John C. Miller says, “Like many offices, the law firm where I work does an office college bowl pool which includes 25 bowl games played after Christmas.

“One of my partners, Jennifer Hataway, had her two young daughters, Maggie (age 8) and Lindy (age 10), up at the office and I had the two girls do my bowl selections, telling them that we would share the proceeds if their picks won.

“The selection process was very technical — for example, Lindy picked Baylor to win because she has a friend by that name. Maggie picked Rice because she likes to eat rice.

“Going into the Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma Cotton Bowl game, our entry would win first place in the bowl pool if the Aggies beat Oklahoma, and I relayed that information to the girls through their mother.

“The day of the game, Jennifer was driving some girls home from soccer practice when she overheard Lindy tell one of her friends, ‘I hope A&M wins tonight, because I have money riding on that game.’ ”

Just shut up!

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, has a pet peeve I’ve heard expressed by many sports fans:

He wonders why sports announcers in football, baseball, golf and basketball are compelled to talk constantly.

He misses the good old days, “when Ray Scott, who used to do the Packer games, just gave the action.

“Having watched 273 hours of bowl games and assorted basketball action, I’m worn out with the constant drivel about players, in-laws, outlaws and the weather. But if I mute it I might miss something important.”

I agree, C.C. — I can understand non-stop talk on radio, but on TV you can see what’s going on and shouldn’t need to be told about every play over and over.

Good Samaritans

Charlene Gould says, “Monday afternoon I was riding my bicycle on Woodwick Avenue when I took a spill.

“I was a bit dazed, but I saw a vehicle go down the street and turn around.”

Seems it was a lady coming back to help. Shortly after that, another lady stopped, and the two of them made plans to get Charlene and her bike home safely, which they did.

She says, “These wonderful people were strangers to me. I’d like to thank them profusely for their incredible kindness!”

For good measure

Elise Fryou takes us on a time trip: “As a young student at Catholic High School in the mid-’50s, Roland Fryou started work for Welsh & Levy on Third Street.

Now, after 59 years in haberdashery, with Welsh & Levy and Cohn Turner, he has thrown in the shoe horn and tape measure for retirement.

“His family and friends wish him a wonderful retirement.”

Florida treat

While I never tire of bragging about Louisiana cuisine, it’s nice to point out good eating places elsewhere recommended by our discerning readers.

For instance, Walt Dawson, of Patterson, came across Skins & Bubba’s Taste of Home Family Restaurant in Chipley, Fla., north of Panama City and just off Interstate 10.

He says wife Velma and son Frank dined on catfish, fried and grilled respectively, while he had an excellent mushroom and Swiss cheese burger. All came with sides, of a down-home nature: collard or turnip greens, cheese grits, fried okra, sweet potato fries, corn nuggets, mac and cheese, etc.

Says Walt: “I have dined at several Louisiana restaurants and been quite satisfied, but none in the low- to medium-price range surpass Skins & Bubba’s.”

Good Manners Dept.

E.C. says, “Like the lady mentioned in your Monday column, I also responded to the request from fourth-graders in Aviston, Ill., for info on Louisiana.

“Sent them sugar pecans, white and brown cotton, sugar cane and pecans along with postcards, beads and many other items.

“I have sent to other schools before, but this was the first school that sent thank-you notes and pictures of their projects. How nice to take the time to do this.”

Special People Dept.

Joe and Maude Landry Amorello celebrated their 72nd anniversary Tuesday.

No laughing matter

Ardent Aggie Algie Petrere reminds us that Texas A&M’s football team had a good year:

“They beat Alabama, their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy, and they creamed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Welcome to the SEC!”

She says it’s been a while since she’s heard any Aggie jokes, and asks, “Who’s laughing now?”

In a word

Cindy Bouchie, of Pineville, says our tale about the toddler learning animal sounds “reminded me of my daughter, Katie, who is now 17.

“When she was about 2, we would ask, ‘What does a cat say?’ and Katie would respond, ‘Meow.’

“‘What does a dog say?’ Katie would say, ‘Ruff.’

“‘And what does a Katie say?’ And she would yell, ‘Mine!’ ”

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.