Dear Smiley: Your recent stories about seeing pennies on the floor in businesses reminded me of an event that occurred quite a few years ago.

Standing in line at a neighborhood grocery store, an elderly man in front of me slowly and awkwardly stooped down and picked up a dusty penny from under the candy rack near the register.

As I saw that this was a tough task for him, I asked, “Now, what are you going to do with that one old penny that you worked so hard for?”

He looked at me with a smile and said, “All I need is 99 more and I’ll have a dollar!”

That made me smile, too, but then his face turned serious and he said, “You know the real reason I pick up pennies? I don’t like to see something with the name of God being dropped and stepped on.”

Now approaching “elderly” myself, I still pick up pennies when I see them on the floor.

Thank you, sir, for teaching me an important lesson.



Word of warning

Dear Smiley: I texted my daughter Aimee, who happens to work for the Alabama Athletic Department, and whose new motto appears to be “Roll Tide.”

I said, “Be careful Saturday night, darling. As you nervously pace the sidelines, you might get ROLLED over by a “Blue” “Ford” driven by “General Lee.”


St. James

Band memories

Dear Smiley: The recent article on the new LSU band hall brought back precious memories of when I played in the band 71 years ago.

In the summer of 1940 I was thrilled to be auditioned to play drums by the great LSU band leader Castro Carazo.

My audition consisted of playing a snare drum to a recording of John Philip Sousa marches — a piece of cake!

The band, of approximately 150 members, male only, was housed in the northeast bend of the stadium, six to a room, and was part of the ROTC cadet corps.

The band hall was a dilapidated wooden building far out in the northwest area of the campus.

Halftime band formations were done in complete darkness, with little lights on our caps.



Big city, big hearts

Dear Smiley: Noted your mention of the good reputation New Orleans has with visitors.

I was in New Orleans last month, but it was a very different experience from my time as a resident there.

I was in a wheelchair due to a bout of spinal stenosis.

I discovered the sidewalks in the French Quarter are tough to navigate in a wheelchair.

But every time I got stuck, someone stepped up and said, “Do you need a push?”

Once, when I was waiting to cross a street, a taxi driver stopped his vehicle, pushed me across and then waved, got back in the taxi and drove away.

The actions of my several helpers was greatly appreciated.

There were some big hearts in the big city.



Ban the bulk

Dear Smiley: You’ve printed some comments recently about the U.S. Postal Service.

You stated that if Saturday service was discontinued, we would have one less day to receive those political campaign flyers.

Well, if the USPS would like to keep Saturday service AND get out of the red, then they should eliminate the bulk mailing rate for those flyers and charge them what normal citizens have to pay.

They would surely be in the black in no time!


Baton Rouge

Hey, Jude!

Dear Smiley: You mentioned a mule named “Missouri” in a recent column.

That would be correct, since Missouri (my home state) was famous for its mules.

Our athletic coach from a northwestern Missouri state teachers college brought the name with him, and our teams were called Mules.

Daddy had two mules, one named Jude and the other Joshua, and when I was about 7 years old, he would let me ride Jude to school.


Baton Rouge

Time well spent

Dear Smiley: My answer to the comment “I always see you in Smiley, and only a person with time on their hands would write to him,” is that some of us need less time to think and write than others.

This reply took only three minutes out of my busy day.