Smiley: Grandpa’s lament

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, reflecting on his status as a senior citizen, has come up with “Ten things Grandpa doesn’t want to hear from Grandma:” 1. “You having ANOTHER beer?” 2. “Put your teeth in.” 3. “Is your hearing aid on?” 4. “Come let me get the hair out of your ears.” … Continue reading →

Smiley: ‘Recovering Yankee’

Kelan Madore, of Metairie, joins our conversation about folks who make their way down here from the Frozen Nawth: “Harriet St.Amant recently wrote of two types of Yankees — Yankees and Damn Yankees — prompting me to interject that there is a third — ‘Recovering Yankee.’ (I believe she may qualify. Of course, it would take … Continue reading →

Smiley: State book blues

The bill to make the King James version of the Bible the state book of Louisiana, filed by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, has been getting a lot of attention — but perhaps not the kind he hoped for. Many readers, with tongues firmly in cheeks, nominated other works for the official state book — with “A Confederacy … Continue reading →

Smiley: Dad was a gunslinger

Melba Thibodeaux, of Opelousas, has a tale of a misheard message: “My husband, Howard, has been retired from Schlumberger Well Services for many years, but while employed there he was sent on ‘hotshots.’ “Hotshots are expedited delivery runs of oilfield equipment from one location to another. “On one such occasion, the company dispatcher called … Continue reading →

Smiley: No rest for the retiree

Dear Smiley: Family and friends, concerned about my lack of energy, constantly urge me to “get out more” since I retired. Frankly, I don’t understand their concern. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t “get out” to see my internist, urologist, gastroenterologist, dermatologist, oncologist, dentist, pharmacist or whateverelseist. I daily check … Continue reading →

Smiley: Rockin’ the gumbo

Keith Horcasitas recalls his “stone gumbo” and its one small problem: In the mid-’90s, he says, when he worked at Baton Rouge General, “Our case management department wanted us to do a different kind of potluck meal.” He recalled the old story about stone soup: “It’s a story about hungry travelers who go door to … Continue reading →

Smiley: One special server

Richard Fossey tells how a personable server can turn a restaurant visit into a special occasion — and give you a great story to boot: “Many years ago, my wife and I went with friends to have dinner at Phil’s Oyster Bar on Government Street. “I recall it was a Friday during Lent. I was … Continue reading →

Smiley: Dirty talker!

Tommy Watts brings up one of my pet peeves — businesses that make you talk to machines rather than people: “In an attempt to purchase tickets to a concert at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, I telephoned a well-known ticket purchasing service, whereupon I commenced communication with a ‘machine lady.’ “I chose the ‘more … Continue reading →

Smiley: Title says it all

As you might have read or heard, our legislators have paused from their efforts to keep us safe from alcoholic ice cream and Charles Darwin to ponder the need for an official state book. They seem to favor the Bible, possibly because it’s the only book they’ve all heard of. But George Cochran suggests some other … Continue reading →

Smiley: Dead reckoning

“We love our grandkids because they’re so honest,” says John Evans, of White Castle. Two stories from John and Algie Petrere illustrate this: “One day when he was 5, looking at my collection of Model 12 Winchester pumps, he asked my … Continue reading →

Smiley: Little Mr. Sunshine

Dear Smiley: I’ve been left behind (my choice) by the Communication Generation. I don’t own my own computer. I sit in front of four flat-screen displays for nine hours a day at the workplace. The last thing I want to do is login at home. But I do have a number of friends and … Continue reading →

Smiley: His first medal

Roy Miller tells of youthful innocence and adult kindness: “Last fall, my 7-year-old granddaughter Sophia and her teammates won all their soccer games and were rewarded with medallions to hang around their necks. “As team members stood in line after the last game at the Watson fields and got their medallions, Sophia’s 3-year-old brother Gavin … Continue reading →

Smiley: Easter finery

Joe Cooper says the approach of Palm Sunday and Easter remind him of this tale he heard from the priest at St. John the Evangelist in Prairieville on Palm Sunday, 2013: “One Palm Sunday, for Mass, he wore his cardinal red robe. “He heard a young girl in the … Continue reading →

Smiley: Decline the invitation!

