Dear Smiley: Your recent mention of a UFO brought to mind my days as a cub reporter at The Morning Advocate in the late 1960s.
One night a call came into managing editor Ed Price from a guy who said a UFO was hovering over his house.
Ed ordered me to investigate, and take a camera.
In the front yard of the house a guy was seated in a lawn chair, arguing with a neighbor. He pointed to a cluster of twinkling stars and said in a slurred voice, “Noo sirr! Noo sirr! Thaatt ainn’t noo staar! Thaatt’s a flyyin’ saaucer!”
Back at the office, the entire editorial staff rolled in laughter at my story, and for a long time after that, “Thaatt ainn’t noo staar” became a catch-phrase around the office for a dead-end story.
Our first ’dillo
Dear Smiley: Back in the ’50s, when I was in my teens, I had a company called Swampland Animal Exchange.
I caught and sold animals to pet stores, plus snakes to the snake farm in LaPlace and Salter’s roadside zoo in Erwinville.
In a shipment of baby deodorized skunks from an old preacher in west Texas, he included an armadillo, which broke out of his cage and was gone.
At that time there were no armadillos on this side of the Mississippi River. Two weeks later the State-Times had a picture showing an armadillo in the basement at the old Courthouse. They didn’t know what this strange animal was and where it came from.
Someone told them to go see “that boy on Park Boulevard” who had all kinds of strange animals.
Dear Smiley: In the ’50s, when I was a practice teacher at University High in Baton Rouge, one of my ninth grade English students was Liz Cole, whose father was on the faculty at LSU.
For a composition assignment, she wrote a clever story in first person, narrated by the family cat.
Also, Liz had a flair for dramatics, frequently assuming the role of “damsel in distress” in the classroom!
Years later, as Elizabeth Ashley, she distinguished herself on Broadway and in the movies.
Dear Pat: She had a great role as a martini-swigging Uptown socialite in the recent HBO series “Treme.”
Dear Smiley: Tony Falterman’s story (about wearing two different boots) reminds me of a quick comeback by another attorney who did the same thing. He proclaimed to all who quizzed him, “Yep, and I got another pair just like these back home.”
ALEX “SONNY” CHAPMAN
Agony of de feet
Dear Smiley: Reading the stories about wearing different colored shoes brought back a humorous moment.
One day my husband arrived back home from a meeting complaining that his feet hurt. When I looked down I noticed that he had not only worn one brown shoe and one black shoe, but they were on the wrong feet! Foot problem solved.
Do you think a medical degree is in my future?
Dear Cynthia: Yes. You have a real knack for podiatry...
Dear Smiley: The battle over locating a barge-cleaning facility on the Mississippi River, close to schools and homes, has been in the headlines lately.
I wonder if your readers puzzled over the odd name of the firm that plans to build the facility: Tubal-Cain Marine Services.
Tubal-Cain is mentioned in the Old Testament (Genesis 4:22): “Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools.” From that brief reference, a tradition arose that Tubal-Cain was the father of metallurgy. Not a bad name for a company that specializes in “structural, civil, marine and miscellaneous metal fabrication.”
Here endeth your Bible lesson for the day!
THE REV. SUSIE H. THOMAS
A responsible lad
Dear Smiley: When my grandson Drew was 6, he was in my niece’s wedding in Alexandria. Of course he had to wear of tuxedo.
Outside the church, before the ceremony, a friend of the family was pinning boutonnieres on all the men in the wedding. When the lady approached my grandson, he told her, “I don’t think you should do that.”
When she asked why not, he said, “This is a rental tuxedo.”
Dear Smiley: I heard these “Stop sign meanings” from Boudreaux a while back:
1. “Spin tires on pavement.” 2. “Stay ’til others pass.”
An honest man
Dear Smiley: I must say I admire your honesty. I heard your boss walked by your desk the other day and asked why you weren’t working. You said, “I didn’t see you coming.”
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.