John Engelsman, our correspondent covering the War Between the Sexes, sends this dispatch from the front:

“In the battle of the sexes in our house, Cathi has taken a commanding lead and is on the verge, I’m afraid, of ‘10-run ruling’ me.

“A month or so ago, I announced that I intended to grow a beard. She slowly shook her head sideways and said emphatically that it was a bad idea and that a beard would make me look older.

“Nonsense, I confidently replied. Well, I quit shaving and began to think my new beard made me look distinguished.

“Then a cleaning lady came last week and burst my bubble with a loud bang. I had just introduced myself to her when she said that she had been to the house once before and spoken to my daughter.

“I replied through clenched teeth that I had no daughter, and the person with whom she had spoken was my wife.

“When I told the story to Cathi, she didn’t say a word. Her triumphant smile said it all: ‘I told you so!’”

No way to win

Another dispatch from the front, from Doug Johnson, of Watson:

“A letter in the column ‘Annie’s Mailbox’ gave advice about ending arguments: end them by agreeing that the other person is right. Years ago I heard the same advice during a seminar about supervising workers. If the argument doesn’t address something important, just end it this way, and no harm is done.

“When I returned home, it was not long before my wife du jour started to argue with me about something silly. I remembered the advice and decided to give it a shot.

“‘OK,’ I said, ‘after thinking about it, I see that I am wrong and you are right.’

“She had a shocked look, as if I had thrown a dish at her! After the third time I agreed with her, she got real huffy and refused to talk anymore.”

Memories of boudin

The death of iconic Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme reminds me of the time I judged a cooking contest in Washington (the one in St. Landry Parish) with him. It was put on by his sister Enola, also a great cook.

Most of the dishes were fancy ones, bright and pretty. Unfortunately, they didn’t taste as good as they looked.

The last dish was a solitary link of boudin. It wasn’t pretty, but it was delicious.

I had already decided to defer to Chef Paul in this contest, and I was surprised when he asked me what I thought was the best dish. The boudin, I said. Again to my surprise, he agreed.

This gave me the opportunity for some major name-dropping from then on: “Well, Chef Paul and I thought...”

Nice People Dept.

C. Hewitt Underwood, of Denham Springs, says, “On a recent Delta flight to Colorado (birthday gift from son and daughter-in-law), I wore my World War II cap, a gift from a friend. When an attendant approached to take my lunch order, I said I wouldn’t be ordering. She then let me know that a gentleman up front wished to buy my lunch. I couldn’t properly thank him, since he wished to remain anonymous.

“When we had to shorten our visit due to problems caused by altitude, airline employees went beyond the call of duty to meet our needs. I am always impressed by the kindness and generosity put forth by so many people. We are blessed to live in this great country!”

Not over yet

Phil Soesbe thought column readers had proved to his skeptical friend that there were indeed hedges in Tiger Stadium at one time:

But, says Phil, “my friend (the one who is never wrong) has hedged his bet. He now says they weren’t there when he was at LSU in the late ’70s.

“I could only find a picture from 1968. Are there any Smiley old-timers who can remember when they last saw them — or any youngsters who know how to search the Web better than me?”

Special People Dept.

Lt. Col. Phil and Corinne St. Amant celebrate 75 years of marriage on Monday, Oct. 12.

Harvey and Frances Davis, of Baker, celebrate 72 years of marriage on Monday, Oct. 12.

Doveal and Henry Leroy Essex celebrated their 70th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 11. She is a retired professor of education at Southern University and he is a retired administrator of the East Baton Rouge school system.

The littlest analyst

Craig M. Bennett, of Morgan City, says, “My grandson, Aidan Treser, 9 years old, and his brothers are driven to school every day in New Orleans by their mother.

“One Monday last school year, she was having a bad day — running late, needed gas, traffic and whatever else happens on Monday!

“When she pulled into the station for gas, she put the back window down to talk to her boys. Aidan, noticing she was having a bad day, said, ‘Mom, you know that you are like a math book.’

“She said, ‘Why would you say that?’

“‘Cause you got problems,’ he said.”

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.