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Smiley: A crabby Marylander

Here’s a “Louisiana proud” tale from Glenn Jones: “Several years ago, my wife and I visited my sister-in-law and her husband in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. “One day we visited the Naval Academy and surrounding areas, and decided to have lunch at one of the local… Continue reading →

Smiley: A hypnotic tale

Val Garon milks this story for all it’s worth: “Around 1938 at St. James High School, a magician, Willard the Wizard, gave a performance attended by my eldest brother, Allen. “Allen was greatly impressed by the hypnotism that Willard performed. “Since we lived in the country, Mom had a milk cow called Beauty.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Great start, bad finish

Marsha Reichle tells a tale of golf and mixed emotions: “When I was 12 my father worked in Central America for Standard Fruit, the Vaccaro’s New Orleans banana company. “The company wives had lots of leisure time to fill, so they took up golf to balance days spent playing canasta. “My mother insisted I fill out her foursome,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Protect the crawfish!

A classic “only in Louisiana” story: Val Garon tells of visiting a classmate from Ascension Catholic High at the Veterans Affairs home in Reserve. He was with two other classmates, and in putting the veteran and his wheelchair in his friend Mike’s SUV to go to lunch, Val hit his head… Continue reading →

Smiley: Southern blessing

Dear Smiley: Here in the South, we are fortunate to have the useful phrase, “Bless her heart,” which excuses anything impolite, evil or malicious that comes just before or after it. In this new age of technology, I think I have discovered the written equivalent: “LOL.” For example, we can express… Continue reading →

Smiley: Mexican friendship

I recently learned about the death of Tom Boyd from his brother Alan, and the sad news brought back memories. Tom, my classmate at LSU Journalism School, had been living in Mexico for many years. He was one of the funniest guys I ever knew, and a truly masterful storyteller. As I told Alan,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sadness and unity

A few days after Sept. 11, 2001, I returned from a family funeral in Minnesota and wrote my feelings about the trip. We had to drive there and back — in the days after 9/11, flying was not an option. In the item, titled “Signs of solidarity,” I told of seeing “hundreds of signs… Continue reading →

Smiley: Addictive po-boys

William E. Kavanaugh, of Jefferson, discusses a New Orleans delicacy: “The letter about ‘poor boys’ brought a memory to my mind. “In 1968, I first met my future wife. On our second date, we had gone bowling with some friends of mine. After we finished, we decided to have a bite and root beer… Continue reading →

Smiley: A journalist’s dream

Dear Smiley: Seeing “manual typewriter” and “stop the presses” in the same column item reminded me of an event back in the early 1970s when I was news and sports editor of the Greater Plaquemine Post. The weekly paper’s press run started about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, but one week, an unexpected grand jury… Continue reading →

Smiley: As the stomach churns

A slew of readers (a slew is more than a bunch) have commented on the heart-stopping finish of the recent athletic contest in Houston involving Tigers and Badgers. For instance, Robby Zeringue says, “During the fourth quarter of the LSU-Wisconsin game, I was expecting to see a commercial break touting Rolaids as the ‘Official Antacid of the… Continue reading →

Smiley: The bird birdie

Image from video

Golfers, like fishermen, are known more for the stories they tell than for their skill at their respective pastimes. For instance, Ernie Gremillion offers this golfing tale: “Seeing Charles Zachariah’s story about ‘the fly and the birdie,’ where a golf ball hung over the hole when a fly landed on it and caused it to… Continue reading →

Smiley: What, no duct tape?

Former LSU Chancellor James Wharton says, “The upcoming football season and the recent death of contractor David Broussard brought back memories from events that occurred in May of 1981.” He says cracks had been detected in the south end zone seating area of Tiger Stadium, raising the possibility the area could be condemned: “Fortunately,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Clackety-clack

Algie Petrere’s memory of typewriter days brought back a lot of images — and the sound of LSU journalism students pounding away on 20 or 30 manual Underwoods and Royals in our typing room. I still find something romantic about the clackety-clack of the manual typewriter, and the bell that rings when you reach the end… Continue reading →

Smiley: Win them ersters

I’ve enjoyed our “You might be a Yat if …” contest, but I’m winding it up Friday. So get your entries in for a chance to dine on an erster po-boy at Deanie’s. Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, who suggested the contest, offers a couple of his own entries: “You might be a Yat if you… Continue reading →

