Dear Smiley: Mention of five and dime stores reminds me of the time in the ’50s when a friend’s 8-year-old daughter, Peaches, was bragging about her Christmas shopping trip to the Morgan and Lindsey five and dime store.

She informed me, “I got Mama three presents for 80 cents; one of them is a bottle of perfume.”

PAT ALBA

Metairie

Heading home?

Dear Smiley: When I celebrated a milestone birthday this year, my children felt it was time for me to sell my two-story townhouse and move into a one-level residence. After putting my townhouse on the market, it sold much more quickly than I expected.

My Christmas decorations all looked a little tired, so I decided to go shopping.

Debbie at Mia Sofia Florist in St. Francisville helped me with a door decoration, and I told her I needed a small tabletop Christmas tree.

She said she had just what I was describing at her shop in New Roads and she would bring one for me to see.

We discussed how I wanted it decorated, and then she said, “We call these our nursing home trees!”

You see, family, I am thinking ahead!

REDEAN PARSONS

St. Francisville

Term of endearment?

Dear Smiley: While duck hunting with my dog this past weekend, I thought about a hunt I made about 20 years ago in southwest Louisiana.

The hunters were separated into about four groups of four hunters, each with a guide.

On the hunt the next morning, our blind was doing little or no shooting, while the other groups were firing away.

To break up the monotony of the morning and lack of ducks, I said, “I wonder why all the other blinds have guides and we don’t?”

At that point, the crusty old Cajun guide took his duck calls and whistles from around his neck and threw them toward me!

He then said, “If you tink you can do betta, go ahead and try, couyon!”

For the rest of our trip, I was “Couyon.”

“Years later, I went to visit him when he was very ill and got to meet his family. He was a gentleman but still called me Couyon with a little twinkle in his eye.

(For your edification, couyon translates as “You big dummy!”)

TONY FALTERMAN

Napoleonville

Agony of de feet

Dear Smiley: The Advocate’s Nov. 26 article on recycling oyster shells to benefit the oyster industry brought to mind how the city of New Orleans recycled them in the 1930s.

They were used to fill potholes in unpaved streets, I suppose because they wouldn’t wash out when it rained, as dirt would.

In the summer, it was tough on us barefoot kids.

GEORGE McLEAN

Metairie

Name that tune

Dear Smiley: Dudley Lehew’s story of an alarm clock prank (in the Thursday column) reminded me that professors at Louisiana College were not above high jinks of their own.

Professor Keller was a child prodigy with “perfect pitch” who could simultaneously play two different melodies in two different keys in two different rhythms on keyboard instruments.

He was often encouraged by the music students to improvise when playing for chapel and occasionally would comply.

I still smile when I remember the chapel, when we reverently listened to professor Keller play what everyone thought was a Bach composition.

However, we quickly had to bow our heads so the audience would not see the grins we were trying to hide.

I occasionally wonder about the discussion that surely took place between the Louisiana College president, Dr. G. Earl Guinn, and professor Keller about the chapel music that featured an improvisation on “Three Blind Mice.”

KIM ‘POPS’ SEAGO

Columbia, Tennessee

Asphalt jungle

Dear Smiley: Earl C. Johnson (in the Nov. 28 column ) predicts that someday a car will roll into Baton Rouge and fill the last remaining spot on the streets.

Maybe, but at the rate new streets are being added or widened, plus new parking lots being built, there will be no remaining unpaved space in the city.

DOUG JOHNSON

Watson

Misplaced advertising

Dear Smiley: Your story in the Nov. 27 column, about the urology clinic’s phone service that asks you to “Hold, please,” reminds me of the gift my husband Pete’s urology clinic gave him.

It is one of those really nice water bottles with the flip-up top.

Nice as it is, Pete can’t bring himself to carry it in public.

Trouble is, the bottle is clear yellow with the words: “So and so Urology Clinic” emblazoned in huge letters on it.

One looks as if they are carrying a large “sample” around in that bottle.

SARAH STRAVINSKA

Chestnut

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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