Dear Smiley: In spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love — unless he is a golfer.

Then his thoughts are consumed with the Masters Golf Tournament.

To a golfer, the Masters is Mecca. To play just one round of golf on the Augusta National Golf Course is a lifelong dream.

When I was a much younger man, I had a business client in Augusta.

After befriending him, I began to pester him daily, weekly and by the month to get me on the Augusta National Golf Course.

As a community leader, surely he knew someone who was a member.

Time and again he tried to explain to me that most members did not live in Augusta. These were renowned men from all over the world.

I was relentless, and finally one day, he met me with a great smile on his face.

Triumph in his eyes, he said, “I finally got a lead; it won’t be long now. I’ve discovered that the president of Exxon is a member, and I have an Exxon credit card!”

Needless to say, I gave up. Nevertheless, as a Golden Oldie, I still dream of playing Augusta National.


Baton Rouge

Dead reckoning

Dear Smiley: Your mention of humor in obits reminded me of an obit I saw while working in Arkansas.

The Little Rock paper was one of several that allowed people submitting obits to pay extra and write whatever they wanted.

One obit mentioned what a shame it was that an elderly woman had died with county officials having never fulfilled their promise to pave her road, despite assurances that they would.

It went on to describe how dust from the gravel road would roll in as she sat on her porch in the afternoon.

I bet some county officials wished they had paved the road when that obit was published.

Another obit in the same edition talked of a woman who was survived by her 280-pound son and her 85-pound bulldog.



True brew blues

Dear Smiley: After getting out of Navy boot camp in San Diego, I was assigned to the station personnel office while waiting for a school class assignment.

Being the lowest ranking man on the totem pole, naturally I was assigned several extra duties, one of which was making the coffee.

Thinking that the normal brew was very weak, I decided to strengthen the mix with extra measures of coffee grounds.

The first one to sample the pot was the leading petty officer in the office, who also assigned all duties.

He promptly choked on the first sip, ran to a sink with the five-gallon pot and proceeded to empty the contents down the drain.

His only comment was: “Bourgoyne, don’t touch that pot again!”

Never did get a good cup of coffee in that office.



Acquired taste

Dear Smiley: After two years in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I had to carry powdered coffee with me to spruce up what passed for coffee there, I pulled into Lafayette to begin my job at USL (now UL Lafayette).

I stopped at a gas station for coffee, took a sip and said to the clerk, “Nice of you to serve me yesterday’s coffee!”

He grinned and said, “You’re not from Louisiana, are you? This is what coffee tastes like here.”

Didn’t take me long to adjust to the good stuff!



Sweet talk

Dear Smiley: I have not heard Elmer’s candy mentioned as a Southern export.

As a transplant from New Orleans, living away from the South for some years, my parents would ship my family Elmer’s candy every Easter — Heavenly Hash and Gold Brick bars.

My children, of course, acquired a taste for it, so now I ship it to them.

While working in California, my son-in-law Chris left the wrapper from one of the bars in his backpack.

When a co-worker spotted this, Chris was instantly assaulted with a desperate chorus of “Where did you get this?”

Seems the co-worker was a New Orleans transplant.

When the story was relayed to me, I just had to send some Elmer’s to the co-worker and his family.

After all, we should do what we can to relieve suffering in this world.



Stop good examples!

Dear Smiley: Please request of your readers who keep neat and uncluttered garages to close the doors.

I get enough nagging from my wife about ours, which is somewhat short of neat and uncluttered, without her having examples to point out to me.



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.