Dear Smiley: We had two young ladies from Brazil visiting us last weekend. They are camp counselors in the Houston area for the summer.

We enjoyed pointing out the similarities in our cultures: They grow sugar cane over there, play soccer, etc. I even noted their fondness for rice and served them jambalaya.

To further demonstrate, I took a few strands of beads and told them to say, “Throw me something, Mister!”

Then I threw the long, colorful strands of cheap beads across the room to them.

I explained, “You have samba dancers — we have jewelry!”

It seemed an apt and succinct explanation of the comparison of Mardi Gras and Carnival in Brazil.

They caught on pretty quickly. They took all this knowledge with them the next day to New Orleans and thus felt much more familiar with the local culture.

The nice pianists at Pat O’Brien’s played “Jambalaya” for them when they requested it!


New Iberia

Dear Julaine: Let’s just hope nobody spoiled their visit by mentioning the World Cup. …

Thanks, Marines

Dear Smiley: Your hitchhiking stories remind me of the late 1960s, when I was in the Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

My friend Gene Gann told me he had been fishing at the Quantico Marine base, about 30 miles from Fort Belvoir, because the fishing was better there than where we were stationed.

Neither of us had a car, so we would dress in civilian clothes, get our rods and tackle boxes, walk out to the highway and stick our thumbs out.

It never took long for kind people to stop and pick us up, usually putting us in the back seat with our fishing rods held out the windows, and frequently taking us all the way to the Marine base.

There was no ID checking at the Quantico gate, so we usually just walked from the gate to our fishing spot — frequently the Lunga Reservoir. There was never much trouble catching a ride back to Belvoir.

I never did find out how Marine Corps officials felt about two Army soldiers catching their fish.


Denham Springs

The pie servers

Dear Smiley: There were 16 seniors in our 1944 Patterson High School graduating class — 10 girls and six boys.

At noon, we all went home for dinner, but a couple of boys came back early one day, went into Mr. Glorioso’s pasture across from school, and picked out a big, fat, well-toasted cow pie.

They went to the study hall and placed the pie in the desk drawer of a girl whose name I will not reveal due to threat of bodily harm by wife if I did so. (However, I will hazard her initials, J.B.)

At 1 o’clock, a shriek could be heard throughout the school — following which our principal, Mr. Bauer, summoned the six senior boys to his office and demanded to know who was responsible. Silence!

He motioned to the strap he kept hanging on his wall. Silence!

We knew there was one thing in our favor: Mr. Bauer played cards in the room behind Daigle’s Barber Shop at 2 o’clock each afternoon.

Sure enough, at five minutes to 2, Mr. Bauer told us to get rid of that thing upstairs, and we’d meet again the next day.

He never brought it up again, but a slight smile crossed his face when we passed in the hallways thereafter.

That was 70 years ago — and J.B. is just now beginning to talk to me.



Saving General Welch

Dear Smiley: The name Jess Johnson in the column brought back memories of his friend and classmate at Baton Rouge Junior High, Jay Sanford.

Jay was at Boy Scout camp at the old Camp Istrouma when a younger Scout named Jack Welch was bitten by a venomous viper (a copperhead, I believe).

Being well prepared, Jay administered the proper first aid and Jack recovered well — so well that he became a space physicist in the U.S. Air Force and retired as Maj. Gen. Jasper A. Welch Jr.


Baton Rouge

Ending pollution ...?

Dear Smiley: I remember reading an article about the invention of automobiles.

They were excited because the automobile would mean the end of pollution (horse apples) — there would only be a little smoke.



Horsing around

Dear Smiley: Since your column seems to be going to, er, horse apples, I thought I’d share my animal story.

My husband was sent to cover the grand opening of a bank in upstate New York.

The bank was providing pony rides for children as part of the event.

The bank president led the pony to the front of the bank for his photo op.

Just as the cameras clicked, the pony made the bank’s first deposit.



Write Smiley at, by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.