Dear Smiley: Your church usher stories remind me of a time when I was working in New York City and decided to attend a weekday Mass at a nearby Catholic church on Fifth Avenue, which also was a popular tourist attraction.

The church had continual Masses throughout the day, so I went inside and was sitting in an aisle seat and really enjoying the Mass when an usher tapped me on the shoulder and wanted me to help take up the collection.

I dutifully did so, stretching out the collection basket and holding it in front of everybody’s face for a moment.

No one ever knew, but it’s safe to say I’m probably the only Southern Baptist good ol’ boy who ever helped take up collection at the majestic and historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral!




Dear Smiley: The mention of your and Lady K’s anniversary being the day before a Mardi Gras parade years ago (pretty useless for remembering the date) reminds me of when I asked a Catholic priest how did Ash Wednesday and Easter get chosen each year.

Well, he said, it was something about the first new moon of some month.

It was too complicated to stick in my liberal arts brain.

I’m sure some of your readers can give us the correct method of calculation.


Ville Platte

Dear Sonny: According to my Book of Common Prayer, it’s really pretty simple: “Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21...This full moon may happen on any date between March 21 and April 18 inclusive. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter Day is the Sunday following. But Easter Day cannot be earlier than March 22 or later than April 25.”

Hope that clears it up for you.

Nostalgia Corner

Dear Smiley: I remember my Uncle Robert, who made his own cigarettes.

He would take small sheets of paper and fill them with Prince Albert tobacco from a can. He then rolled up the paper and licked it so as to hold the cigarette together.

He liked to hunt squirrels, and would make squirrel stew.

He lived in the country, and his “bathroom facility” was an outhouse.

Of course, THAT experience is something I still remember to this day.



Dear Carol: It’s interesting that the habit of rolling your own smokes didn’t die out with the advent of ready-made cigarettes. In the ’70s, I observed many of my friends rolling cigarettes...

Worth the wait

Dear Smiley: My 1969 copy of “Maravich” by John Musemeche and Steve Ellis is beyond rare. It’s autographed by Pistol Pete himself.

On Easter Sunday 1970 I was clutching that book at the opening of the Baton Rouge Zoo, because Pete Maravich was expected to make an appearance and I wanted my book signed.

He didn’t appear, and my 9-year-old self was crushed.

Well, I got a second chance when Pete held a book-signing at Goudchaux’s in 1987 to mark the publication of his autobiography, “Heir to a Dream.”

Not only did I get that book signed, but Pete also signed the 1969 book. He apologized for not appearing at the zoo event and thanked me for my patience.

I am so grateful I had that second chance to meet a legend, only 17 years in the making.


Baton Rouge

Keep everything!

Dear Smiley: John Musemeche’s comment about the book “Maravich” and its increase in value reminded me of a similar incident.

Around 45 years ago I purchased a copy of “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” by David Embury.

A couple of years ago I was discussing it with my son and mentioned that I no longer have it.

He was sitting at a computer, so he searched for it and quickly found a copy for just $1,200.

Since then, I always check for first editions before parting with a book.

Another similar incident happened around the same time, when my wife and I took a couple of house guests on a tour through local antiques stores.

A few days earlier, I had picked up a two-gallon cast iron pot someone put in the trash, and my wife mildly chastised me for it.

Retribution came when I pointed out an identical one on sale at one of the stores for $40.

Now I’m leery about throwing anything away.



End game

Dear Smiley: About overused words:

How about leaving off “at the end of the day,” and end the statement when there is no need for reference to the evening?



Contacting Smiley

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.