Dear Smiley: When I was elected sheriff, the youngest in the history of Louisiana at the time, I had just been sworn in and was heading to a Law Enforcement Commission meeting in New Orleans.

I was driving a brand-new vehicle with no license plate, and I had not received any registration. I had nothing like a badge or any form of identification except a driver’s license.

I was speeding and looked in my rearview mirror and noticed a State Police officer with his lights on.

I pulled to the side of the interstate and quickly walked to the vehicle to identify myself.

I said, “Hello, my name is Tony Falterman, and I am the sheriff of Assumption Parish.”

He looked at my skinny frame and long hair and said, “Yeah, and I’m Santa Claus — and you’re about to get a gift from me!”

It took a while to convince him, but after seeing the police radio in my vehicle, he let me go with a warning.

We became friends, and whenever we met, I would say, “How are you, Santa?”



Good times rolled

Dear Smiley: Growing up in the metropolis of White Castle, sometimes we had to look for nightlife elsewhere on weekends.

Usually, four or five of us guys would chip in a couple of dollars for gas and head out in my car looking for adventure and fun.

Usually on Friday night, we would go to the Club in D’ville; Saturday, we would go to Blanchard’s in Pierre Part for more good music and good times.

Sometimes a scuffle would break out, as those fellows didn’t like us out-of-town boys flirting with “their” girls.

If we had any gas and money left, we would go over to the Anchor Inn on False River on Sunday afternoon.

Whew, just thinking about those weekends back in my youth wears me out today.



Double meaning

Dear Smiley: The item about “plants” in Monday’s column reminded me of a similar mistaken definition of “plant” from a trip with my daughter, Ellen, when she was about 4 years old (a “few” years ago):

We were driving from the Sunshine Bridge along La. 70 near Donaldsonville, going home to Napoleonville.

I looked to my right and commented about how big the plants were getting (CF Industries, etc.) along the river.

From the back seat, Ellen said, “Mommy, they don’t look any bigger than the ones in our yard!”


Morgan City

For the fallen

Dear Smiley: Drivers in the Shenandoah subdivision who drive on Bluewater Drive may notice that the flag in my front yard is flying at half staff during the month of July — in memory of two of my friends killed in action in North Korea during July 1953.

My regiment was fighting in the mountains of North Korea near Christmas Hill. During June and July, there were many battles fought between the Chinese Communists and U.N. forces before the cease-fire took effect the end of July.

Many other soldiers and Marines were wounded during this time, including myself.

Sixty-two years have gone by, but I still remember the comrades who died fighting for the freedom of the people of South Korea.


Baton Rouge

Ferry malfunction

Dear Smiley: Back in my days as an $8-a-night and 8-cents-a-mile correspondent for the Morning Advocate, I used to be pleased to be assigned football games in Port Allen.

I could take the short ride from the paper’s downtown building to the ferry landing and ride across the river.

One Friday night, we had crossed the river and neared the dock when there was a lot of confusion and shouting. The boat turned around and headed back to Baton Rouge.

A crew member told me the “dead-man chain” broke at the Port Allen dock, and the boat couldn’t dock safely.

There was no “new bridge” in those days, so I headed out Scenic Highway to Airline and made it to the Port Allen High press box as the band played the national anthem.



No Fats for you!

Dear Smiley: Reading about the “good ole days,” I remember when Fats Domino, Chuck Berry (and others) played at Cal’s Club in Prairieville.

Since I was underage, I asked some of my older friends if they knew where I might get some form of ID for admission.

The old saying, “Eyes in the back of his head” must also have some connection to hearing.

One evening when he got home from work, Dad took me aside and said he had heard rumors.

I recall the conversation went something like this: “Don’t even think about going to hear Fats Domino. You will be grounded forever if you even try it.”

“Yes, sir.”


Columbia, Tennessee

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.