smiley: I need your help!

A little while ago I overheard part of a commercial on the radio.

A grocery store was having a sale on “all-natural chicken,” but I didn’t get the name of the store!

Can you help?

I want to get there before they’re all gone and the store goes back to selling artificial chickens.

Somehow they just don’t taste the same. …



A royal groaner

Dear Smiley: I was fascinated to see the British tradition of announcing the royal birth by placing an easel in the square with the gender and weight of the royal baby.

But of course they soon remove the announcement, hence the saying “Easel come, easel go!”



Dear Glenn: You’re lucky we won the Revolutionary War and aren’t British subjects any more — because you’d probably be tossed in the Tower of London over that one …

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.