Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, “Your mention of a later-day cigarette rolling machine ‘without’ Prince Albert had me reflect on a young man I met on the beach in Aruba.

“He was walking several dogs and tossing a ball into the surf for them to retrieve. I inquired as to what kind of dogs they were. He said, ‘Mixed breeds,’ and also stated that he had a total of 15 dogs.

“I told him he needed to work just to feed his pets. He said, ‘I don’t work, man; I make people happy.’

“I said, ‘Really, how do you do that?’

“He said, ‘I practice a little bit of medicine,’ at which point he showed me a leather pouch around his neck — which gave me cause to quickly bid him adieu!”

Prince of a smoke

Arthur McEnany, of Madisonville, says, “I, too, remember those cigarette rolling machines. By the way, who is Prince Albert?”

Glad you asked, Arthur.

The tobacco is named after the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, who became King Edward VII in 1901 when his mother, Queen Victoria, died.

As the story goes, the American tobacco mogul R.J. Reynolds himself secured the portrait of the prince that appears on the can, ­at a tea party attended by Mark Twain.

Trust the Swiss

Our mention of the high-rise gondola ride across the Mississippi River at the 1984 World Exposition in New Orleans got this response from H. Peter Bisgaard:

“I first arrived in New Orleans in 1982 as a consular officer at the Danish Consulate, and was involved in a few events at the fair.

“However, when the Swiss consul general told me he would not embark on the trip over the river on the gondola, I figured he knew something I did not — so needless to say, I did not go there!”

Pay to pray

Evelyn Boutte comments on the Feb. 16 story of the first-time church usher who got in trouble for seating people in pews where they didn’t want to sit:

“I had not thought for years of the fact that at one time people owned their pews in church. Your pew was bought and paid for, and every time you went to church you sat there.

“Our family pew was third from the front. All the pews had numbers and little gates on them.

“This was in the ’30s, Depression time for the country, so I guess the churches had to make money somehow.

“I never wondered, being very small, where the people who could not afford a pew sat. Did they have to stand or were there pews in the back for them?”

Smooth operator

Sue Conran says, “Val Garon’s story of being asked for ID when purchasing liquor brought to mind a similar incident that happened to me.

“A number of years ago we were in Shreveport for a weekend conference of the Elks. I was on my own, so I decided to make a small donation to one of the casinos.

“I was behind a young couple who were asked for ID by the young man at the entrance.

“He then asked me for mine. I replied, ‘You’re kidding, right?’ He said, ‘No ma’am, you don’t look old enough to be here.’

“I produced my ID, and told him, ‘You, young man, are a silver-tongued devil!’ We had a good laugh.”

Pet Peeves Dept.

Ronnie Melancon, of Gretna, dislikes two phrases that needlessly inflate conversations: “And with that being said...” and “Going forward...”

Special People Dept.

Walter Beyer, of Metairie, celebrates his 98th birthday on Wednesday, March 2. He served on the submarine USS Bowfin in World War II.

Elsie Faye Polito’s 90th birthday was Tuesday, March 1. She’ll celebrate the milestone on Sunday, March 6, with a party at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denham Springs.

Frank and Juanita Thomas, of Gonzales, celebrate their 65th anniversary on Wednesday, March 2.

Thought for the Day

From Richard Guidry, of Zachary: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears...bears will kill you.”

Wrong wine

John Carver, of Lacombe, says he erred when he wrote that the lack of a corkscrew kept him and his bride from enjoying “Champagne” on their honeymoon.

He made his confession in an epic poem, part of which goes like this:

Alas, alack, I must retract

My words the other day

Of the corkscrew I did lack

On our first whole married day...

One thing for sure (that’s no manure!)

That I remember well,

A corkscrew could be the only cure

That would ring the bell.

As I reflect I recollect

Champagne I did not embrace;

So this, you see, was incorrect:

Twas a bottle from Alsace.

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.