Smiley: Saints in the desert

Dear Smiley: Years ago, our family of six moved to Tucson, Arizona, and it was a culture shock — when we arrived it was 118 degrees, no trees or greenery anywhere, no water flowing in any river, no LSU, no seafood; but the worst was NO SAINTS! Every Sunday, we searched all… Continue reading →

Smiley: Litigious drinker

Tommy Watts says there was once a rash of claims and lawsuits against soft drink bottlers about foreign material allegedly found in their bottles: “A gentleman came into my office and asked if I handled ‘indecent’ cold drink cases. “He removed a bottle of cream soda from a brown paper bag, whereupon I alertly noted that… Continue reading →

Smiley: The fly and the birdie

Charlie Zachariah says his golfing story “cannot be doubted, since it was witnessed by a newspaperman, and they never lie.” His evidence is a yellowed clipping from the weekly paper in Napoleonville about the “Crawfish Tournament” held there in the ’50s. The story tells how Charlie tried for a birdie putt, but the ball hung on… Continue reading →

Smiley: The baffled Frenchman

Allen J. Fontenot, of Crowley, says he and his wife were visiting in France, in the Nice-Cannes area, in 1990: “We went to town to exchange our dollars for francs. My wife had gone in a bank, and I was standing out front on the sidewalk (‘trottoir’). “Here comes a man with his little dog… Continue reading →

Smiley: Serious musician

This tale, from Val Garon, made me laugh out loud and almost spill my morning Ovaltine: “Back in the ’70s, Bobby Dugas, Henry Landry and I, on a camping trip at Lake Verret, visited a barroom on Belle River. “One of the patrons, a diminutive Cajun barfly called Lue-lue, was… Continue reading →

Smiley: A few good Yats

Some early responses to my “You might be a Yat if …” contest: Frank Arrigo: “You know you’re a Yat when you go to the Parade of Homes to catch Mardi Gras beads.” Mike Eldred, of Tylertown, Mississippi: “You might be a Yat if you have a claw foot… Continue reading →

Smiley: Small town, big hearts

Dear Smiley: The item about a small town and how everyone looks after each other brought this story to mind: Soon after my son, Chase, got his driver’s license, he was driving my car when it stalled on the Pineville Expressway. He pulled over on an off-ramp, and before he could even call… Continue reading →

Smiley: Where y’at?

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, has noticed that since the institution of the New Orleans Advocate, I’ve been getting more stories from persons of the Yat persuasion: “Do you want to do a ‘You might be a Yat if …’ contest?” Back in 1996 Dan, borrowing (OK, stealing) Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck… Continue reading →

Smiley: The Texas language

“Louisianians do not have a lock on peculiar elocution,” says James Bagley, of Covington. He says he and his family moved often during his 35-year career with the Shell oil company: “On one such move, to Houston, our quest for a dentist was answered by a neighbor, who recommended Dr. Bale and gave us his… Continue reading →

Smiley: Good show, no plot

Steve Davison offers a story from the old days at WBRZ: “TV stations used to sign on in the early morning and sign off at midnight. “One of my jobs at WBRZ in the early days was to sign on. “We opened the day using a black and white camera mounted on a table… Continue reading →

Smiley: Super Saints season

My Fearless Football Forecast for the New Orleans Saints might be a tad too optimistic, but I’ve got a good feeling: The lads in black and gold open the season with a bang, downing the Falcons in Atlanta. Another road game, in Cleveland, has the Saints doing… Continue reading →

Smiley: Surprising Tigers

If it’s August, it’s time for the Fearless Football Forecast, aka “Smiley’s Folly.” This is my annual look at the LSU Tigers’ season from my unique perspective as a somewhat casual fan who doesn’t actually go to the games but reads about them in the paper and watches them on TV if they’re not on past… Continue reading →

Smiley: A soldier comes home

Dear Smiley: I’m sure you’ve had your fill of hitchhiking stories, but my favorite one is about my Uncle Elmer when he was discharged from the service in January 1946. He had been wounded and spent Christmas 1945 in the hospital. When he was discharged in San Antonio, he decided to hitchhike home… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sure sign he’s running

I don’t claim to be a political insider, but I knew some time ago that Mayor-President Kip Holden was going to be a candidate for a major office (turns out it’s lieutenant governor). I got a text from my brother Louis, in Oakdale, telling me, “Kip Holden is speaking to the Oakdale Rotary Club… Continue reading →

Smiley: Banking on chicken

One of the things I like about small towns is the way residents know just about everybody in town, and look after each other. Dixie Saucier, of Eunice, says a friend told her this story at a “little old ladies” bridge game: The lady said her elderly mother, who is deaf, called Popeye’s and ordered some… Continue reading →

