Dear Smiley: My first-graders at St. Luke’s Episcopal Day School never let me forget that we live in Louisiana.

On Columbus Day, I was explaining that Christopher Columbus was looking for an easier route to bring back spices.

As I explained that spices are things like cinnamon and pepper, Emily’s hand went up and she added “Tony’s!”

I had to think for a moment, then Carrington added, “You know, Mrs. Craig, Tony Chachere’s, for your food.”

This week, we talked about how silent “e” changes vowel sounds from short to long.

I showed the word “date” on a chart. As I began to cover up the “e,” I said, “Oh, ‘dat’ is really not a word.”

Kate Rose raised her hand and said, “Yes it is. It is like ‘Who Dat?’ for the Saints!”

You would never have these responses anywhere but in Louisiana!


Baton Rouge

What’s your priority?

Dear Smiley: A family member was visiting us from New York City and was delayed in returning home due to Superstorm Sandy.

We had many discussions about the “important things in life.” So I had to share this quote from his latest email:

“Here’s my tongue-in-cheek ‘question of the day’ for my Louisiana buddies. If you could change one of these two things, which one would it be: Romney’s loss to Obama, or LSU’s loss to Alabama?

“That’ll keep their heads spinning for days. …”


Baton Rouge

Doing the crawl

Dear Smiley: I recently heard from my Aunt Frankie in New Orleans about a “porch crawl” for folks in the area around Bienville Street.

It’s their yearly fundraiser, and a different type of social, like a “progressive dinner.”

They met at Mick’s Irish Pub, and groups walked to five different homes for refreshments in the yards or on the porches.

Many young people wore costumes, and different restaurants furnished the food.

This “porch crawl” sounds right up your alley! Maybe we could do one for five different po-boy shops: start at Mother’s, then to Parasol’s, next to College Inn, Deanie’s and end at Central Grocery!


Baton Rouge

Dear Keith: I like it, but we’d have to call it something else. How about “The Heartburn March”?

Memory Lane

Dear Smiley: Reading about long-ago great places like Joe D’s, Romano’s and Bernard’s reminded me of a few more, like the original Tony’s Do-Nut Shop for doughnuts that coated the roof of your mouth (in a good way), the fabulous biscuits at Mae’s Cafe and the red beans and rice with sausage at Chris Bar.

On some days at Chris, you could sit next to Buckskin Bill, Sid Crocker and the Ol’ Beachcomber, Bob Scearce.

Plus there were large frosty schooners of root beer.

My mouth’s watering at the memories.


Cajun émigré

Portland, Ore.

Memory Lane II

Dear Smiley: The stories about B. Bennett jeans brought back memories.

In the late ’70s, not long after opening my own business, I went to a wrecking yard on U.S. 190 to pick up a customer’s car.

It was a Saturday morning, and the mechanic was busy working on a Buick station wagon. Used parts were spread over the bench in front of the car, and it still wasn’t starting.

I asked if he had tried a rotor. He replied, “Nah, it’s not the rotor.”

The car owner asked him to try the part I suggested; he did, and the car started.

The owner of the car introduced himself: Mr. Bennett, owner of B. Bennett Co., and asked for my name and address.

Later that week I received a B.B. shirt in the mail; a treasured gift and a good memory.


Baton Rouge

The famous smiley

Dear Smiley: An Advocate’s “Today in History” said that on Sept. 19, 1982, the smiley emoticon was invented, “as Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman proposed punctuating humorously intended computer messages by employing a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a horizontal ‘smiley face’: :-).”



Not sold in stores!

Dear Smiley: One night while lying in bed, my wife saw a mosquito on the wall, and told me to get my homemade fly swatter and kill it.

After I killed it, she told me I should start a fly swatter business. I agreed, and after some thought I came up with a good TV commercial:

I will sell fly swatters for $19.95 each — but if you order NOW I will send you TWO fly swatters for the price of one.

I will also send you absolutely FREE a dozen live mosquitoes to use for target practice.

When I told my wife of my idea, she laughed so hard she almost fell off the bed.



Dear Tom: Nice idea — but you can’t do a TV infomercial without yelling, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!”

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.