Dear Smiley: A while back, a friend took me and my wife on a journey in his top-of-the-line imported car. The interior was in beautiful leather, and the sound system seemed to have hundreds of miniature musicians.

At a stop light, my friend pointed out that the engine had turned off to save gas. To which I replied, “My 12-year-old Explorer does the same thing.”

He said, “Then it seamlessly starts when the light changes.”

I replied, “When the horns behind me start honking, I seamlessly crank the ignition, and often the cars behind me are so impressed that they signal ‘USA No. 1’ as they zoom by.”



Disaster over easy

Dear Smiley: I heard this on NPR, so it must be true: FEMA uses a “Waffle House Index” to determine the scope of disasters.

“Condition Red” is when the local Waffle House is closed. When it’s open but offering just a limited menu, FEMA says the area is in “Condition Yellow.” When it is finally fully functional, FEMA considers the disaster area in “Condition Green” and goes into the follow-up phase.



Short visit

Dear Smiley: Here is my possum story.

We have two dogs — a Doberman, Winston and a border collie/Australian shepherd mix, Jackson. They have a large, great Dane-sized pet door.

One evening, my hubby and I were watching the movie “Last King of Scotland.” It’s an intense movie, and we were engrossed in a scene when Jackson bursts through the pet door and runs into the living room, tossing something high in the air, over and over.

It lands on the fireplace hearth. It’s a possum. He plays dead for a few seconds, while we figure out what’s going on. Then, he jumps up and starts for the stairs leading to our bedroom.

Fortunately, my quick-thinking husband grabbed a broom and dustpan and managed to get it out the front door to safety.

We felt sorry for the possum, even though the teeth on those guys are wicked.



Amazing maze

Dear Smiley: One night about 10, while my wife was watching TV in the den, she heard the cat door open and saw a raccoon walking toward the cat food. When it saw her, it turned around and ran out the cat door.

Thinking it was just one, I made a raccoon-proof entrance to the cat door by using multiple items like bricks, concrete stepping stones, etc., to create a maze they could not walk through but the cats could navigate.

When the Animal Control Center put a trap in my backyard, in seven nights, I caught three raccoons and two possums.

And we live in the middle of the city, in Kenilworth.

But we have not had one possum or raccoon enter our house due to the maze.


Baton Rouge

Sweet supper

Dear Smiley: Your “roux boo-boo” reminded me of what happened a long time ago at a hunting camp I went to as a young boy. Seems the camp cook had a long afternoon with a bottle of Seagram’s before attempting to cook our supper.

He proceeded to make his roux but had a difficult time getting it to brown. Instead of flour, he had added sugar!

It was a very late supper for us because someone had to clean the black iron pot, and a substitute cook had to handle the cooking!



Life imitates art?

Dear Smiley: Your reader who joked about the state taxing toilets needs to see the Broadway musical comedy “Urinetown.”

It’s about a town where a company gets control of all the toilets and charges a fee for each use. Hiding behind a tree or bush is illegal, and you are arrested and fined. It’s no “Sound of Music” but, as you can imagine, funny and entertaining.

Who knows, maybe a sign of things to come.



Mommy knows best

Dear Smiley: In kindergarten, our daughter was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Her reply was, “I want to be a bum, just like my daddy.”

When the teacher said, “Now, you know your daddy’s not a bum,” she retorted, “Oh, yes, he is; my mommy said so!”


New Orleans

Missing the message

Dear Smiley: When my now-grown daughter Katie was 4, my mother-in-law, Mary Ann, took her to a funeral home for visitation of a friend who had passed away. On the way there, Mary Ann explained about the visitation, what Katie would see and about her friend she had lost.

After they arrived at the funeral home and walked into the visitation room, which was quiet as expected, Katie asked Mary Ann in an unexpectedly loud voice, “So who is the lady in the box?”



Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.