Doug Lee, of Prairieville, adds to our stories about kids, their names and nicknames:

“About 10 years ago, while on a cruise with my wife, kids and sisters, I was encouraged to take part in a ‘Sexy Legs Contest’ onboard the ship.

“To my and everyone else’s surprise, I won the contest.

“My preschool son Cameron was so excited when I let him wear my winner’s sash that he thought he was the winner.

“A few months later at his preschool graduation practice, the teacher told him they would say his full name, and that he should walk up at that point.

“When they called his name, he stopped them and told them his name was Cameron ‘Sexy Legs’ Lee, and that that’s how they should call him at graduation.

“When the teacher told me about it, I started to explain, and she said, ‘Oh, we know, he told us the whole story!’”

If only...

David Hart says our mention of checks brought this memory of a child’s view of family finances:

“When I was about 5 my mother would drive to town (we lived way out on a gravel road named O’Neal Lane) and shop at the new A&P in Broadmoor on Florida Boulevard.

“There was a TG&Y right next door, so my two brothers and I would go there and look at all the toys while she made groceries.

“We couldn’t stay long, so usually my older brother and I would go back about the time she was paying.

“I would see her make the check out, then stand in line at a little office up front where they would give her money.

“One day she told me she didn’t have enough money to buy me a toy. I solved that little problem by telling her to ‘just write some money.’

“She didn’t like my solution...made ‘cents’ to me.”

Cans of goodness

Michael Leblanc, of Gonzales, says before I close out our canned meat segments, “I had to tell you of this fabulous dish. In our household in the ’40s and ’50s a fairly common meal was Vienna sausage (had to be Libby’s) jambalaya.

“It was a red tomato-based jambalaya, and the side dish was invariably potato stew.

“It was a great meal! I’m sure we weren’t the only ones at that time enjoying such a delicacy!”

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, adds, “All these stories about canned meat reminded me of canned fish: salmon and sardines.

“My pop used to cook, and I still cook, salmon creole. Simply sauté onions and bell pepper, then add the salmon with tomato sauce. Simple, and guaranteed to get you to heaven if eaten on Fridays during Lent.

“And then there were sardines. The water-preserved ones are a little more tolerable on crackers than the old oil-soaked ones.

“The thing I liked most about both, as a kid, was that we could chew the bones. It made me feel like the giant in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’”

Which reminds me

All this talk about food, more or less, reminds me of this story:

At a meeting in Gonzales where I spoke, I sold a few copies of my then-new book, containing jokes and stories from the ’80s.

Lady Katherine, who put it together for me, chose the name “Best of Smiley,” but then decided a subtitle was needed.

She said that since it consisted of small items, it was a newspaper “appetizer,” before the entree of real news.

So “appetizers” went on the cover.

Just as I was leaving, a lady asked to buy a copy, and I duly signed it for her.

As I was walking out the door, I heard her tell a friend, “I can’t wait to try those appetizers. I just love collecting cookbooks!”

I had taken a few steps before it sank in on me, and when I turned to correct her impression, she was nowhere to be seen.

So I feel I owe that lady, wherever she is, an apology. But not a refund...

Special People Dept.

Millie Gladney (Mrs. William B.), of St. James Place in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 104th birthday on Thursday, April 7.

Mable McCandless, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 94th birthday on Thursday, April 7.

Geneva Davis, of Denham Springs, celebrated her 92nd birthday on Wednesday, April 6.

George Griffith, of Jennings, celebrated his 90th birthday on Wednesday, April 6.

Dale and Kathy Spillman celebrate their 50th anniversary on Thursday, April 7. They’re traveling the country in an Airstream trailer with the Wally Byam Caravan Club International.

Thought for the Day

From Ed Barron: “Beware — moving the Baton Rouge Zoo next to the Capitol may be considered cruelty to animals.”

Well aged

Sam King comments on our Tuesday story about the time capsule from 1939 found at the old Louisiana School for the Deaf building:

“Guess you know you’re old when you were here when they buried a time capsule — and then still here when they unearthed it.”

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.