Gail Stephenson, of Baton Rouge, says, "Granddaughter Zelda, 3, attended her first Krewe of Mutts parade on Sunday.

"Dressed in a Dalmatian costume, she had high hopes of beads and candy. She soon discovered, however, that most of the throws went to the real dogs (lots of Milk-Bones and puppy treats).

"Tears were rolling down her face in her frustration over lack of beads when a nice lady noticed her and presented her with a long string of fuschia beads — Zelda's favorite color.

"Zelda kissed the beads, hung them around her neck, and then, with that look of pure joy you see only in young children, exclaimed, 'I love Mardi Gras!'"

Spread of poverty 

Mike Lukacin enters our "poorer than thou" discussion:

"When I was a young'un, we were so poor we couldn’t afford to buy oleo; we had to eat homemade butter."

The littlest villain

Mary Pramuk says, "Reading about the new Sherlock Holmes play now being performed in Baton Rouge brought back a memory of my own attic production of a Sherlock story.

"It began with my discovery of the Sherlock Holmes stories in my mother's collection of Book of the Month Club books when I was about 9. I became a huge fan.

"When I was about 12, I thought one of the stories would be good to dramatize. I, of course, would play Holmes, and Jean, my younger sister, would be 'the Count,' the villain.

"At the end of the play, Jean was to perform the line from the story: 'Damn you, Holmes,' roared the Count with blazing eyes."

"'Damn' was not in Jean's vocabulary, and it was not easy to get her to use it, but she did. However, it was not her eyes that were blazing, but her face.

"Well, it was a tough role for a cute, blonde 9-year-old."

Dueling haiku

Some of you have noticed the "Louisiana Haiku" I've been putting at the end of columns. Two reactions:

From Ray Schell:

"What does Smiley do

Reports on what we send him

Easy way of life"

And from Pat Cougevan:

"Haiku played out quick

Smiley keeps on anyway

Someone make him stop"

You take that back!

I was mystified when Mercedes Doré, of Plaquemine, called me a big word, and wondered what I'd ever done to deserve that. Here's what she told me:

"I like the 50-cent words and am happy to tell you that you are a sesquipedalian, a word I have recently added to my vocabulary."

But then I read further in her note and found this:

"From The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, Page 106; 'a person who uses long words.'"

Oh. Never mind. …

Lost words

Marvin Borgmeyer tells of the lady who said something to her son about driving a jalopy, and he didn't know what she meant.

Evidently, "jalopy" has gone the way of "Don't touch that dial," "carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "hung out to dry."

Special People Dept.

Evelyn and Mervin Simoneaux Sr., of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 60th anniversary Thursday, Feb. 1.

Weather report

Algie Petrere turns to poetry to while away our long cold evenings:

"Noses are red

Fingers are blue

I'm tired of winter.

How about you?"

A living costume

Paul Duffy was reminded of this during our recent short course on Spanish moss:

"Growing up in New Orleans, one of my memories of Spanish moss was at Mardi Gras. We would attach it to our clothes and transform ourselves into some sort of 'swamp creatures.' It was easy and very cheap!

"Unfortunately, most of us learned the hard way that the moss was always full of red bugs. By the end of the day we were more than ready to take it off."

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Ernie Gremillion says, "Seeing the story about why moss hangs straight down reminds me of something I saw on the internet.

"It seems that the No. 1 question asked of the park employees at the Mall in Washington, D.C., is 'How do they get all of the flags to fly in the same direction?'"

Louisiana haiku

Mamou Mardi Gras

Horseback riders chase chickens

Wind up with gumbo

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.