Dear Smiley: I read your “boat, car, trailer” article with some interest.

I was once the risk manager of a city that had a public boat launch.

Each time a person, boat or trailer was damaged, there was naturally a claim against the city.

I am proud to say I batted 1,000 and never paid one.

However, in the course of my investigations, I once called a state official to question him about boat launch construction.

His reply to me was, “No matter what you do, you cannot make a boat launch idiot-proof.”



Culture clash

Dear Smiley: Once when my husband and I were traveling to Colorado, we stopped overnight in Texas.

Because we were tired, we decided to have room service.

I ordered a hamburger, “dressed.”

There was a pause, and then the person said, “Uh, ma’am, what would you like it dressed in?”

When I told him that meant with lettuce, etc., he wanted to know where I was from.


New Orleans

Texas vs. Italy

Dear Smiley: Shortly after moving to East Texas, I made a trip to Chicago with a group from my new customer.

The first night there, we all went to eat at one of the finest Italian restaurants. It was so Italian that many of the servers were from the mother country.

As the server went around the table taking beverage orders, Jerry, one of the East Texans, in his best drawl requested “iiacced tay.”

Confusion filled the server’s face, and Jerry was asked to repeat the request.

Jerry: “Iiaaccced tay.”

Server: “You want asti!”

Jerry repeated: “Iiiiaaaaccced tay.”

Server: “Ah, you want sham-pag-na.”

The table erupted with laughter — and a more clear pronunciation for the server.


Tyler, Texas

Down Memory Lane

Dear Smiley: Thanks for remembering my mom, Carrie, at the Ranchero Restaurant.

She was there 11 years and made a lot of friends and helped a lot of people.

She worked long hours to provide for her three kids, and we’re all grateful for her.


Baton Rouge

Crazy days

Dear Smiley: Mother said she had already married Daddy before she realized he was crazy.

But she stuck with him and had a house full of children before they called it quits and went their separate ways.

Mother used to tell her girlfriends that she had nine kids, and they were all half Cajun and half crazy!

We all loved her (the Crazy One, too).



Hard to change

Dear Smiley: Some us remember phone booths with doors that closed for privacy.

Clark Kent could change into his Superman costume in one, or a modest lady could step in to straighten the seams in her stockings.

Wow! I just listed several obsolete things: phone booths, privacy, modesty and stockings!

I always wondered if, when Superman was done saving someone, did he find his Clark Kent suit still in the phone booth?

If not, he must have had one whale of a clothing budget.



Miss-leading sign

Dear Smiley: I just returned from a drive across Mississippi via the interstate.

There was a sign that read something like “Miss State Highway Patrol Exit 38.”

I had seen it before and wondered if it were true, so I took the exit.

Warning! You do not miss the police by taking the advice on the sign.

In fact, instead of missing them, I came upon a whole building filled with state troopers!



Squirrelly humor

Dear Smiley: One afternoon, I took a 15-minute break from exercising (I was mowing the back lawn).

As I was sitting at the kitchen counter drinking a glass of tea, I started looking at my fairly new GE refrigerator.

It brought to mind a joke about the old Westinghouse refrigerators I heard as a child.

A woman opened the door to her refrigerator and saw a little squirrel on one of the shelves.

She asked the squirrel what he thought he was doing in her refrigerator.

He then asked her if the refrigerator was a Westinghouse.

The woman said yes, it was.

The squirrel replied, “Well, I am westing.”

Corny, I know. But at least it brought a smile to my lips. I hope it brought one to yours as well.


Baton Rouge

Dear Jean: Actually, it brought more of a groan — but thanks…

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.