Dear Smiley: Back in the mid-1960s, I was an aspiring sportswriter for the New Orleans States-Item.
One Saturday, I was riding up to Baton Rouge to help cover an LSU football game with Peter Finney — the States-Item’s lead sports columnist — and Buddy Diliberto, at that time one the top sportswriters for The Times-Picayune.
Buddy was driving at a pretty good clip down Highland Road (there was no Interstate 10), carrying on a very animated discussion with Peter, who also was hunting and pecking away (left and right index fingers only) on a portable typewriter sitting in his lap.
The more animated the discussion (it was probably about Charley Mac), the faster Buddy drove and the more he kept turning his head toward Peter to emphasize point after point.
All of sudden, I yelled “Look out!” from the back seat, as we went into a sharp bend in the road far too fast.
Buddy hit the brakes and turned the steering wheel as hard as he could to keep from running off the road.
Since this was before seat belts, Peter and I went with the momentum of the turn.
However, the major casualty was his Monday column.
You see, the typewriter carriage flew out of the open passenger window (no air conditioning) on to Highland Road, never to be seen again.
From then on, when we would drive on Highland Road to cover a game, Peter would always remind Buddy to slow down at “Typewriter Bend.”
Dear Smiley: Gary Barnett was the head coach of the “Cinderella” Northwestern University football team that won the Big Ten title in 1995 and played in the Rose Bowl.
In his book describing his years at Northwestern (“High Hopes,” written in 1996), he discusses the 1992 game against Michigan.
When the game was over, only one of the Michigan coaches would shake his hand.
That coach was Les Miles.
Tears of pride
Dear Smiley: On September 11, our 4-year-old great-granddaughter Madelyn stopped at our home after school to show us (me and “Paw Donald”) what Mrs. Summer, her pre-K teacher, taught them.
Madelyn, standing straight, placed her right hand over her heart and with perfect diction recited The Pledge of Allegiance.
Being both patriotic and proud great-grandparents, we both shed tears of joy.
Dear Smiley: Reading about hummingbirds, I think of sitting on my back porch with my wife and watching those little things protecting their “pantry.”
One will sit on the clothesline and watch for any intruders that come along.
When one does come by for a nip, he will attack like an F-18, although they are really more like a Harrier jump-jet, as they have the ability to hover in place.
It is always entertaining to watch their antics, and sometimes they fly very close to us. Be ready to duck at all times.
Dear Smiley: You know you’ve been around the block a few times when most of the folks listed in the paper’s “celebrity birthdays” are younger than you.
Worst of all is that you don’t know who the heck these famous younger people are!
Dear Smiley: Driving on Interstate 65 through Alabama, I passed a Dole tractor-trailer truck.
It just so happened that I noticed the exit we were coming to was for a town called Pine Apple!
How about that for a cute coincidence?
Dear Marvin: I thought you were putting me on, but I checked and found there is indeed such a town, southwest of Montgomery and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
Tale of two birds
Dear Smiley: I recently saw a restaurant advertising “Poe Boys.” Kind of wondered if the sandwich featured fried ravens. To which I would say, “Nevermore.”
As for hummingbirds being the chihuahuas of the bird world, I may be the hummingbird of the human world, as I am small and fast with an attitude.
I refuse to be a chihuahua, as my eyes don’t bug and I do not yap constantly.
2B or not 2B
Dear Smiley: I have read your column for over 25 years, and this is the first time I have ever found you “continued” on the page with the obituaries.
This is scary! We want you in the “here and now,” and look forward to reading your continued column on page 2B, where it should be!
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.