Gene Dartez says, “My wife and I, on a trip to the ‘Far Nawth,’ rendezvoused for a few days in St. Ignace, Michigan, with Art and Mary Ordoyne, who were making a similar journey.

“My wife is a Texas gal, I’m a Cajun boy transplanted to Texas and back, Mary is a lifelong Baton Rougean, and Art was born and raised in Chackbay.

“After a hard day of touring we found a little cafe called Java Joe’s. This was a wonderful little local place, staying open late just for us.

“We began looking over the menu, lightheartedly kidding with the waitress while trying to settle on something with local flavor.

“After a few minutes of that, a woman (who happened to be the proprietor) came out of the kitchen, pulled a chair up to our table and turned it around, sat down, leaned on the back of it and said, ‘Now talk; I want to hear you talk.’”

Do the right thing

Alex and Cecelia Welch, of Osyka, Mississippi, tell us this final possum story:

“We raised our two children in Baton Rouge many years ago. When we went on our yearly vacation, the neighbors took care of our cat and my parents kept our dog.

“On arriving home, our 4-year-old called his grandfather to check on the dog, Princess. Paw Paw told him the dog had been promoted to a mighty hunter. We were informed that Princess had chased a possum out of the yard, and one of her babies had fallen out of her pouch.

“The grandfather was headed to the back yard to ‘knock it in the head’ and dispose of the body when our little one indignantly informed him that since our dog had caused this catastrophe, we were ‘morally responsible’ and needed to take the little creature home with us.

“For the next 4 months,” says Cecelia, “I was responsible for fixing bottles for our new family member. She was christened Pauline and was neither real pretty nor very smart.

“When I consulted George Felton at the Baton Rouge Zoo to see if she could move there, he said she should have been weaned at six weeks, and could not live at the zoo until she learned to eat raw chicken livers!

“She never did (they were disgusting looking), but made her home in the bedroom closet until romance (or the lack thereof) drove her to search out a more possum-friendly environment.

“Moral obligations should not be defined by your 4-year-old!”

Feeding the hungry

Steve Liuzza, of Doraville, Georgia, says the possum song mentioned by a reader is no doubt “Five Pounds of Possum,” written by Timothy W. White and recorded by many entertainers, including Leroy Troy, the VW Boys with Tater Tate, the Troublesome Hollow Band, the Brazos River Pickers and (my favorite name) the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band.

It opens with:

“My children are hungry, my dog needs a bone.

I’m out of a job now, so I’m just drivin’ home.

An hour after sundown, when what to my delight,

There’s five pounds of possum in my headlights tonight.”

The chorus is:

“There’s five pounds of possum in my headlights tonight.

If I can just run him over, everything will be all right.

We’ll have some possum gravy, oh what a beautiful sight;

There’s five pounds of possum in my headlights tonight.”

“No problem” problem

Lisa Bezet says, “When I read a recent complaint from another reader about young people using adults’ first names as a greeting, it reminded me of the current use of ‘No problem’ as a response to ‘Thank you’ instead of ‘You’re welcome.’

“The response of ‘No problem’ implies that whatever is being appreciated with thanks is actually an insignificant thing which required no extra effort or trouble on the giver; so therefore, perhaps no thanks are needed.

“Telling someone ‘You’re welcome’ means the giver was happy to have done the person a good deed or service. Whenever I am told ‘No problem,’ I wonder what problem I might have almost caused.

“I’m an English teacher, so maybe I am being too picky! At least the person did respond to my thanks.”

Targeting the selfish

Cy Dearie, of Metairie, a retired Navy captain, comes out with all guns blazing:

“I am 83, grouchy and resentful of selfish, physically healthy people who don’t give a damn for anyone but themselves!

“To raise funds, hire ‘meter maids’ for major malls. ENFORCE ticketing and fines for illegally parked cars and drivers who use ‘handicapped reserved’ spaces.”


Gene Duke offers this treatise on the culinary virtues of our favorite marsupial:

“In a coffee room discussion of recipes for cooking wild animals, the speaker noted that possum cooked with Irish potatoes was hard to beat.

“In unison, several participants said, ‘No, you cook them with sweet potatoes.’

“In response, the speaker said, ‘I said Irish potatoes on purpose, because I wanted to know how many of you had really eaten possum.’”

Contacting Smiley

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.