Dear Smiley: More fond memories of Earl W. Duvernay Jr., "Earl the Pearl," a driver on the Nashville Express bus in New Orleans. I was a regular rider.

The express section of the line was Earhart Boulevard, which connected our neighborhood with downtown. When Earl turned onto Earhart, he never failed to announce, "Earhart, dear heart. If you love bumps, you'll love Earhart."

One evening as Earl approached a stop in the business district, a lady dropped a clutch of envelopes in the mailbox on that corner, then walked the few steps to the bus. As she began ascending the steps, she looked down at her hands, then back towards the mailbox, and said, "Oh, darn, I dropped my book in the mailbox."

The postman arrived only seconds later to retrieve the mail. Earl saw him and told her to go back and get the book. She was not comfortable with that, concerned about delaying us and letting everyone on the bus witness her mistake.

But Earl insisted. He got up and shouted out the door to the mailman about what happened, asking him to retrieve the book. The lady got her book.


New Orleans

Moss memories

Dear Smiley: Luke Babin’s Monday article about Spanish moss and Henry Ford piqued my interest, because as a young boy I remember the moss put out to dry draping the picket fences along the Canal Road where I live.

I also remember the oar-powered skiffs on Lake Verret with the scaffold-like structures used to get the moss high up in the cypress trees with long poles.

Moss was used by Ford as seat stuffing because wool invited moths into the vehicles, which destroyed the interiors. Moss was also used in pillows and mattresses because it was cool on hot summer nights.

Don’t forget the bousillage, or mud-and-moss mixture used to build the walls of the homes; one of which was still standing until a few years ago next to my childhood home.



Poor folks 

Dear Smiley: Nobey Benoit's comment about being too poor to have a fireplace reminds me of a similar story.

At a lunch gathering of a group of friends some time ago, we were sharing "impoverished childhood" stories when I mentioned that we were so poor we had to eat our cornflakes with water.

This prompted the response, "Your family could afford cornflakes?"


Baton Rouge

Around the fire

Dear Smiley: Our increased usage of heat lately took me back to my childhood Shreveport days. My family's small 1950s two-bedroom house had a floor furnace in the hall. To get by it we had to either step over or around it.

The only bathroom had a gas wall heater, and I remember sitting by it while reading a book on a cold morning. The living room was heated with another gas heater that was set into the fireplace.

When we would visit my dad's family in the country, there was always a rip-roaring fire burning in the fireplace. It happened to be the gathering place for everyone on a very cold day. They would pull up a chair around the hot fire and engage in "firechats."



Grammar 101

Dear Smiley: This headline brought up another teachable moment: “Saints successful reverting back to passing game.” Where else does one “revert” but back?

And while we’re here, where else can one raise or rise but UP? There are other redundancies, but these are overdone.


Retired English Educator

Morgan City

Tigers strike

Dear Smiley: Regarding Clark Hardesty's memory of "Geaux Tigers," I would like to add this:

My brother, who lived in Birmingham, invited me, my daughter Terri Ann and her college roommate, Nancy, to attend the LSU-Alabama game in Birmingham.

It was played on Nov. 6, 1982. While passing through Tuscaloosa on our way to my brother's, I noticed the University of Alabama sign was painted with "GEAUX TIGERS," obviously by LSU fans. Oh, by the way, LSU 20, Alabama 10!



Louisiana Haiku

Girl Scout cookies time

Also season for king cakes

Ah, how sweet it is!

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.