Dear Smiley: Now that Capital City Press is no longer a Manship company, may we tell a happy bit of newspaper history:

A particularly rigid member of the editorial staff of the State-Times (we won’t name names) was prowling the paper one late December afternoon, convinced that employees were drinking alcoholic beverages in violation of company policy.

After much investigation, he determined it was taking place in the photo darkroom.

He burst through the door, and sure enough, drinking was going on — and Mr. Charles Manship, the publisher, was one of those seated in the darkroom with a cocktail glass.

The editor paused, said “Merry Christmas,” and went home.



Academic distinction

Dear Smiley: Mike Humble and his struggle with checkout-line math brought to mind something I read somewhere years ago.

A gentleman dressed in a sharp-looking suit and tie was in line to check out at a large supermarket near a college campus.

He was in the express line (15 items or less) with a well-loaded shopping cart.

Someone behind him asked, “Sir, are you an English professor who can’t count, or a math professor who can’t read English?”


Santa Maria, Calif.

The people paper

Dear Smiley: Capital City Press has been in my life forever, and it’s always been about the people who work there.

I delivered the Morning Advocate and the State-Times in the late ’40s; the Circulation Department even sent me some extras on VE Day so I could pick up a few nickels.

The people I remember fondly were Bud Montet, Ted Castillo, Jim Falkner, Bob Scearce — and of course, nowadays Smiley Anders.

It’s a people paper, and has become a part of life to us dinosaurs.

Hopefully Mr. Georges will continue this tradition, which has been so important to so many people.



Never say never

Dear Smiley: I had to smile broadly when one of your writers quoted a porter who said, “The Panama Limited is NEVER late.”

In December, 1945, I was a senior in high school and my parents gave me a trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., to visit the daughter of my mother’s college roommate.

I boarded the Panama in Hammond at about 4 p.m. and had a sleeping berth.

We were to arrive early the next morning in Chicago and my friend was waiting in the station for me.

During the night I woke up, looked out the window and saw that the train was going backwards.

The porter said we were outside Yazoo City and there was a train wreck blocking the tracks. So we were backing up into a siding.

That morning I had enough money to buy breakfast, barely.

At noon I went to the dining car and ordered the cheapest thing on the menu (I think it was soup).

The waiter told me it was free since we were so late.

We didn’t get into Chicago until dark. My friend had waited all day in the station.

As I recall, at that time that was the latest the Panama Limited had ever been.



Taste of home

Dear Smiley: My wife and I were born and raised in New Orleans, but at one time we lived in Tucson, Ariz.

We were on vacation at a beautiful mountaintop resort run by the Apaches.

But the resort restaurant, along with the casino, was closed due to a strike.

The innkeeper said there was a restaurant a few miles down the road, in Ruidoso, N.M.

When we went in, lo and behold, there was a Saints game on.

The people who owned the restaurant were from New Orleans, and when they saw our Saints clothing they acted like we were related to them.

They brought us gumbo, étouffée, fish, etc., and treated us like royalty.

We not only got a taste of our hometown cooking, but the warm and friendly people we had missed from the South.



Decisions, decisions

Dear Smiley: All this material you have been writing makes it difficult to fit your column on one page.

I can imagine the scene every evening at The Advocate, where the editors argue over which page the rest of your column is going to be printed on: “2B or not 2B, that is the question.”


Baton Rouge

Sin and a shame

Dear Smiley: About your story of a cartoon with a sign outside the confessional that said this line is for “Three sins or less.”

I immediately thought, “Yeah. You just know some guy with nine sins will get in that line.”



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.