Smiley: Ultimate fantasy

Dear Smiley: My 11-year-old son Grant, having been immersed in fantasy football all season long, is living vicariously through the likes of Drew Brees and LeSean McCoy.

He explained that it would not be necessary for his father and I to continue putting money away for his college education, since he plans to play in the NFL after high school.

I suggested that he might want to consider a college degree as a “back-up plan,” particularly since his gene pool will likely prevent him from reaching the stature necessary to play professional football.

Without hesitating, he said that he DID have a back-up plan … professional basketball!

I don’t think I’ll close that college fund just yet.



Sans legs

Dear Smiley: Your story about why George Rodrigue didn’t paint the top of trees reminded me of a similar story.

Pablo Picasso, the great Spanish painter, donated a drawing of a peace dove to UNICEF.

But people noticed that the peace dove didn’t have legs.

When asked about this, Picasso said his father (also a painter, who taught his son painting) had him practice drawing a dove over and over again.

When Pablo became famous he deliberately left off the legs in rebellion.

Picasso’s dove has obtained enduring fame as an object devoted to peace in the world.


Baton Rouge

Home cooking

Dear Smiley: Having moved to the Greater Jacksonville area to practice real estate, one of my first clients turned out to be Heberts from Crowley!

It was heaven to first hear “that accent,” and they were delighted to meet someone who could not only understand them, but knew how to spell and pronounce their name!

We spent Christmas Day at their home, having gumbo, potato salad and boudin.

Before that day there came a text from them: “Do you have any filĂ© to spare?“

“Yes!” was my resounding reply.


Fleming Island, Fla.

Orange you curious?

Dear Smiley: Every year about this time this subject comes up.

When I was young we were given mandarins. Now I am told these are satsumas. What is the right name?

The dictionary said the mandarin is a loose-skinned citrus fruit.

I am going on 90 and I still call them mandarins.

Does anyone know what the difference is?


New Orleans

Dear Russell: My dictionary describes both as loose-skinned citrus fruit, but adds that satsumas are “grown in Florida and Alabama” — indicating that Louisiana satsumas need more advertising …

Subtle hint

Dear Smiley: On our Christmas visit to Ipswich, Mass., I jokingly asked grandkids Celina and Rex if they wanted a dog to go with their two cats.

Son-in-law Bryan Satter shot me a quick steely look. (Oops, bad move by mother-in-law.)

Celina, 6, commented, “You and Papa never had pets when you were little, but we like cats better. Dogs bark, jump on you, and lick your face.”

Rexy, 4, added, “No, Gam, I don’t think I’d like a dog. When a kid wants to stay inside and play on his iPad mini, all a dog wants to do is go outside and play fetch all day.”

Guess what Rexy got for Christmas?



Shared conversations

Dear Smiley: We were on a party line for a while.

My phone would ring and when I answered this little old lady would pick up, and I would say to her that it was my ring.

She would say, “Are you sure it was your ring?”

One day the phone rang and I heard in the background, “Mama, hang up the phone; that was not our ring.”

The little old lady said, “I don’t want to; I want to hear what the man has to say.”

I told her that if that is all she has to do, I would bring her some yarn and she could knit me something while she listened to my conversation.

Thank goodness no more party lines.


Baton Rouge

Aging process I

Dear Smiley: Every time I need to open a new bottle of detergent I struggle to unscrew the top.

I always think, “What do old people do?”

Wait a minute, I AM the old person!



Aging process II

Dear Smiley: I’ve been seeing TV commercials for one of those websites that is supposed to help keep your mind sharp.

I want to try it, since I seem to be getting a little forgetful.

But by the time I get my computer turned on, locate my password and log on, I’ve completely forgotten the name of the site!

Do you think there’s any hope for us old tech-challenged geezers?


Baton Rouge

Dear Steve: Just what do you mean by “us”?

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.