Smiley: Our state grain

Louis L. Martin says a story about a drop in the price of long-grain rice reminds him of the tale of three guys who met for breakfast in a diner before going to their jobs. One of them was a newcomer to Louisiana, here only three months or so, and he watched… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sweet surprise

Kathleen Sonnier Mier, of Zachary, tells how a random act of kindness happened on impulse: “Husband Louis and I stopped by the drive-thru at McDonald’s in Baker to get biscuits. “The young lady sweetly asked, ‘Do you want jelly with that?’ “I said yes and we… Continue reading →

Smiley: Pest control method

Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, who uses French to discourage annoying, unsolicited telephone callers, didn’t have to resort to that when he got a call recently: “The pollster asked me for my opinion on a political subject. I told him, ‘I don’t have an opinion; I’m married.’ “Then he asked to speak to… Continue reading →

Smiley: Unpopular at the pool

Dear Smiley: I am a 9-year-old girl who reads your column. It is so funny! Because it is summer, I have a funny story about my little sister I wanted to share. Last summer we were in Gulf Shores, and my sister was only 9 months old. She didn’t like the ocean much,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Cool as a turtle

“My siblings and I had a better result when our seven or eight baby red-eared slider turtles froze solid in a goldfish bowl left outside during the freeze of 1962. “All of south Louisiana was frozen for about a week, with the temperature… Continue reading →

Smiley: Compassion trumps spelling

Faye Melancon says, “Granddaughter Paige was working her first job at a day care center as a baby sitter, and a friend got a similar job. “As a part of their Facebook exchange, Paige answered the friend’s worried queries about how to take care of babies and toddlers as follows: “ ‘Well if they want… Continue reading →

Smiley: The Springfield Saints

With football season looming ever nearer, here’s a “devoted fans” story from Lum Ellis, of New Orleans: “In Springfield, Illinois, Breeson, a beautiful girl, was born to rabid Saints fans Jeremy and Kristen Logue. “Named for Drew Brees and Steve Gleason, Breeson will be comfortable in a house decorated with black and gold. “The… Continue reading →

Smiley: Marriage insurance

Gary W. Cross, of Prairieville, says, “My father-in-law, Herbert Isaminger, who is in LSU football heaven now, was a very smart man. “ ‘Mr. I’ was a tennis player on LSU’s first tennis team in 1935. He also was an LSU football season ticket holder, starting in 1935. “Mr. I came to me a few years… Continue reading →

Smiley: Love in the air

Jim Burke says our hitchhiking stories remind him of the most memorable ride he ever caught — because it wasn’t in a car at all: “In the mid-1950s, I hitchhiked 70 miles virtually every weekend — to Minneapolis from St. John’s, a small men’s college in central Minnesota, to see my high school sweetheart, who was… Continue reading →

Smiley: Frozen gator blues

Dear Smiley: Years ago, my four boys begged their dad to get them baby alligators. So off we went to the Alligator Farm on Airline Highway to purchase two of them. It was against my vote, but I usually lost — because it was always one girl against five men. Back home,… Continue reading →

Smiley: The road worrier

Thomas Murrel, of Church Point, says, “Annette and I were returning from Baton Rouge about a week ago. She was driving, and I was scanning through a copy of The Advocate. “ ‘Hey, babe,’ I asked, ‘what is the definition of the ultimate challenge?’ “ ‘Is this a trick question?’ she asked. I shook my… Continue reading →

Smiley: Their happy marriage

Sabrina Perkins offers this recipe for domestic bliss: “After reading your column regarding the search for liver and onions, I was reminded of a pact my husband Mike and I made more than 30 years ago prior to our marriage. “I absolutely abhor any type of liver, including the smell, and he feels the same… Continue reading →

Smiley: Meet Mr. Smooth

Dianna Sussmann says, “My husband and I recently took our grandsons to Walk-Ons for dinner. “Josh Stefan, the 7-year-old, informed me that sometimes it’s OK to put your elbows on the table. “It’s OK, he said, when you are on a date with a girl, look across the table and say, ‘Tell me about yourself.’… Continue reading →

Smiley: Jokers strike!

Vicki Ferstel, The Advocate’s night editor, announced on our website that she’s now doing the “Ask The Advocate” column, in which readers get their questions answered. She also told her Facebook friends, saying, “So if y’all have any questions that need answering, send them on in!” She forgot the first rule of social media — a… Continue reading →