Dear Smiley: When I came down with the measles as a child, Mom took me to stay with my grandparents so her five healthy children could continue to go to school.
Since Granddaddy was a doctor, I got excellent care.
I was put on the couch, and the room was kept dim to protect my eyes during the illness.
Granddaddy knew I loved bananas, so he brought home a huge bunch of green ones, straight off the boat.
He hung them from the ceiling where I could see them and told me that by the time they were yellow I would be all well.
I was lying on the couch looking at my bananas when I noticed something brown and furry moving around in them.
I called out to Granddaddy. He took one look and said a bad word, then got an icepick, climbed on a chair, took careful aim and skewered that tarantula right through the middle.
We both watched those bananas very carefully after that.
Dear Smiley: One summer we camped out in Colorado, near a beautiful mountain stream.
We were enjoying the scenery when a man walked up with a string of rainbow trout.
He had met his limit for the day and asked if we’d like the fish — he wanted to fish more.
Being from south Louisiana, we fried them up on the spot.
We didn’t have oil or cornmeal (who knew we’d eat fish?), so we improvised. We fried bacon and coated the fish with flour.
That was the best fish we’ve ever eaten.
I guess you can take the Cajuns out of Cajun country, but you can’t take the country out of the Cajun!
Dear Smiley: I’m happy to read items in your column about good citizens stopping to remove debris from roadways.
Years ago my husband had an encounter with a piece of 2-by-4 lumber. An oncoming truck ran over it, causing it to flip into my husband’s windshield.
He was able to shield his face with his hand as the board slammed into the glass.
He was in LaPlace at the time and managed to drive to a nearby service station and ask the shocked attendant for directions to the nearest emergency room — he knew at least one finger was broken.
The hospital staff was stunned to see a car pull up with a board sticking out the window.
A friend drove him home, and because this occurred pre-mobile phone era, I had no idea what happened until he walked in the door.
I was fairly calm, until he told me the doctors had to cut off his wedding ring. This young silly wife was crushed!
He still doesn’t have a ring, but I’m over that. Glad to have him still with me. And thank you, those who take time to keep our roads free of debris.
Dear Smiley: I recently had trouble with the low air pressure sensor on my vehicle.
I went to a tire repair shop and was told that the only way the indicator light would go out is if I changed the sensor.
The sensor was ordered, and when I went to have it replaced, the mechanic just placed it next to the tire and asked me if the indicator light had gone out.
I was amazed that it had.
When he took the tire off to replace the old sensor, I asked him how the sensor worked.
He looked at me, and with a straight face responded, “Are you really asking me?”
I laughed, and he did also!
Dear Smiley: The stories in your column about tamales made from cat meat reminds me of a story in one of the books about Angola State Penitentiary in the early ’30s.
It seems one of the inmates was fast enough to catch rabbits while working in the fields.
He capitalized on this talent by selling rabbit sandwiches to the inmates in his cell block.
This proved a profitable venture — until one of his customers found the remains of quite a few cats behind the cell block.
He was in the prison infirmary for several days.
Dear Smiley: Mary Vernoy, who wrote of the crawfish crossing the road on her way to her cousin’s camp on Lake Verret, was on her way to my Uncle George Gaudin’s camp.
Hearing her story brought back so many memories.
He would always say at this time of the year, “January is hard on old cows and old people.”
I’m getting a little concerned, because I am not a cow.
Dear Smiley: I have enjoyed the paper for over 50 years — especially Smiley.
Only recently I have been reading Pat Shingleton’s Weather News each day.
I’ll never know why I ignored this feature for so long.
It is most interesting, and I have learned many facts I never knew.
Thank you, Pat and Smiley.
Dear Sheila: Thanks — Pat says the check’s in the mail. …
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.