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Smiley: Joker was no joke

Dear Smiley: Referring to an article about Fair Grounds picks, years (probably over a half-century) ago, I was an operator on the old-time switchboard at Bell South. Customers from pay phones were notified that their three minutes were up by flipping a key and saying, “Your three minutes are up; signal when through.” While notifying,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sing for your cush-cush

Kathy Groft, a native of St. Amant, has for the past 20 years lived in northern Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. But she says she never lost her taste for Cajun delicacies, especially cush-cush, a fried cornmeal mush usually served hot at breakfast, with cane syrup: “When we… Continue reading →

Smiley: Hunger game

With hunting season upon us, this note from Bill Bankhead about responsible hunters seems timely: “I cannot let my old Catholic High friend, Ernie Gremillion, have the final say on armadillos. “Several years ago my son told his children the reason hunters killed animals was for food, and you should never… Continue reading →

Smiley: Fighting crime

If you’re about to embark on a life of crime, you’d be wise to choose your victims carefully. Here are a couple of examples showing why this is a good policy: — Mary Pramuk says our tale of Olga Hotz, of New Orleans, chasing a thief with her broom jogged her memory about… Continue reading →

Smiley: Speaking kidspeak

Thank goodness for children. Without them, this column would be a lot harder to construct. For example: John Sample says, “About 38 years ago a fellow Titleist rep was spending the night at our home, sleeping in my 4-year-old son David’s room. He asked little David why the bedside lamp didn’t work, and was… Continue reading →

Smiley: Hurting for his faith

Bobby Marchand, of Acy, says, “Being Catholic, my wife Ginger and I wanted to teach our young toddler son, Bret, how to make the sign of the cross, so we would get him each day to practice doing it. “As we were watching TV one night, Bret came into the room complaining of… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sweet name

Dear Smiley: After reading in your Sept. 25 column about little Leslie Christopher, of New Roads, calling butterflies by her own word, “flutter-bys,” I agreed with her term. It reminded me of one of my daughter Rebecca’s terms. We were showing her honeysuckle vines (over 40 years ago) and how you can gently… Continue reading →

Smiley: Bilingual safety

Richard Fossey, an education prof at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, says father-in-law Ivy Alford “told me a story that made me wish I were bilingual. “Back in the 1950s, Ivy and his friends Leo and Agnes Richard dropped by the Rainbow Inn in Pierre Part to eat dinner. In those days,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Doughnuts and more

My buddy, Dudley Lehew, recently moved from Denham Springs to Marrero, and he’s lost no time reminding me of the joys of life in the New Orleans area. Knowing my love of Krystal burgers (aka “sliders”) and the lack of a Krystal dispensary in Baton Rouge, he was happy to tell me the one near his… Continue reading →

Smiley: We’re “very unique”

I’ve lived so long in the Deep South (spent only two years in the Frozen Nawth — Shreveport) that I’ve come to take the speech patterns here for granted. But Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, says there is a Southern way of talking, and it involves using more words than are absolutely… Continue reading →

Smiley: “Most interesting” gift

Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, is the kind of thoughtful husband who makes trouble for the rest of us: “Lately when my wife goes grocery shopping and I have beer on the list, instead of getting my regular brand, she buys me Dos Equis. She won’t say why she switches, but I think it’s because… Continue reading →

Smiley: Bollards are a ‘smashing’ success

The “bollards,” steel poles that pop up to close off roadways, were installed around the State Capitol to keep people away from this public building. They have worked well in achieving this objective, but some of the people who have been kept away aren’t happy about it. These include a legislator and, on Thursday,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Almost famous

Dear Smiley: The storm that canceled the LSU-McNeese game reminded me of the fall of 1961, when I was the sports editor of the Daily Reveille. As was the custom in those days, the LSU Athletic Department arranged to take the Reveille sports editor to one football road game. Athletic Director Jim Corbett gave… Continue reading →

Smiley: As Yogi said...

