Dear Smiley: I am 42 years old, and while I was growing up, my friends would always comment on what a sweet lady and “Southern belle” my mother was.

Anyone who met her automatically loved her. She was perfect by Southern standards.

Well, my sweet mama was diagnosed with dementia about two years ago, and I have since learned the definition of a “Southern lady” — it is simply a lady who knows how to keep her mouth shut.

Since the dementia, my mother does not have filters. The other day, I walked in and she says, “When are you going to do something with that hair?”

Then she told my sister, who had lost about 50 pounds, that she looked sick.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at what a true Southern lady is really thinking.



Up on the roof

Dear Smiley: One last WWL radio story.

For many years, the WWL transmitter station in Kenner was at the end of Williams Boulevard and the lake, where the Pontchartrain Center is today.

My uncle, Pascal Calderera, was the maintenance man there.

As a little kid after the war, I used to spend a lot of time with him there, hunting rabbits and trapping mink and muskrats — it was still a swamp in those days.

The top of the transmitter building had a large flat roof shielded from view.

Loyola University owned the station, so some of the priests would come to sunbathe up there.

They needed Vitamin C after wearing the long cassocks of the day, so some just went au naturel.

When Moisant Airport opened the north-south runway a few years later, the occasional complaint came in, and ultimately, Archbishop Rummel stopped the practice.


Baton Rouge

Key to success

Dear Smiley: The story of the son questioning his mother about locking the keys in her car brings to mind when I locked my keys in my 2007 Mazda.

I had the spare key, but since the battery was dead, I couldn’t open the door (so I thought).

I called AAA. When the attendant arrived, I had the spare key in my hand.

He asked, “Is that your spare key?”

When I answered, “Yes, but the battery is dead,” he said, “May I have it?”

He proceeded to walk to the driver’s side and open the door by inserting the key in the lock that I was unaware was there.

I kept apologizing.

He said, “It’s no problem, ma’am; it happens all the time.”

This episode further confirmed how mind-boggling this technology era can be to an 81-year-old lady.



Local heroes

Dear Smiley: During the recent Thunderbird flyover of the Super Bowl, I learned from my son that one of the pilots was from here in Covington.

I checked it out, and sure enough, Maj. Josh Boudreaux is that guy. He is the son of George Boudreaux.

George also informed me that he has another son who also serves in the Air Force and has flown B-52s.

I congratulated George for having two such loyal American boys and asked him to thank them both for their service to our country.

It makes me proud to know that we have two such fine heroes from our local area.

Maybe you could give them a “high-five” in your column.



Dear Paul: Consider them high-fived. …

Seeing the light

Dear Smiley: I have to side with Pat Rushing concerning the northern lights in Louisiana.

On Sept. 1, 1859, there was a solar flare so intense that the lights were seen as far as Cuba and Hawaii. Telegraph service was down worldwide.

Worth a Google trip to read of this “Carrington flare.”


Tylertown, Mississippi

Banning the bop

Dear Smiley: Your recent reference to the “dirty bop” brought back an old memory.

Fifty years ago, when I was a teenager, I attended a teen hop in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Most young people were doing the twist, but one couple was dancing something slightly more suggestive.

The teen hop was sponsored by the local Lions Club; and Mr. Roper, a Lions Club member and my high school history teacher, went out on the dance floor and delivered a stern reprimand.

Mr. Roper didn’t expel the two, but he strongly warned them to choose another dance step.

After reading your column, I now realize that I had witnessed the dirty bop; and frankly, Smiley, it wasn’t really dirty.

My recollection is that it was just an exuberant variation of the twist.

So if you were kicked out of an Istrouma High School dance for doing the dirty bop, I think you were deeply wronged.


Baton Rouge

Dear Richard: Yeah, maybe I should sue for mental anguish. I’ll check my TV for a good lawyer. …

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