Dear Smiley: While visiting at Christmas, our very observant 3-year-old great-granddaughter Kaelin spied my husband’s World War II medals.

“Paw-Paw,” she asked, “did you win first place?”

I thought he answered well when he said, “No, but our team won first place.”

FERNE UNDERWOOD

Denham Springs

Chips and dip, kid?

Dear Smiley: When a colleague found herself in a pre-holiday bind, my wife, Cindy, agreed without hesitation to tend to her precious 9-month-old.

She did so knowing she would have help; namely, our 5-year-old grandson Anderson.

All morning long, Anderson was most attentive to the little princess.

Then came mid-afternoon and a crisis of the first order: the little lady tearfully refused her bottle.

Her gallant co-caregiver quickly diagnosed the problem:

“Nini,” Anderson said, “she needs an appetizer first.”

Fortunately, she opted for her bottle before bacon-wrapped artichoke bites or sweet-and-sour shrimp crescent poppers were needed.

PERRY ANDERSON SNYDER

Baton Rouge

Meet Mr. Cool

Dear Smiley: At the department store checkout counter, the price tag was missing on one of my purchases.

I said to the man standing behind me, “I’m so sorry for the delay.”

He replied graciously, “That’s OK. I don’t get line rage.”

Four or five other customers joined me in a good laugh.

PATRICIA ALBA

Metairie

Weighty topic

Dear Smiley: After Bertha Hinojosa read Clement Moore’s poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to her students at La Belle Aire Elementary, one of the lads suggested that the jolly old elf could pull a bigger load of toys with a team of horses.

Bertha agreed that the horses might be stronger on the ground, but that Santa Clause preferred the eight tiny reindeer because they could fly; so weight was not a problem.

MARIANO HINOJOSA

Baton Rouge

Standing room only

Dear Smiley: I manage a food bank for a church in a rural community.

In order to qualify for the food assistance, persons must file an application.

One day I was helping an elderly gentleman with his application, and I asked him a standard question: “How many people in your household?”

He thought for a while, then said, “I have a small house, but I believe it would hold about 200 people if they all stand up.”

His application was approved.

J.B. LERAY

New Roads

Playing our song

Dear Smiley: Ending a two-week tour of the Atlantic provinces of Canada, my husband, son and I ate our last seafood meal at Carmen’s Diner in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

The diner’s decorations had a ’50s/’60s theme, including a tableside jukebox: two songs for a quarter.

Selections included Elvis, the Everly Brothers and others, but the first item on the list was John Fred’s “Judy In Disguise With Glasses!”

John and the song sounded great.

We can find bits of Louisiana in the oddest places.

MARY G. MCKEOUGH

Baton Rouge

Keeping secrets

Dear Smiley: Sid, our fourth-grade grandson, lost a tooth.

He has two older sisters: Anna is 13 and Sarah is 15.

That night Sid Jr. eased into his room and took care of the necessary tooth business.

The next morning, Little Sid came down to breakfast and pulled his dad aside to tell him something of great importance.

He said, “Daddy, I was awake when you came in my room. But don’t worry, I won’t tell Anna and Sarah.”

SID BOWDEN SR.

Baton Rouge

Who’s an antique?

Dear Smiley: I’m quite certain you would take great umbrage with The Advocate’s editorial staff for printing the headline “Police seek antique sign” above your photo in your column’s revered space.

Those Merry Pranksters are at it again! Then again, they can blame it on that danged shelved elf!

TERRI KARAM WILLETT

Baton Rouge

Double your fun

Dear Smiley: You better hurry back!

The New Orleans Advocate is printing “Today In History” twice a day in the same section!

This is what happens when you leave.

ALISON SCHENK

Metairie

Dear Alison: As I’ve explained before, The Advocate sometimes prints these “mistakes” just to see if our readers are paying attention. You evidently were, and for that we thank you.

Talk to Smiley

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.