Dear Smiley: Years before Katrina, we decided to evacuate during a hurricane.

Our dear next-door neighbor Many was an elderly widower who lived alone and used a walker.

Our kitchen widows were adjacent to one another and we could always look in on him.

We called him and his son to inform them we were leaving, and suggested they make proper arrangements.

His son called us after the hurricane and told us what he experienced.

As soon as he had called his dad, he rushed to the lakefront from Uptown, encountering police who had already cordoned off a route necessary to get his father. However, the police permitted him to proceed.

Seems Many told his son that he was just fine, not to worry nor come and get him.

He explained, “I have just lighted every candle in the house.”



The entertainers

Dear Smiley: In 1957, I was a freshman at LSU. In those days, freshmen could not have cars on campus.

I had a girlfriend back home in Opelousas, so one Saturday morning I caught a ride to Airline Highway, where a sports car stopped and the driver asked where I was headed.

“Get in,” he told me. “We are going right through there.”

The young woman next to him (blonde hair, halter top and short shorts) smiled and patted the seat next to her: “Come sit by me, honey.”

The man told me that he and the young woman were returning from a business trip in Miami: “I am an escort for older women who have a lot of money. She entertains older men.”

Me, I was scared. There was something sinister about this couple.

When we drove into Opelousas, I said, “You can drop me at the Greyhound depot.”

He offered to drive me to my house, but I shook my head and said my dad would pick me up.

I almost ran the six or so blocks home. I told my parents about my adventure. The next week, I was proud owner of a five-year-old Chevrolet Bel Air.


Church Point

Thanks, general

Dear Smiley: One day in 1944, I was hitchhiking from our air base in England to Norwich when I saw the approaching vehicle was an Army staff car with a general’s star on the license plate.

I dropped my hand and proceeded to walk when the car stopped beside me.

I was invited in by Brig. Gen. Ted Timberlake, former commanding officer of the 93rd Bomb Group before we were assigned to it.

He asked where I was headed, about my well-being and made other small talk, then dropped me at my destination.

I knew then why he was so much admired as a CO by those who had served under him.



Early risers

Dear Smiley: In the ’50s, my grandparents would take me to church downtown, then to the Piccadilly.

We didn’t have to worry about the Episcopalians, Baptists or Methodists getting ahead of us for lunch.

We are Catholic, so the Piccadilly was still serving breakfast when we arrived.


Baton Rouge

Fun with words

Dear Smiley: Thank you for spotlighting misused words! Let’s add “decimate.” It means to diminish by 10 percent.

When ranks of Roman soldiers were deemed to grossly underperform, every 10th one in a formation was, uhhh, eliminated.

“Destroy” is a nice, effective alternative to describe damage. Even “demolish.” Maybe “flattened.”

To balance that, add the waste of a good word: “credenza.”

Furniture. So dull. It could be such a good expletive — “Credenza!” Or good news — “Credenza!” Much better than “Oh, here it is” when something is found.



Living with war

Dear Smiley: After reading about D-Day, I remembered one of my own war stories:

We were living in Baton Rouge at the time, and every week we would drive to New Orleans to visit relatives.

While driving past (I think) Godchaux’s Sugar on Airline Highway, I noticed German POWs working in the fields — with American soldiers with guns guarding them.

I thought to myself that this same scene was happening just like this in Germany, with Germans guarding Americans.



The naked truth

Dear Smiley: Jim Jeansonne’s complaint about the inappropriate use of the word “gentleman” in some cases reminded me of one I have a problem with: Since when is a gentleman someone who pays to see a stranger remove her clothes in front of him?

That seems to be the main attraction advertised for so-called “gentlemen’s clubs.” What a horrible misnomer!



Dear Doug: That’s because they had trouble marketing them as “lechers’ clubs.”

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.