The death of Yogi Berra, the great New York Yankees catcher, reminded me of a time when I loved the Yankees, although I wasn’t a fan. To explain: during my high school and college years in the ’50s, the Yankees won five World Series. Most of my fellow students passionately hated them, so getting them… Continue reading →

Smiley: Creative flipping

Years ago, there was a funny TV commercial (for what, I don’t recall) about a football referee forgetting the coin for the pregame coin toss. Jeremy White was officiating, as field judge, at a junior college football game in Mississippi a couple of weeks ago when he observed life imitating art: “As I stood there… Continue reading →

Smiley: Say what?

I’m having fun with the stories about misused words, and I hope you are too. For instance: Bess Stacy says, “My husband and I traveled to Katy, Texas, to attend our grandson’s senior night at the Taylor High School football game. After the Taylor High running back was tackled, the announcer proudly said he… Continue reading →

Smiley: Early bags?

No NFL fans can go from the heights of exhilaration to the depths of despair faster than fans of the New Orleans Saints. A couple of losses — even if one was at home in the Dome — shouldn’t be enough to cause the normal fan to pack it in and anticipate a… Continue reading →

Smiley: Mrs. Malaprop lives!

I had an idea that our mention of malapropisms would ring some bells: — Sue Sperry, of Metairie, captures the spirit of this most recent discussion when she quotes travel writer Paul Theroux, who overhead a snobbish woman say, “I can’t stand it when people mispronunciate their words!” — Woody Lambert… Continue reading →

Smiley: Creative language

Our discussion of malapropisms in my last column yielded some excellent examples of word misuse from our alert readers. Nobey Benoit says, “The barkeep at our favorite local bar was talking about how much he hated the singer Nellie Wilson. It took us a while to realize he was talking about Willie Nelson.” Brave husband Tom Boone,… Continue reading →

Smiley: No Mustang Sally

This recollection, from Carl Spillman, seems an appropriate way to wind up our discussion of horses ridden by movie and TV Western heroes: “I don’t remember the horses’ names out of the old Westerns. “I do remember a few from the Fairgrounds, though. “Mud Bank Sally is one that comes to mind.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sorry, wrong number

“The story about the lines at a confessional, in the Thursday column, reminded me of one of my more memorable confessions,” says Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville. “Trying to be really cool and wanting to impress the padre with my knowledge of my Catholic faith instilled in me by my catechism teachers, I decided to tell my… Continue reading →

Smiley: Pet buzzard blues

Gene Duke, of Baton Rouge, tells a story you might not want to read over breakfast: “When Bill Ripple and I were about 12, we were bored and searching for something to do. “While walking to the store for a five-cent soda, we spotted a buzzard having a meal, and thought… Continue reading →

Smiley: Old new bridge

Dear Smiley: I was born and raised in Tangipahoa Parish, and as a youngster, my family traveled to see my grandparents in Zachary. I have a memory of my father driving on I-55 between Amite and Hammond before it was open to traffic, so I’ve been around for a while. I also remember… Continue reading →

Smiley: He’s kidding, people!

My buddy Dudley Lehew and his wife, Mary, just moved from Denham Springs to Marrero (we’re talking major culture shock here!). His story shows the move hasn’t affected his sense of humor, although his choice of an audience could be improved: “When were signing papers on the purchase of our new… Continue reading →

Smiley: Spin doctors

Frank Fronczek says, “Having little to do but watch the lightning late Saturday night, I sent my brother Bill (a McNeese grad) the following message: “‘Cowboys make no first downs in unsuccessful road trip. LSU remains undefeated.’ “He replied: ‘Tigers narrowly avoid embarrassing loss. Divine intervention required.’” Chuck Simms, of Plaquemine, says his… Continue reading →

Smiley: Buckshot and the gang

Some of my favorite stories come from folks working at industries in the Baton Rouge area — such as the practice of sending new employees to get a “skyhook” or “striped paint” or some non-existent tool. Jimmy Varnado says some 12 retirees from ExxonMobil meet every Tuesday at Frank’s Restaurant: “We… Continue reading →

Smiley: Cool, Carlos

“My all-girls high school senior trip was to Mexico City, where that year’s Miss Universe contest had recently taken place,” says Pat Alba, of Metairie. “During our week’s stay, we were divided into groups of four for meals, and my table had the same attentive waiter, Carlos, at breakfast every day.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Calling Moses

