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 really didn’t have time to listen right now.

She answered, “Well, aren’t you a bitch!”

I was shocked, so I went outside to tell my husband (of 54 years), Manuel, what had happened.

After a short time of silence, his reply was, “I always wanted a second opinion.”

Yes, we had a good laugh over it — but I’ll never let him forget it.


Pierre Part

A newspaper family

Dear Smiley: As a young girl back home in Mississippi, the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper arrived at my house each day.

Mother trained our dog Lucky to go down the red clay hill, retrieve the paper, bring it to the house and place it on the front steps.

My grandmother would sit at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and read it from cover to cover.

Afterwards, my grandfather read it, then passed it on to Mother, who would share the “funny papers” with us kids.

When we moved to Louisiana, we subscribed to the Morning Advocate. Mother was the first to get it each morning, and we siblings all gathered round her table with a pot of coffee, ready to begin our day.

We get The Gazette here, but my favorite newspaper of all time is still The Advocate, which I read online.

I have so many good memories of family time and newspapers. And yes, I still like the “funny papers!”


Colorado Springs, Colo.

Eggs-citing discovery

Dear Smiley: Got an interesting text and photo from our son Clay in Georgia.

It seems his 7-year-old son Cade went to gather eggs for his mom.

As he walked up, he spotted a snake in the cage, eating eggs.

Brave boy that he is, he caught and killed it.

Then he proceeded to dissect it — he wanted to see the consumed eggs.

Little brother Colt ran to Mom and said, “Come quick! Cade found a snake in the chicken coop!”

When asked what kind of snake, he answered “A egg snake!”


Denham Springs

Always remembered

Dear Smiley: I enjoyed the mention of the sign “Land of the free because of the brave.”

Coincidentally, I read a story about Louis Zamperni, who died July 2, in which they quoted the letter from FDR to his family when it was thought he was dead:

“In grateful memory of First Lieutenant Louis S. Zamperini, A.S. No. 0-663341, who died in the service of his country in the Central Pacific Area.”

The message continued: “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives — in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”

It was signed, “Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States.”

I recognized the language because I see it every day over my desk at home, honoring my father, Louis Jacob Cabes, who died March 14, 1945, while flying coastal submarine hunting.



Hitching a ride

Dear Smiley: One of your readers mentioned the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner scaring their cat up the wall.

Mine had the reverse effect.

My cat Alyosha, the Russian Blue, would jump on top of my Roomba and ride around on it.

Maybe he thought it was some kind of living beast and that he was killing it. …



What’s in a name?

Dear Smiley: Whenever I hear someone complain about problems with getting their name confused with someone else’s, I want to tell them to try mine, James Johnson (Douglas is my middle name).

It did have one advantage. My first two wives were named Mary, although they weren’t called Mary.

Nevertheless, I always got a kick out of watching motel clerks give me that “Yeah, right” eye-roll when I gave our names as James and Mary Johnson.

I can’t pull that with my present wife, Irena Nicholaevna Lunova Sugakova Johnson.



Selective abstinence

Dear Smiley: At the grocery recently, I was checking out two six-packs of beer and the elderly man next in line was checking out a case of beer.

To make conversation, I told him of an old German saying, “If you have beer and wine, you don’t need alcohol.”

He then replied, “They’re right. I quit drinking alcohol years ago.”

He obviously doesn’t understand German humor.



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.