Smiley Anders: Memories of old jokes and coffee

Dear Smiley: My dear departed dad, Wilson Karam, of Oakdale, was one of the funniest, most quick-witted people you’d ever hope to meet.

His favorite hangout was the Western Auto store. Mr. Bates Millsap kept a pot of coffee going at the sporting goods counter, where many a fish story and tall tale were spun.

Here’s a joke from that time … it might be a Justin Wilson classic.

Boudreaux called the local priest to come to his home to bless his new halo statue.

Upon arrival, the priest said, “Boudreaux, let’s see your new statue.”

Boudreaux took him into the hallway and said, “Here it is, Father!”

The priest, confused, said, “Boudreaux, all I see is your telephone. Where’s the statue?”

Boudreaux replied, “Right there, Father! When dat thing rings, I pick it up and say, ‘Halo. Statue?’ ”


Baton Rouge

Discovering Winslow

Dear Smiley: The stories about Winslow, Ariz., reminded me of our Grand Canyon raft trip three years ago.

We stayed in Flagstaff for a few days prior to the raft trip. One day we ventured to the Petrified Forest, but had a difficult time getting back to Flagstaff — Interstate 40 was closed because of a sandstorm.

An Arizona state trooper suggested taking Route 66 through Winslow.

We stopped in Winslow for a break, and there it was — Standin’ On the Corner Park, dedicated to The Eagles in 1999.

The side of a brick building has murals depicting parts of the song “Take it Easy.”

There is a fake eagle perched on a window sill, a flatbed Ford parked adjacent to the park, and the statue of a “1970s man” by Ron Adamson.

Sometimes the best vacation memories are those “diamonds in the rough,” totally unplanned and unexpected.



Flour and fashion

Dear Smiley: I well remember the feed sack material Dr. Walter Daniels wrote about. Flour also came in the same sacks.

In the late ’40s and early ’50s, I wore flour sack dresses to church and to school.

Now those feed sacks are highly prized by quilters, and the feed sack prints are reproduced in quality fabric.


Pine Grove

Quick trip

Dear Smiley: During World War II, we lived in uptown New Orleans, at 3118 Cadiz St.

My dad owned a delivery business, New Orleans Express Co., and during the war his business boomed and his warehouse on Poydras Street was full to the rafters because of all the war-related shipping.

After the war, his business shrank so much that he closed it down and found employment elsewhere.

But he still had gas coupons left because of all the trucks he’d owned.

I remember coming home from school one day and Mom telling me to pack my suitcase because we were leaving for a car trip to New York City the next day to use the gas coupons before they became invalid!

I was 7 years old at the time, and my only worry was trying to stay out of trouble for teasing my older sister, Kay, as we rode in the back seat in that un-air-conditioned black Buick!


Baton Rouge

Painful memories

Dear Smiley: As a primary school kid in the mid ’50s we received the Coca-Cola blotters with the pencil and ruler.

The teacher kept the ruler, and when we were disruptive in class she would use the rulers to spank our hands.

She was a great teacher, and I still have memories of her at Chesbrough High School (in Tangipahoa Parish). It’s now an elementary school.



How dry it am

Dear Smiley: Your story of parents trying to keep order in a car full of kids reminded me of my trick.

When the kids started getting rowdy I would hand out crackers.

It’s hard to complain loudly about stuff when your mouth is all dried out from saltines.

One day the kids were starting up in the back seat. Oldest daughter Kathryn sighed and said, “Hey Mom, you had better pass out the ‘shut-up’ crackers.”



Driving to distraction

Dear Smiley: Your series on roundabouts is interesting, as I had various experiences with them when I worked in Europe during the ’70s and early ’80s, first in Aberdeen, Scotland, and then in The Netherlands.

In Aberdeen we drove on the wrong side of the road, but in Holland we got back on the correct side.

But more confusing was the roundabout issue. One country’s rule was the exact opposite in the other.

In one the car inside the circle had the right of way, and in the other the in-coming car was given it.

By the way, what is the rule here?


Baton Rouge

Dear Max: Survival of the fittest …

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.