Dear Smiley: A golf championship was held this past weekend at a club where I am a member. The winners may wish they hadn’t played so well. We received an email with the results and the following announcement: “All flight winners will receive a plague commemorating their accomplishment.” Boils… Continue reading →

Smiley: Fun funeral

“My late stepmother, Zina Stringfield Tate, was quite a lady,” says Harvey Tate: “During World War II she enlisted in the WACS, and served in Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters. Later she taught school for 40 years. “After retiring, Mrs. Zina took a part-time job with the Denham Springs News, reporting on events… Continue reading →

Smiley: The Peach Fuzz Kid

Emery L. Barnhouse Jr., of Ponchatoula, tells of his days as a 17-year-old Navy recruit in San Diego: “One day at inspection, the officer who inspected us was 6 feet 5 inches, and when he got to me he looked down (I was 5 feet 9 inches at that time), examining me carefully, looking… Continue reading →

Smiley: Literal bucket list

Chick St. Germaine, of Harahan, tells this “bucket list” story: “In 2006, my nephew Randy had a lady friend, Michelle, who was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal brain cancer. Her one last wish was to be able to milk a cow. Uncle Chick was called to solve this request. “God bless and… Continue reading →

Smiley: Werewolf? There wolf!

Richard Fossey, a professor at UL-Lafayette, tells of getting into a big argument with his family about the proper way to spell the French name for a Cajun werewolf: “Some argued that the word is ‘rougarou,’ and others said it should be spelled ‘loup-garou.’ “I’ve forgotten how we wandered onto this topic, but the discussion got pretty… Continue reading →

Smiley: Other victims

Sidney Vallon offers this Katrina anniversary thought: “During this week of endless reminders in all levels of media of the Lower 9th, may I remind everyone that thousands of people (including me) in Mississippi and coastal Louisiana, where The Storm actually struck, lost everything? “We were the victims of a devastating and unavoidable natural disaster,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Not ever lost

Dear Smiley: At the risk of starting a new subject for your readers (men who never ask for directions): I recently traveled from Florida to New Orleans and stopped at the Alabama welcome station to stretch my legs. At the map/information desk was an elderly man talking to the young lady working the desk.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Disturbing quiet

For the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, here’s a column item about its aftermath, written on Oct. 26, 2005, titled “Vieux CarrĂ© without noise an eerie place:” “‘It’s the quiet that bothers me,’ she said. “She had returned to her apartment on New Orleans’ Royal Street, above an antiques shop, to pack a few things needed at… Continue reading →

Smiley: A time of tears

To remind me (and possibly you) of the emotions we shared at that time, here’s part of a column dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, from Sept. 8, 2005, titled, “Finally, tears for a beloved old town:” “A week after the storm, my wife finally cried. “She had been busy… Continue reading →

Smiley: A decade ago

I’ve resisted saying anything about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, because everyone in reach of a keyboard seems to be weighing in on the subject. But I finally succumbed, and dug out some columns I did just after New Orleans went under. I thought I was well over the sadness… Continue reading →

Smile: Take that, coach!

High school football season is also high school band season, and Jack V. Story, of Denham Springs, a retired band director, kicks off both seasons with a gentle gigging of his former colleagues of the athletic persuasion. He says one of his favorite lists is “Things you will probably never hear a high… Continue reading →

Smiley: Spaced out

Dear Smiley: Your recent mention of a UFO brought to mind my days as a cub reporter at The Morning Advocate in the late 1960s. One night a call came into managing editor Ed Price from a guy who said a UFO was hovering over his house. Ed ordered… Continue reading →

Smiley: Lonely Marine

Here’s story to show that not all casualties of war are on the battlefield: When Earl Newman saw the name in the obituary, he knew it was a guy he had grown up with in north Baton Rouge in the ’50s and ’60s. They parted ways when Earl was at Istrouma… Continue reading →

Smiley: Heartbreaking Saints

My Fearless Football Forecast for the New Orleans Saints has become an annual tradition, despite protests from readers. Except for that one glorious Super Bowl year, the Saints have a way of breaking your heart. And this year is no exception. I hope I’m wrong with this year’s prediction. And you can take… Continue reading →