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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: 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 →

Smiley: A small kindness

Sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can have a big impact: Tom Cagley tells of going to the post office on Perkins Road to mail a present to his granddaughter in Virginia. He also asked the clerk for a sheet of stamps. Says Tom, “After I bought the stamps, I motioned the lady… Continue reading →

Smiley: Brazil North

Dear Smiley: We had two young ladies from Brazil visiting us last weekend. They are camp counselors in the Houston area for the summer. We enjoyed pointing out the similarities in our cultures: They grow sugar cane over there, play soccer, etc. I even noted their fondness for rice and served them jambalaya.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Don’t fool Tigers!

Mickey adds to comments on the wearing of LSU gear: “Years ago at the airport in Milan, Italy, my son, wife and I were leaving the terminal when I noticed a gentleman heading in the opposite direction decked out in his LSU shirt and hat. “As he was passing through an automatic glass door I… Continue reading →

Smiley: See how they grow

Charmian Kendrick says, “Reading your items on ‘horse pies’ brought to mind a story about my sister. “Our granddad raised vegetables in Kent, England, and we often visited him (we lived in London). “My grandfather would take his cart and shovel and remove horse manure from the road. “On one visit in… Continue reading →

Smiley: Geography lesson

Kim “Pops” Seago, of Columbia, Tennessee, says reading our stories about hitchhiking remind him of this “SHOULD have hitchhiked” incident: “My son John, after graduating from Walker High School, enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, for job training. “One Saturday, the trainees were given… Continue reading →

Smiley: Wise beyond his years

Judy S. Collins tells of an especially precocious child: “Beau Collins, 8 years old, talking about his 1-year-old brother, said, ‘Mom, James is trying to get your coffee, but I told him you don’t want to know what her day would be like without that.’” Gloria Plauche says, “While visiting New… Continue reading →

Smiley: World’s bravest husband

Dear Smiley: After reading some of the stories about telemarketers, I had to write you about my experience. Late one afternoon, I got a call, and right away I knew what it was. I was in the middle of fixing dinner and told the young lady (if you could call her that) I… Continue reading →

Smiley: Everybody knows Tigers

Helen Rankin, who just returned from a 21-day trip to Alaska, says she found that wearing your school colors is a great way to get a conversation started and meet new people: “Everywhere I went, even in the Yukon Territory, people would say ‘Geaux Tigers!’ when I had on my LSU jacket or shirt. “As… Continue reading →

Smiley: Kids in the car

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, recalls the days when he took his kids on vacation in the car and these parental remarks on every trip: “Don’t make me stop this car!” “One more argument and we’re going back home!” “I told you to go to the bathroom before we left!” “No, we’re not… Continue reading →

Smiley: Are you bona fide?

The precautions taken by banks and businesses to avoid identity theft have led to some interesting situations, as readers have pointed out: “Several years ago, I used the ATM at my bank in Baker to make a withdrawal of $100. “Apparently, two of… Continue reading →

Smiley: Love beats smoking

Dear Smiley: Your recent articles on Father’s Day brought back a memory over 50 years old. My father did not have much education, yet he and my mother raised three girls, who never realized they were poor. Dad’s last job was as night manager at Pennyland in New Orleans. He made $50… Continue reading →

Smiley: Why we “fledge”

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, tells an Independence Day story about an independent thinker: “Her daughter’s first-grade teacher summoned my sister, Barbara. “It seemed my niece, Carrie, was refusing to join the class in the Pledge of Allegiance. “When Barbara questioned her about this, Carrie fiercely declared that a ‘fledge’ was a very serious promise,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Reluctant driver

Winston Day tells this story: “Bill O’Quin and I grew up on Eugene Street across from Baton Rouge High. In our early teens, we walked to the corner at North Boulevard to catch a city bus to the old Baton Rouge Junior High. But we did our best to save our tokens, so often we would… Continue reading →

Smiley: Language barrier

Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, has come up with a way to deal with the bottom-feeders of the marketing world: “My wife says I’m rude when I hang up on telemarketers. “So recently, when I received a call from one, I answered him in French. “He suddenly said, ‘Stop mister, stop mister! Is there anyone… Continue reading →

Smiley: Good times and Jell-O

Jenny made her last visit to Baton Rouge’s Westmoreland Piccadilly on Friday, before it closed Sunday after 55 years: “As I waited in line, a gentleman, Mr. George, told the staff that his son, as a child, wanted to ride on the belt behind the ‘dirty dishes window.’ “I told Mr. George that before I… Continue reading →

Smiley: The $10 adventure

Parker St. Amant, of Lafayette, says, “Back in 1936, my 16-year-old brother Ceeps was hitchhiking all over the country with his best buddy, Charles MacMurdo. “He decided to hitchhike to San Francisco before school started, but Charles didn’t want to make that trip. “To my utter amazement he asked me (his 13-year-old baby brother) if… Continue reading →

Smiley: Otis says thanks

Dear Smiley: Otis, the little orange kitten who was hitchhiking on Airline in front of Costco one Thursday afternoon, asked me to thank all the nice drivers who were willing to bring southbound Airline Highway to a momentary stop while his new friend ran to pick him up. Otis is recovering from his facial injuries… Continue reading →

Smiley: Home of healthy rodents

Patricia Alba, of Metairie, tells of the time she had “a delightful meal plus a floor show.” She explains: “In the ’60s, as a state health educator on assignment in Lafayette, I went for an early dinner to a restaurant on the bayou. “I spied a small mouse foraging among the vacant tables. “Informing the… Continue reading →

Smiley: Take that, meanie!

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, recalls the gas shortage days in the late ’60s-early ’70s: “People would be lined up around the block to fill their tanks, and sometimes the station would run out before you got your turn. Some stations posted a $5 minimum purchase to keep people from ‘topping off’ a nearly full tank. “I… Continue reading →