Dear Smiley: While dating at Louisiana College in 1962, Virginia and I occasionally discussed where we might live after I finished seminary.

As is true with most young couples in love, I appreciated her willingness to go anywhere with me — but she really didn’t want to live in West Texas.

About one month after moving to Tucumcari, New Mexico, in 1974 (more West Texas than West Texas), there was an ice storm, hail, sleet, snow, rain and a dust storm ­— all in one week.

Virginia was more than ready when we moved from Tucumcari to Baton Rouge.


Columbia, Tennessee

Rough start

Dear Smiley: Thirty-five years ago, Connie and I had an interesting start to our marriage.

We were married by a judge in Charleston, West Virginia, where judges perform marriages for free.

A good thing — I was so broke she had to buy her own wedding ring, and I couldn’t afford to pay a preacher and rent a truck at the same time.

We loaded the truck with her stuff and mine, and left on our honeymoon trip to Monroe, where I was to start a job at KNOE-TV. My two boys from a previous marriage went along.

Rain began falling as I was loading the truck and continued as we drove away in a convoy — me with one boy in the rental truck, her with the other boy in her car.

We didn’t make it far before we pulled off for the night.

I checked into a motel near the highway, and we ran through pouring rain to our room.

I quickly unlocked the door and we rushed in — completely surprising the couple that was already there.

Back to the vehicles, back to the office and then to another room which, thankfully, was vacant.

Now both boys are grown with their own children, who have already heard the tale.



Money-saving move

Dear Smiley: My father, Cliff Hannaman, loved to play golf, and the pro at his country club would pair him with newcomers if they were short of a foursome.

It was typical of Cliff’s group to engage in a friendly wager.

A friend of mine became a member of the country club and, on the first Saturday as a new member, joined Cliff’s group, which had only had three players.

Participating in the money games that day, my friend played well and was paid by everyone.

After post-round beverages, he asked if he could join them again.

Cliff said, “We’d love to have you back. Tee time is 10 a.m. Saturday.”

On Saturday, my friend showed up at 9 a.m. sharp to begin his practice routine.

At about 9:45, he sees Cliff’s foursome coming off the 9th green, heading to the 10th tee.

My friend told me, “I got the message.”


Tyler, Texas

Pet that peeve

Dear Smiley: As a retired English teacher, I have a few pet peeves when it comes to grammar.

The one which gets my teeth gnashing most is the use of a nominative (subjective) pronoun used as an object after a preposition: “between you and I”; “to Mary and I”; “for Jack and she.” Grrr!

However, the ones I’m reading about lately are derivatives of the word “health.”

One often misused is “healthy,” an adjective meaning in good health; not diseased.

Living things are healthy; inanimate objects or intangibles cannot be.

For example, “healthy aroma of the spa” or “healthy recliner.” Neither an aroma nor a recliner can be healthy.

The Advocate recently had an article titled “Healthy home gadgets.” REALLY?


Morgan City

Seriously retired

Dear Smiley: One day I was busy on the phone, making an appointment for my husband Barry’s ultrasound and also talking with his health insurance carrier.

He was on the recliner in the next room.

I woke him up to talk on the phone, so he could give them approval for me to discuss his health care.

He gave his approval, and I went back to the other room.

While still on the phone, I overheard him say out loud, “Now what the heck was I doing before I was so rudely interrupted?”

Kids say the darndest things — and so do seniors!



Merry Christmas!

Dear Smiley: Darn it, why did you have to print those tales about tunes stuck in your head?

I had finally purged “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” from my head when your column made me think of it again.



Write, fax to (225) 388-0351 or mail to P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.