My recent illness caused Lady Katherine and me to miss not only Mardi Gras but also our 20th anniversary dinner.

So we're planning the event for the near future, in a nice Baton Rouge restaurant.

Before we go, I just want to assure my readers that if I spot Tom Hanks dining there, you'll be the first to know.

Public service is my life. …

The happy flower

Here's a seasonal story from Gail Stephenson:

"Granddaughter Zelda, 3½, and I went on a stroll to enjoy the sunshine and pleasant temperature.

"She collected dandelions, clover and all sorts of other wildflowers for a bouquet, all the while telling me that spring was the 'loveliest time of the year' because of the beautiful flowers and warm weather.

"After we walked past several azalea bushes in full bloom, she turned and retraced her steps, returning to the beginning of the bushes.

"As she walked toward me, I asked what she was doing. With a beatific look she replied, 'Azaleas just make me smile.'"

Cans of love

Larry Miller, of St. Francisville, recalls the Vietnam conflict and the reminders of home we sent to loved ones in the military:

"My friend Deanna, in San Antonio, has a business that helps people downsize and move into assisted living.

"She thoughtfully salvaged a 1973 edition of the 'Louisiana Lagniappe' cookbook for me.

"Following Rena Dupre's recipe for squirrel gumbo is this:

"'Demi-note … when Rena prepares her gumbo to send to Vietnam, she will cook it altogether for 20 minutes and then take it to the cannery, where the cooking process will be completed for only a small charge for the cans.'"

Shame on George!

Steve Jarreau, of Baton Rouge, says, "My 3-year-old granddaughter, Mia Jarreau, ate a cookie without asking her grandmother and told me, who was looking at her eating the cookie, not to tell her grandmother.

"When Mia’s grandmother came back to the kitchen and noticed that a cookie was missing, she asked Mia who had eaten the cookie. Mia proceeded to say that she had not eaten it.

"Grandfather interjected, telling Mia that George Washington once said, 'I cannot tell a lie' and that she should own up to anything that she does.

"Mia, being a real smart 3-year-old, looked at her grandmother with a surprised look on her face and said, 'OK, George Washington ate the cookie.'"

No escape

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "Your recent submissions about tonsillectomies gave me pause to remember my surgery at the Napoleonville Hospital by Dr. Nelson Cox.

"I was and am afraid of needles. When I was about 6 years old, I was in a room waiting for my scheduled surgery when I overheard a nurse telling my parents that I was to be given a SHOT to help me relax before I would be brought to the back for surgery.

"Not only was I not relaxed — I was in in my speed mode.

"The nurses couldn’t catch me in the corridors but finally cornered me under a bed to prevent my escape. You wouldn’t believe how much a scared 6-year-old can ape a bobcat.

"I bit, kicked and clawed until they finally subdued me with a shot in the butt.

"When I woke up and stopped throwing up after the anesthesia, I got ice cream."

Special People Dept.

Gene LeBlanc, of Sunshine, celebrates his 90th birthday Tuesday, March 6. A big party with family and friends is planned for Saturday, March 10.

What accent?

Marvin Borgmeyer tells of the North Carolina guy who had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the road and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and one behind it. Then he got back in the car to wait.

When a passerby stopped to ask what he was doing, the man with the flat told him, "They tell you when you get a flat tahr to put flares in the front and flares in the back. I never did understand it neither."

Louisiana haiku

Royal Street sax man

Sidewalk crowd hears mournful blues

Laments for lost love 

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.