Dear Smiley: My husband and I are young (ish) professionals with a preschooler who moved to Baton Rouge from Austin, Texas, a couple of months ago.

It seems the newspaper here is filled with bad news about Louisiana in general and Baton Rouge in particular (crime rate, poor public schools, a picture of City Park Lake with a duck trying to eat amid a pile of trash, etc.).

Yet in this morning’s paper I also noticed a statement in an article about Baton Rouge being “the city we love.”

It made me wonder about what, in fact, do people love about Baton Rouge?

Is there anything (other than LSU football) that is lovable?

Rather than the news of the morning being about the latest list of good things that Louisiana/Baton Rouge is at the bottom of, or the bad list that Louisiana/Baton Rouge tops, how about gathering up reasons to make us proud?

What are some wonderful memories of the past about growing up in this city?

Baton Rouge is a beautiful city to me, with many mom-and-pop restaurants and stores that have been around for many years (Austin has seen the demise of them over recent years in exchange for Big Box Stores, much to the chagrin of its “natives”).

I’d love to read about the reasons Baton Rouge is still loved, despite all of its warts, and maybe others would too.

BRIDGET HILLIS

Baton Rouge

Fairy tale

Dear Smiley: About 40 years ago, Iberville South newspaper employee John Gillon was trying to get enough money to outbid Gary Hebert of the Plaquemine Post, who was about to buy the South from James Freeman.

John explained his plan to a banker who said he was sorry, but John didn’t have enough collateral for the type of loan he would need.

The banker meant to use a fairy tale reference, but he had just seen a popular movie, so what he said was, “John, it sounds like you need a fairy godfather.”

John smiled and said, “I’m only half Italian.”

ROY PITCHFORD

Monroe

Mail call

Dear Smiley: Each day I look forward to getting my mail from my mailbox.

I believe that our U.S. Postal Service must continue unchanged. Receiving mail is one of the good things in life.

To keep our mailmen and mailwomen busy, I encourage everyone in Baton Rouge to slow down and send a handwritten note or card to friends and family.

I see that everything in our world is trying to go faster. But come on now, we are still people.

Let’s go buy some stamps, cards, paper, envelopes, and yes, some ink pens. Not only will we brighten the days for family and friends, but we will also keep our Postal Service doing what they do best, delivering mail!

I hope that everyone likes to see those good-looking postal vehicles pulling up as much as I do.

JESS MAGALLON

Baton Rouge

No-fly zone

Dear Smiley: My old VW Bug had mechanical turn signals.

You pushed the lever down and out clunked this big orange plastic wing on the left side.

Push the lever up and the right one clunked out.

I tried and tried to get both wings to flap up at the same time so I could fly, but the Germans were too smart for me to do that.

SARAH STRAVINSKA

Chestnut

Winston strikes!

Dear Smiley: About your Winston Churchill quotes:

Supposedly Mr. Churchill was at a bar and had had a little more to drink than he should have.

He was approached by a lady and she said, “Winston, you are drunk!”

He responded, “Madam, you are ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.”

ALEX CROCHET

Abbeville

Riding the tiger

Dear Smiley: This quote from Winston Churchill, made in 1937 in an article in The Evening Standard, seems extremely appropriate in describing current happenings in the Middle East:

“Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.”

DUDLEY LEHEW

Denham Springs

Housekeeping blues

Dear Smiley: I have many good friends who inquire about my recent unfortunate introduction to being a widower.

I just tell them I am slowly learning more about those nasty four-letter words — such as cook, wash and iron.

JIM HEYWARD

Baton Rouge