Dear Smiley: Your account (in the Thursday column) of going first class on a company trip reminded me of a trip I took years ago.
I worked at a small plant here that was part of a very large company. The company policy was that business trips were to be second class unless it was filled.
The company had one office in Chicago that booked all flights. I was acquainted with the guy who booked my flights, so he would do me the favor of booking me on first class as soon as second class sold out.
One day I was sitting in a first class seat while second class passengers entered the plane. I suddenly became near-sighted and had to hold a magazine close to my face. I think it was caused by the company president walking past me on the way to his second class seat.
Dear Smiley: Another airline story: Returning from a business trip to Berlin in 1989, we were informed by the ticket agent that there were bomb threats against all international flights.
We were given the option to fly as scheduled, change flights, or cancel our flight.
The German engineer in our group told the agent, “Statistically there is only one bomb on an airplane, so I always bring my own. We will fly as scheduled.”
She laughed and checked us in.
Guys and dolls
Dear Smiley: Out in the marsh, where I spend a great deal of my time, there is a method used to catch catfish where baited hooks are attached to buoys or floats that the locals call "bouchons."
One day while riding out to my camp, I noticed that something was floating in the canal.
When I approached it, I noticed that it was a blow-up doll (unclothed) being used as a bouchon.
After traveling further down the canal, I met a boatload of fishermen putting out more bouchons.
On the deck of the boat was another one of their blow-up dolls!
To say that they were having a good time would short-change their efforts. Not only were they fishing, but they were drinking lots of cold root beers!
When I drove past them I hollered, "Love your bouchons," to which they all held up their drinks and toasted me as they laughed hysterically!
War of words
Dear Smiley: When my two daughters are visiting my wife and me, they get to talking and it is hard for me to get a word in.
I tell them all the time, "Y'all don't ever listen to me."
So my youngest daughter bought me a little sign that says, "My wife and I had words, but I NEVER got to use MINE!"
I have it hanging in my man cave as a reminder to just be quiet.
One tough sister
Dear Smiley: I read about the dodge ball controversy in The Advocate (about banning the game in schools).
I remember Sister Albert, who could not only whack you with a ruler but, when playing dodge ball at recess, her hits could leave a mark.
Sweet home Zzyzx
Dear Smiley: Your mention of Zzyzx, California, in the Thursday column brought back some memories.
I thought we'd been there, so I went to the Fount of All Knowledge, Google, for confirmation.
Zzyzx is in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles from Las Vegas and 5 miles or so from Interstate 15. The only way to get there is by way of Zzyzx Road.
This tiny burg, by the way, has two Area Codes, 442 and 760.
We'll be driving that way next month as we go from "Lost Wages" to California's Coachella Valley to visit family. I'll email you a picture.
Dear Russ: Thanks, but Frank Fronczek, who first told us about Zzyzx on Thursday, sent over a photo of the Zzyzx Road highway sign. He also gives detailed directions for getting there: "If you've been from Tehachapi to Tonopah, could be you've been by Zzyzx. That is, unless you took the shortcut through Haiwee."