About two weeks ago, says Eugene Cosnahan, of Baton Rouge, he and his wife visited the Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 59, “not too far from Tuscaloosa.

“I went inside and complimented the attendant on the facility’s cleanliness and neatness. As we were about to leave, my wife, more observant than I, commented on the presence of dozens of newly planted pansies — in LSU colors of purple and gold.

“I just had to go back in and thank them for paying LSU (a son’s alma mater) such a thoughtful compliment.

“The attendant seemed taken aback, but recovered to state she would tell the person responsible for the landscaping.

“As I turned to leave, the attendant had her elbows on her desk, with her face buried in her hands.

“Less than a week later we were at the same welcome center, and would you believe all the flower beds were totally empty; not a sprig, not a petal to be seen...”

Make Mom ecstatic

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, you’re no doubt wondering what to get that sweet lady. And what better way to honor Mom than by presenting her with a silly book (or two)?

As it happens, I’ll be offering my silly books, “Best of Smiley” and “Smiley! A Laughing Matter,” Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Baton Rouge’s famed Red Stick Farmer’s Market at Main and N. 5th.

Mom will no doubt be thrilled to read the world’s worst Cajun jokes, puns and Tom Swifties, plus such exciting stories as the one about how I got my tattoo.

No need to thank me: public service is my life...

Nostalgia Corner

News of the possible demolition of the old Wyandotte School in north Baton Rouge brought back fond memories for a former student, an 88-year-old who says, “I can’t sign my name because I cheated at marbles.”

The marbler-cheater recalls the maypole and hopscotch games at the school; the ruler wielded by Mrs. Watson, the third grade teacher; penny candy at the nearby grocery store, and lifting little pieces of chalk from the school to draw hopscotch lines.

Cheesy advice

After comments about the macaroni and cheese at Chalmette’s legendary Rocky & Carlo’s restaurant, we heard from Mary Vernoy, of Metairie:

“You can Google ‘Rocky & Carlo’s mac and cheese recipe.’ There’s even a YouTube video showing how to make it.”

Good Samaritans

Gloria C. Jordan, of Denham Springs, offers “huge thanks from the heart to the angel who used her jacket to shelter my husband, Carrol Jordan, then called 911, when he fell in the parking lot of the bank at Swamp Road and Airline. He is fine now, and the sweet lady’s jacket is with bank employees.”

The non-king

Ronnie Stutes says, “Readers of the story on second-born British royals in Sunday’s Advocate may find that the picture identified as ‘King George VI’ shows the king as more dashing than other pictures of him.

“The picture is actually of Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s husband, taken as he meets the Beatles in 1965.”

Special People Dept.

— Sharon Callahan, of Baker, says her uncle, Louis Spino, from Ohio, celebrated his 90th birthday last weekend with a trip to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans: “He is a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient who entered the Army at 18 and landed in France on D-Day Plus 2. To visit the museum was a great experience.”

— Tommie and Juanita Pewitt, of Metairie, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, April 30.

Kissing cowboy

Darron Sanchez has another Roy Rogers story:

“In 1957 the cowboy movie star boated down the Mississippi to New Orleans, stopping along the way to greet people gathered near the shore.

“My aunt, Ann Hymel Sanchez, took my grandmother, Delia Sanchez, of White Castle, to the ferry landing to wait for Roy.

“They were the only two standing there when they saw Roy and started waving. He jumped out of the boat, hugged my grandmother and kissed her cheek.

“She talked about this for a long time...”

Fighting words

“During the ’70s and ’80s several groups from the New Orleans area attended the Kentucky Derby,” says Wayne Krause.

“Everyone congregated in the Brown Derby Room (aka ‘the New Orleans Room’) in the clubhouse.

“To access the men’s room, you passed the ladies’. On Derby Day the ladies were stacked in a line that moved very slowly.

“When passing, I said to all how pretty they and their hats looked.

“When leaving a near-empty men’s room shortly thereafter, I commented, ‘Bet you wish you were a man today.’

“Their response was immediate. Some bolted into the men’s room, some laughed, some glared and some were very unladylike in their comments.”

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.