Dear Smiley: Now that your stories of opossums have come to an end, please let me tell you about another animal, mentioned at a party many years ago.

Our host told a story about his family when the children were quite young and the family budget was very limited.

He developed a process to secure food in which the whole family could participate.

Early on Saturday morning, all would get into his old pickup truck, cross the river via the Huey P. Long Bridge to the west side and head to Raceland.

On the way, when a dead armadillo was spotted, he would stop the truck on the side of the road, one of the children would hop out, spray the armadillo with red paint and they would continue on their trip.

At Raceland, they would double back along the same route.

When a dead armadillo without red spray paint was spotted, the animal was retrieved and placed in the back of the truck.

The absence of red paint was a sign that the armadillo was “fresh.”

We were told that he and his family really enjoyed the stewed armadillo with turnips and smoked sausage.

It sounded like a strange story. We offered a slight chuckle. To this day, I do not know if he was “pulling our legs” or if the story was real. What do you think?

JEAN HAYDEL

River Ridge

Dear Jean: You mean with all that leg-pulling, nobody fell down?

Eye of the possum

Dear Smiley: I know you have said the possum stories are over, but I have a suggestion, not a story.

Someone needs to capture one of the toothy critters and build a small wheeled trailer with a cage so the Rally Possum could be towed around Alex Box Stadium by a kid on a bicycle before LSU home baseball games.

The lucky “kid of the day” could stop at home plate and beat on the side of cage to make the Rally Possum hiss — striking fear into the hearts of the opponents.

It would be unique, and the fans and kids would love it.

BOB WATTS

Watson

Dog day

Dear Smiley: While reading your story about New Orleans’ Cafe Du Monde in the Friday column, I recalled the time my two brothers from the real “Frozen Nawth,” namely Oregon and Washington, brought their wives down to visit.

We went to the Quarter and ordered beignets (covered with powdered sugar) at Cafe Du Monde, but one of my sisters-in-law made the same mistake as you.

She had on almost all black clothing, and after just couple of bites, she looked like a Dalmatian in reverse — black with white spots. What a hoot!

PATRICK HOWARD

Zachary

Setting boundaries

Dear Smiley: So, where did the saying “He thinks out of the box” originate?

Watching the University of California at Santa Barbara versus Louisville baseball game, a batter was trying to bunt and placed a foot completely out of the batter’s box. The ump called him out.

See, watching endless hours of sports on TV is not a waste of time.

ALEX “SONNY” CHAPMAN

Ville Platte

Getting fresh

D ear Smiley: Teresa B. Day’s recipes using farm-fresh veggies, published in The Advocate, have not only renewed my interest in cooking but have also reminded me that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

Farmers spend a lot of time preparing and maintaining soil, planting and maintaining seeds or seedlings, battling variable weather conditions and harvesting and preparing their vegetables for sale.

Please extend a special thank you to the farmers who make these delicious vegetables available for our gastric delight.

KAREN POIRRIER

Lutcher

Pleasant response

Dear Smiley: To add to the current discussion of responses to “Thank you,” I’d like to offer an alternative.

Our contractor, John Hebert, regularly responds to thanks with the phrase “My pleasure.”

This seems both appropriate and friendly. It always makes me smile.

ELEANOR HOWES

Baton Rouge

Those pesky hyphens

Dear Smiley: Re: your reader’s query about the proper use of hyphens, the AP Stylebook sets this policy for journalism:

Use a hyphen when the last letter of a prefix is the same as the first letter of the word it precedes, i.e., “non-negotiable.”

The hyphen is not needed when the letters are different, i.e., “preproduction.”

A hyphen is not required in “antifootball,” but is required when the prefix is attached to a word that is capitalized, i.e., “anti-Saban, or “anti-Alabama” or “anti-Crimson Tide.”

DUDLEY LEHEW

Marrero

Dear Dudley: Are you trying to tell us something about your feelings for a certain football team, buddy?

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.

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