Perry Anderson Synder has a “Why we love grandkids” story: “Like most 5-year-olds, our grandson Anderson has begun raising questions about dying and heaven. “On this week’s after-school ‘donut date’ with his grandmother, he asked her, ‘Nini, when will you go to heaven?’ “Wanting to respond in a way that he would understand, Cindy said, … Continue reading →

Smiley: Call to arms

Into my “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file went Monday’s Advocate story headlined “Bill proposed to allow lawmakers to tote guns.” It reminded me of the old story about the candidate for a political office in Mississippi who was soundly trounced by his opponent. The day after the … Continue reading →

Smiley: Confused Cajun

Mike Staid says our “series of ‘language lessons’ reminds me of a close encounter with Cajunspeak: “My friend Rudy and I were going to spend the weekend at his houseboat deep in the Spillway out of Stephensville. “On a fine Saturday morning, we went to the local store to … Continue reading →

Smiley: Don’t fool the Pack Rat

Dear Smiley: Growing up in Gentilly in the ’40s, we were too poor to have a Tooth Fairy. Instead, we had the Pack Rat. He would take your tooth and leave 5 or 10 cents, and if you were lucky, a quarter. I once tried to sneak my grandmother’s dentures under my pillow, … Continue reading →

Smiley: Class act

Thomas Murrel, of Church Point, says on the Monday morning after some very rough days for the LSU baseball team — a loss to Tulane and a sweep by Florida — coach Paul Mainieri was met by two young men, seniors at Catholic High of Baton Rouge, who were to job shadow him for a day: … Continue reading →

Smiley: Whose nez is it?

Kathy Higgins, of Metairie, heard a classic Southern accent story years ago from a college student in a class she was teaching: “She was on vacation with her family in the Southwest when they stopped at a diner somewhere in Arizona for lunch. “Her dad gave the waitress an order for cheeseburgers. When asked if … Continue reading →

Smiley: Fight DWEIC!

Who says our legislators don’t tackle vital issues? Why, at this very moment, they’re pondering a matter of great importance to all of us — alcoholic ice cream. Our elected leaders are concerned that “driving while eating ice cream” may become a problem. Well, I’ve never been elected to public office, but I can … Continue reading →

Smiley: Marsha cups?

Charmian Kendrick addresses two of our recent seminar topics: misheard song lyrics and Southern accents: “Our church in London had a youth club for teenagers, of which I was a member. “We danced to 45 rpm records (I know, I am aging myself). “There was one Elvis song which we all loved — ‘All … Continue reading →

Smiley: Tooth Fairy memories

Gordon Greenwood, of Slidell, says our Tooth Fairy stories “made me realize just how much inflation has struck the Tooth Fairy. “When I was losing my teeth many years ago, the going rate was 5 cents. Then when my first son was of tooth-losing age, the rate was a dollar. … Continue reading →

Smiley: Speaking Southern

Dear Smiley: My sister swore that back in the ’60s, at the K&B at Oak and Carrollton in New Orleans, she overheard an exchange between a woman with a thick honeysuckle drawl and a confused druggist. The woman asked, “Y’all got flice water?” “Any WHAT?” replied the druggist. … Continue reading →

Smiley: Modern worship

Malcolm Wright tells of discovering a new religious sect: “The other day, Martha and I were eating breakfast at Louie’s. Several tables down from us were five young people who had just received their meals from the waitress. “Their heads were bowed, and we smiled to see so young … Continue reading →

Smiley: Wrong plastic!

Bert Dorgant adds to our seminar on the late Western Auto chain, reminding us that credit cards weren’t always as ubiquitous as they are today: “A number of years ago, several Avoyelles Parish coaches and their wives were off to New Orleans to watch the state football championships. “Needing a place to spend the night, … Continue reading →

Smiley: Speed Trap Festival?

The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee requiring Louisiana speed-trap towns to label themselves as speed-trap towns spawned this idea: Louisiana has a festival for everything else, so how about a Speed Trap Festival? It would have the usual rides (none over 25 mph, of course) and food (but not fast food), and instead … Continue reading →

Smiley: Give us a break!

Ronnie Stutes comments on a facet of the 24-hour news cycle: “I generally favor a minimum of government regulation, but after watching CNN’s continuous repetitive coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner over the last two weeks, I am now in favor of immediate imposition of strict federal controls on the use of the … Continue reading →

Smiley: No flipping trucks

While I’m now engaged in cultural enlightenment rather than news coverage, I was once a reporter and therefore feel qualified to offer this advice to those in the news business. In order to avoid repetition and save valuable space and airtime, why not just ASSUME there’s an overturned 18-wheeler on the interstate every day, and … Continue reading →

Smiley: The hunger game

Dear Smiley: With all the publicity surrounding the LSU Tiger Band’s trip to Ireland, perhaps your readers would enjoy another story of “the old days.” In 1953, the Tiger Band (90 players, 6 majorettes) rode three Greyhound buses to Gainesville, Fla., for the LSU-Florida football game. The long, hot ride was made even … Continue reading →

