Dear Smiley: Sometimes grandkids see their grandparents in a different light.

While on vacation in Orange Beach, my two grandsons, Jacob and Wyatt, and I were swimming in an indoor pool.

We were the only ones at that time of the morning.

Later, a lady came in and started swimming on the other side from us.

Now, this lady was about 8 to 10 years younger than me.

Jacob noticed her and came swimming up to me with the most puzzled look on his face.

He asked incredulously, “Paw-Paw, they let OLD people in this pool?”



A sign is born

Dear Smiley: A bit of history about Baton Rouge’s Third Street Coca-Cola sign, and a thank you to the Arts Council (the sign’s current owner) from the Roland T. Lorio family.

The sign was built and erected by Super Neon, a company that would later become the neon division of Lamar Advertising.

Super Neon, owned by Stanley Babin and Leo Mclin, was located on Live Oak and North streets, across from historic Roselawn Cemetery.

My grandfather, Roland T. Lorio, built the original sign with the help of Richard Landry in the ’50s.

Kathy Lorio, Roland’s daughter, says one of her favorite memories growing up in Baton Rouge was riding around with my grandfather looking at the signs he built.

More information can be obtained from Charlie Lamar at Lamar Advertising.



Duffer in danger

Dear Smiley: While in law school, I decided to take up golf. I might as well have chosen ballet. I was terrible.

Revered law professor Wex Malone struck fear in my heart the first week or so of class.

One day he asked the class, “If you were to hit a golf ball into my yard, can you come into my yard to retrieve your ball?”

Then he said, “Mr. Watts?”

I will not humiliate myself here by repeating my embarrassing attempt at an answer.

A couple of years later, I swung off the third tee at City Park, fully expecting my usual short slice, but was surprised to see a long shot straight down the fairway, parallel to East Lakeshore Drive.

As I continued to follow the ball, I realized it had begun to bounce gradually to the left.

Recalling that the Malone home was in that vicinity, I started calculating the odds and said, “No way.”

To my shock and dismay, the ball bounced across the street and into Wex’s yard.

I chose to enter his front yard and hurriedly retrieve my ball.

Sometime thereafter, I noticed Wex standing outside the back door of the Law School and told him my story.

He laughed and said in his gravelly voice, “I wish I’d caught you. I would have kicked your butt.”


Baton Rouge

The hayride man

Dear Smiley: I’m going to miss John Maginnis. He, as the British would say, was a man of parts.

I knew him as a neighbor, from walks around the LSU lakes and from casual interactions.

I would kid him from time to time about Louisiana politics.

He had promised me that we would see the “Last Hayride” in Louisiana politics.

He took the chiding in good humor, explaining to me that Louisiana had the most entertaining politics in America, even if it is no longer the greatest free show on earth.

John was a brilliant man and an exquisite writer. He was humble, gracious and funny. Not attributes often found in politics anywhere.

He made the hayride more enjoyable for us all.



History lesson

Dear Smiley: My father told me that he and my mother were in the same history class at LSU.

The professor told them that, as a result of the great Irish immigration, the people of Louisiana, who were principally rice eaters, began to raise and eat a lot more potatoes than they had in the past.

A few days later, he asked, “What do we have a lot more of now than we used to have, as a result of the Irish immigration?”

And my mother answered, “Policemen.”


Friendswood, Texas

Half measures

Dear Smiley: Your story about the lady cutting her half of the bush reminds me of a similar one:

Two hunters came out of the woods about a mile from their car.

One said to the other, “There’s no reason both of us have to walk the mile to the car. You walk the first half and I’ll walk the second.”



Dear T.J.: There’s an Aggie joke in there somewhere. …

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.