Smiley: Rough translation

A popular Christmas song is José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” a Spanish-flavored tune.

Teacher Kay Pressley says, “I will never forget last Christmas when I was teaching at Runnels’ preschool, hearing from across the room one of my students, Ian Trahan, belting out at the top of his lungs: ‘Police la de da … Police la de da!’ ”

Coin that word

The above-mentioned Kay Pressley, now teaching at Polk Pre-K, has another story:

“One of a multitude of things we teach in pre-K is conflict resolution.

“Most importantly, we teach ‘using kind, respectful words’ as opposed to hurtful words.

“One of my students, Ashlyn, had tried this, and it was unsuccessful.

“She came to me with her serious, big, brown eyes and said, ‘Ms. Pressley, he is FRUSTRESSING me!’

“It took everything in me to help her with her situation, as I was dying with laughter on the inside.”

The color purple

Joan Normand (“N’Awlins native, BR resident”) says our mention of K&B drugstores, known for their signature purple, gave her a good laugh:

“When my nephew, Andrew Patin, was about 7 years old, he got a kite for Easter.

“When he went to open it, he said, ‘Look, Ma, the Easter Bunny shops at K&B!’ ”

Repeat performance

Due to last Saturday’s rainy weather, some folks who didn’t make it down to Main Street Market have asked me to hold another book signing there this Saturday, Dec. 21.

I’ll be there from 9 a.m. to noon signing “Smiley! A Laughing Matter” and “Best of Smiley” for Christmas shoppers who think their friends and loved ones might appreciate a gift of silly stories.

Remembering George

Annabelle Armstrong recalls the kindness of artist George Rodrigue:

“In the pre-Blue Dog days (1983), I was honored to interview a young George Rodrigue.

“I asked him why his trees did not have tops on them.

“He did not reply, but in a few days, I received a signed, limited-edition print, ‘Acadien Festivals,’ with a family, including a little boy holding an easel on which he had painted a tree with a top.

“The artist wrote a note: ‘Only little kids put tops on their trees.’ ”

Space for rent?

Patrick J. Devillier says, “From my office window in downtown, I note that a second white balloon storage dome has appeared next to the existing one by the Port of Baton Rouge.

“I wonder if the owners plan to sell open-air advertising space … the opportunity seems no-brainer lucrative, and subject matter possibilities are tantalizing to consider!

“How about holding a contest for suggestions? (I trust your judgment to print only tasteful submissions.)”

Hip, hippo, hoorah!

Dot Wise Wirth says while 10-year-old Gayla Peevey recorded “All I Want for Christmas Is a Hippopotamus” in 1953, her version differed slightly from the one I quoted:

“The words in your column came from the later version recorded by Dawn Glass in 1960.

“Dawn Glass was a freshman at Centenary College in Shreveport at the time.

“I remember this vividly because I was also a freshman there, and it was my first real contact with an actual recording star.

“Unfortunately, it never became a classic. It was, however, very popular in Louisiana — one of my Haynesville High School classmates sang it to us just a few years ago!”

Looking for people

Clients at Charlie’s Place, the Alzheimer’s Services Respite Center, seek a quilter to assist in making a panel for the Alzheimer’s Foundation’s America Quilt to Remember project.

The panel would be displayed at the Alzheimer’s Services annual conference in March, then would travel nationally, representing Charlie’s Place.

Call Dana Territo at (225) 334-7494 or email

Special people department

Fred Westphal, of West Feliciana Parish, celebrated his 102nd birthday on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Back story

Walter L. Brown, of Livingston, says LSU’s journey to the Outback Bowl brings these thoughts:

“I remember growing up in St. Helena Parish at an early age, when people would say, ‘I am going out back behind the barn for a few minutes. …’

“I don’t remember there being a bowl in those days.”

The pod people

Brenda Sharp says, “I am lamenting the closure of our local camera stores (Kadair’s, Southern Camera etc.) after calling chain stores looking for a specific kind of camera tripod.

“The response: ‘You want a camera for an iPod?’ ”

See you next year

I’ll be off the next few days, resuming my column early in 2014. Have a happy holiday, and quaff an eggnog daiquiri for me. …

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.