Smiley: Celebrity birthdays

Marsha Reichle shares these thoughts she had while reading “Today’s birthdays” in the “Today in History” column in The Advocate: “Whoa! Is she still alive?” “Huh. He is really old. No wonder he is no longer working.” “Ha! She’s older than I am.” … Continue reading →

Smiley: Recalling “Mae Day”

I’ve always rather enjoyed embarrassing my children — at Spanish Town Mardi Gras festivities, the Gridiron Show, etc. But Virgie R. Kraus, of Madisonville, reminds us that kids have a way of making their parents squirm: “Recent stories on ways to embarrass a parent reminded me of when I was in the third grade … Continue reading →

Smiley: Mom’s job

Wyn Barnett tells a story “my mother never let me live down.” “When I was in the second grade, my mother and her good friend took a course in refinishing furniture. She always adored antique furniture and was very good at refinishing and repairing it. “Their classes took … Continue reading →

Smiley: Voters strike back!

Paul Major offers this modest proposal: “With the Legislature now in session, and this being the beginning of a two-year-long election cycle, I propose we add this to the ‘There oughta be a law!’ list for them to consider: “Require all candidates to make public their home telephone numbers and the time they usually sit … Continue reading →

Smiley: What accent?

Dear Smiley: When in the Air Force in England, I got into an argument with a parachute rigger by the name of Rooney. Finally, in frustration, I said, “It’s a fact, just as sure as you’re from Brooklyn.” He replied, “It’s not a fact, just as sure as you’re from Long Island. … Continue reading →

Smiley: Honest answer

Tommy Watts says, “My grandson Connor, 9, recently presented a crisis to his household — he managed to get a marble stuck in his Nerf gun. “As his father struggled to dislodge the sphere from the weapon, he asked, ‘How did you do this?’ “Connor’s explanation was, ‘I’m young, … Continue reading →

Smiley: Laughing at politics

Sometimes all you can do about Louisiana politics is laugh — even when you feel like crying. That’s why for more than 60 years the people in the media who cover state government have put on a spoof of the folks they write or tell about every day. For a number of years, the Gridiron Show … Continue reading →

Smiley: And comics too

“People often say to me, ‘What do you old geezers do all day? Why, I’ll bet you don’t even know what day it is!’ ” says Fritz McCameron. “Well, I admit that things like hours are not always important, but days are — and I’ll tell you how I keep track of them. “I rely … Continue reading →

Smiley: Fair warning

Richard Stagnoli alerts us: “Just giving Baton Rouge a heads up on my granddaughter, Sami, who is now 5 years old. “I heard this crash come from the kitchen, so I asked her what happened. “She said that she dropped the salt grinder. “I asked if it broke. “Her response: ‘Nothing fell off.’ … Continue reading →

Smiley: You speak Southern?

Dear Smiley: Speaking of Southern accents — they had some odd ones in Lynchburg, Va. My first day calling roll, I read out each name and then looked up to attach a face to it. First one, Katherine Claire, said “K.C.” to me. Next one, Jean Davis, said “J.D.” OK, we … Continue reading →

Smiley: That’s show biz

There will be a lot of memories of the late Anne Price dredged up the next few days, so I’ll add mine to the mix. The thing I remember most fondly about the great Advocate writer was her capacity for fun, especially in the Gridiron Show, the Capitol Correspondents’ long-running roast of Louisiana politicians. (Which comes up … Continue reading →

Smiley: Think he’s a Cajun?

A reader commented on The Advocate’s story about Louisiana issuing driver’s licenses, to those who desire them, with “I’m a Cajun” below the photo. He says, “I fully support the opportunity for more funds to be given to CODOFIL to support the preservation of the French language in Louisiana. “I … Continue reading →

Smiley: The Great Flood

This is one of our stranger nostalgia stories: After Ray Smith, of the Hawk’s Nest, recalled a water ski show in Baton Rouge’s Memorial Stadium, I heard from a ton of readers who remembered the event. Colleague George Morris unearthed a June 7, 1970, Morning Advocate story about plans to flood the stadium for … Continue reading →

Smiley: Chatty Luis

I can relate to Ronnie Stutes’ recent experience, and maybe you can, too: “I went to the Cox website to ask a question about my Internet service. “They offered an online chat feature so I could get my answer immediately. “Here is the full transcript of my online chat with a friendly Cox representative: … Continue reading →