Sam Raney tells of the educational experience of a thoughtless driver:

“In the 1980s I worked on Government Street for the old Gulf States Utilities, and many of us would gather at the Baton Rouge Frostop for lunch.

“There was a table in the back room where we could meet and eat, as we knew the owner. Several City Police officers would join us.

“One motorcycle officer was late one day, and when he arrived he explained that he had escorted a funeral.

“One impatient driver tried to pull out in the middle of the procession of cars, and when he did, the officer rode up beside him and asked if he knew the deceased.

“The man said no, he was just in a hurry.

“The officer told him to turn on his blinkers, as he was going to the cemetery with the rest of the fine people. He made him go to the grave site, get out and stay for the funeral. I hope lesson learned.”

Playing with possums

A number of our possum stories involve dogs who pick up the critters, evidently to play with them (unlike cats, who don’t seem to care for the nocturnal marsupials).

— Jim Ehrlicher, of Baton Rouge, says Sadie, a boxer/lab, was on the sun porch when he came home from work early one morning, with what he thought was Toulouse the cat:

“In the semi-darkness, I reached down and patted Sadie on the head and stroked Toulouse, who felt unusually slobbery.”

The “cat” turned out to be a possum, who appeared dead. Jim swept the beast into a trash can and tied up the plastic liner.

Later, when he went to put out the trash, he discovered that the possum had been playing possum.

He says, “My wife Shirley walked up and asked what I was doing, calmly reached into the can, picked him up by his tail and gently dropped him over the fence. I’d rather not say what she called me.”

— Carol Stutzenbecker says her sister had the same experience with a boxer and a possum. After the “dead” critter went into the trash, it came back to life:

“Baby possum was taken outside, and it just walked away.”

— With Charlotte Binnings, it was a dachshund, Rocky, who brought in a possum through the doggie door:

“One night we heard a loud crash, and when my husband Mike went to check, he found Drew Brees’s picture off the mantle and our flying pig statue on the hearth with flaming eyes.

“Mike ran outside to our boat, grabbed the net, scooped up the scared possum and threw him out in our backyard.

“Now we close the doggie door at night.”

A Southern thing

B.J. Gowdy agrees with the reader who objects to the greeting “You guys,” on the grounds that it’s un-Southern:

“If we wanted our kids talking like that, we would ship them off to boarding school in California or up north.”

B.J. also dislikes kids dropping the “Mr.” or “Mrs.” when addressing adults.

“All of us Southern women need to be on guard for all the foreign words and expressions creeping into our culture...our innocent kids are listening.

“I love everyone, but there is no reason to drop our gentle kids will be yelling at us, ‘Hey you!’

Thank-you note

“I would like extend a very large ‘merci beaucoup’ to the Entergy repair crews that restored the power to my home during the recent severe thunderstorms,” says Ralph Drouin, of Baton Rouge. “My electricity was restored within an hour and a half of the initial outage. They are greatly appreciated.”

(And with hurricane season upon us, I have a feeling we’ll be thanking these folks again at some point...)

Special People Dept.

— Ida LeBlanc, of Williamsburg Senior Living Community in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 102nd birthday on Thursday, June 2. She is a retired nurse from Port Allen.

— John and Janelle Richard, of Brusly, celebrate their 57th anniversary on Thursday, June 2.

For the birds

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, “In order to clean up the mess around my house and the oak trees that line my driveway as a result of a recent storm, I rented a manlift and a Bobcat loader.

“I asked the delivery guy to give me a brief primer on the operation of the machinery. He said, ‘It’s quite simple, it’s a poule d’eau.’”

When Tony asked what that meant, he explained, “You PULL a lever and then you see what it DO!”

A doggone mess

Pat Alba, of Metairie, says the comic strip “For Better or For Worse” in a recent Advocate, about a dog riding through a car wash, reminded her of a similar real-life incident — and why dogs in cars should wear seat belts:

“When my friend Gary took his miniature poodle Taz (short for Tasmanian devil) through the car wash, the dog jumped on the driver’s side door panel and lowered the window. Blue foam covered everything...”

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.