Dear Smiley: I watched the Miss USA pageant because it was from Baton Rouge.

Normally, as a 55-year-old woman, I would not tune into a program that has so many parallels to horse-trading.

However, I was wowed by how our south Louisiana culture was portrayed and was moved by some of the ladies’ stories.

The best moment was the uncredited second when Mayor-President Kip Holden was jamming with the ladies.

I’ve never seen him look so happy!

But why do the girls have to keep telling their ages? For me that was just rubbing it in.



No thumb needed

Dear Smiley: Your musing about the disappearance of hitchhiking brought back great memories of traveling in the late ’50s.

Hitchhiking was how I often got around Baton Rouge and traveled from home to Louisiana College in Pineville and back.

My dad would drive me to the Mississippi River bridge (the ONLY bridge at the time!) and drop me off.

It would only be a matter of minutes before someone gave me a ride west and dropped me off on the road to Alexandria, where I’d quickly get another ride.

Sometimes there would be another hitchhiker or two already on board, so the first question was “Where ya goin’?” and the second question was “Where ya from?”

On occasion, you didn’t even have to stick out your thumb, because people back then would see you walking on the side of the road, stop, open their door, lean out and ask, “Need a ride?”

A free ride and meeting new people! What more could a guy ask for?


Denham Springs

Proud to be a pill

Dear Smiley: I was in Navy boot camp in San Diego, Company 405, from October to December 1972.

The 80 ragtag swabbies were led by our company commander, Bosun Mate Chief C.E. Carter.

We proudly called ourselves “Carter’s Pills.”

When we graduated on Dec. 8. 1972, we presented Chief Carter with a flag displaying a cartoonish caricature of him, our inclusive dates as members of his company and our proud name — CARTER’S PILLS.

I detected a little mist in his eyes. Thanks for the memories.


retired chief, U.S. Navy

Picayune, Mississippi

Pet Peeve Dept.

Dear Smiley: While you’re on the subject of words wrongfully used, I’d like to add my pet peeve: using YOUR instead of YOU’RE.

I’ve seen college graduates use this (on a resume, at that).

They taught us better at Istrouma.



Slim duffer

Dear Smiley: Some suggestions for your reader Ellis Bordelon on ways to reduce his rotund tummy:

1. Reduce your intake of suds to a half-case daily.

2. Walk at least 9 of every 18 holes.

3. Carry your clubs.

4. Avoid companions who lead you into temptation.



Dear Jack: But then who will he play golf with?

Egg-citing times

Dear Smiley: The namesake of the Red Goose Bar and Lounge in Thibodaux was the Red Goose shoe store that occupied the building prior to it becoming a bar.

I wonder how many of your more mature readers remember the Red Goose line of children’s shoes, popular during the ’50s and ’60s?

Maybe someone can describe their experience with pulling on the neck of the plastic red goose near the cash register after making a purchase.

A wonderful prize magically appeared in a golden egg.



Weighty topic

Dear Smiley: I have noticed that my weight seems to work like gas prices.

In a period of a few days, it will for no apparent reason suddenly jump up.

Then, using my standard diet plan (drink less, move around more) it takes weeks to go down again; but it never quite reaches the previous level.

If this keeps up, they will have to bury me in a refrigerator crate.



Tasty treat?

Dear Smiley: About your mention of Castoria:

I have memories of Castoria as tasting so good — sort of like root beer — that it had to be kept on a high shelf to keep kids from getting into it for “fun.”

On the other hand, when I was in grade school in Florida in the early ’50s, we were given a daily cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice with a spoonful of cod liver oil mixed in.

Healthy, but very hard to swallow!


New Orleans

Dear Gail: As I recall, Castoria had a licorice taste … but I’d never, ever confuse it with root beer.

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.