Wayne Weilbaecher, of Covington, says back in the ’50s, when he was dating the young lady who became his wife, “her family was celebrating their new purchase — a TV set.

“My best friend and I decided to go see what the fuss was all about, and hoped to get asked to dinner.

“Arriving at their house, we found everyone glued to this little box, ignoring our entrance completely. When we left the room for dinner, my friend stayed behind with the father.

“Within a few minutes, he came into the kitchen with this worried look and told us the old man was acting very strange while looking at a Western on TV. He was cursing and pulling on ropes — just like the stagecoach driver.

“We ran to the living room, and there he was, pulling on two ropes.

“The family started laughing, and explained that this was a contraption he made for the TV antenna, on a pole outside the window.

“He spent most of his time outside adjusting the antenna, missing his Westerns. So he rigged up two ropes, put two holes in the wall by the TV, and pulled them to move the antenna and correct the picture or change channels. He never had to leave his chair.”

Sadly, Wayne says the father never received any compensation for inventing the first remote control...

The Metairie outback

George McLean says, “One Saturday morning I went to Rouse’s Market on Power Drive in Metairie, just off I-10, and saw a crowd around the entrance.

“I thought they might be picketing the store, but soon realized there were no signs, and they were smiling.

“I learned that they were tourists from Australia whose bus had broken down.

“I suggested to one of them that he go inside and get some free ice cream samples — but he said he’d wait until noon, when the wine tasting started.

“It seems the driver was not aware of the widely-publicized closing of part of I-10 in the city, and had gotten lost.

“Their humor was good, because they had a restroom available and lounged on the lawn furniture display.

“My daughter went there around 5 p.m., and said they were standing around eating and enjoying their wine while chatting with locals.

“Some of the staff said it got a little wild at times. They finally left sometime after 5:30.

“I’m sure some people in Australia will get to hear the name Rouse on their return.”

Just you wait

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, says the urge to raid plum trees must be in the DNA of Southern lads.

Like a previous reader, he tells of attacks on plum trees to steal the fruit:

“Usually we’d jump the gun and end up with green ones —sometimes very bitter green ones.

“I was shocked one day while walking along the fruit-and-vegetable aisle at our A&P store to see these reddish-purple things called plums. It hit me that that’s what they end up looking like, if allowed to fully ripen.”

One and done

“Just Lois,” of Plaquemine, says, “When I was young and on my first job, a few of us went to eat lunch at a nearby cafe.

“Most of the girls smoked, so I went prepared with my pack of Picayunes.

“After eating we all smoked a cigarette. Picayune was so strong for the first cigarette (for anybody) that I went to the restroom and up came my lunch.

“Needless to say, that was my last cigarette. That was 62 years ago.”

Creative haggling

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says he recently got a phone call offering a free personal alarm system and $3,000 worth of coupons:

“Having not a lot to do nowadays, I sometimes play along with these unwanted calls. After listening to the spiel, I told the caller to just send the free stuff.

“To no surprise, I’m told that I must sign up for a couple of years of monitoring at $36 per month to get the freebies.

“For some reason, the salesperson hung up when I made him a counter offer of four free tires with the purchase of a car for $20,000.”

The Thibodeaux Plan

David Grouchy, of Covington, tells this story:

“Boudreaux was complaining about paying taxes, and Thibodeaux said, ‘I know how they could fix the whole thing.’

“Boudreaux, unconvinced, said, ‘How?’

“Thibodeaux responded, ‘Where do all the dollars, quarters and other money come from?’

“‘The Treasury Department prints the paper money and mints the hard money.’

“‘And the Treasury Department is part of the government, right?’

“‘That’s right, Thibodeaux.’

“‘So we get money from the government, then they take a chunk of it back?’

“‘Right.’

“‘So when they print the money, they should keep a chunk of it, give us the rest and leave us alone. Then they could get rid of all the IRS people and save a lot of money for stuff the government could be doing if they had more money.’”

Contact 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.