Recently, after I donned my new seersucker suit (a gift from my loving spouse), I wondered about how long I could wear it without hearing from the fashion police, since it’s a summer garment.

I just got the answer from an article by Errol Laborde, editor of New Orleans Magazine.

He says this very topic came up at Galatoire’s, when some gents attired in seersucker or white linen pondered the season for their summer suits. (I think there’s a rule that a guy can’t be a lawyer or conduct business in New Orleans if he doesn’t wear a seersucker or white suit.)

They figured the “Memorial Day to Labor Day” rule for summer wear should be changed to conform to New Orleans weather, since it’s quite likely to be stifling well before Memorial Day and well after Labor Day.

Errol proposed this: “Expand the season for seersucker and white suits to Oct. 30, the day before Halloween.”

He said the season for summer wear in New Orleans should start at Easter rather than Memorial Day, “not only because it is earlier, but also because no one wears a suit on Memorial Day anyway.”

Sounds like a plan...

A gator site?

Thanks to Dot Cooke, of Metairie, for pointing out a little story in the Monday New Orleans Advocate by Faimon A. Roberts III:

Headlined “Gators lead to confusing diction in Mandeville,” it told of signs warning visitors to the harbor that an alligator has been “sited” in the area.

Faimon noted that “siting” is a form of the verb “to site,” which means “to place in or provide with a site: locate.”

He went on to observe that since “it seems unlikely that Mandeville leaders meant to suggest they placed the alligator near the harbor,” the sign probably should have warned of an alligator “sighting.”

Swift reaction

If you’re not familiar with them, Tom Swifties are a form of terrible puns, such as “‘Who will sharpen this pencil?’ Tom asked pointedly,” or “‘This Model T is hard to start,’ Tom said crankily.”

A Prairieville reader signing himself “The Vermont Catamount” says he was reading my first book, “Best of Smiley” (a Father’s Day gift), when “I came upon some Tom Swifties, which I had completely forgotten about.

“I have come up with a couple myself:

“‘I regret leaving my plane in mid-air,’ the pilot said dejectedly.

“‘I don’t know which fireworks to buy,’ the boy said confusingly.”

Thanks for reminding me why I stopped running Tom Swifties years ago...

Best of the worst

Thumbing through my book for Tom Swifties, I came across two that I actually thought were pretty good:

From Richard A. Kaplan: “‘I think I’ll push this criminal off the roof,’ Tom said condescendingly.”

From C.W. Thomas: “‘This bouquet needs more flowers,’ said Tom lackadaisically.”

She takes the cake

Buddy Knox says this about the mention in Friday’s column of Betty Weber, “The Cake Lady.”

He says Betty, in addition to bringing cakes and other baked treats to Baton Rouge fire stations, was famous for her cakes at their church functions and other special occasions:

“My favorite was her pistachio-almond cake. My wife and I volunteered at the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center for many years, and got Betty to bake a pistachio-almond cake for a function at the center.

“One of the attendees brought her son, who was in training for the Baton Rouge Fire Department. The minute he walked in and saw that cake on the table, he recognized it as one of Betty Weber’s cakes, and said ‘Oh, the Cake Lady is here?’

“Betty is a blessing to many organizations in Baton Rouge.”

(Seconding the motion is Zachary firefighter Clint Anders, who told me on Sunday, “That lady can sure bake!” Being my grandson, he knows good eating...)

Special People Dept.

— Rebecca Adolph Elsensohn, a New Orleans native now living in Walker, celebrated her 97th birthday on Sunday, June 19.

— Charles “Bill” Hebert, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 90th birthday on Wednesday, June 22. He is a World War II veteran.

— Dorothy and Victor Blanchard III, of Plaquemine, celebrate their 53rd anniversary on Wednesday, June 22.

Drinking problem

Judy B., of Metairie, recalls “an incident in driver’s ed when I was in high school.

“The instructor asked me how much alcohol had to be in your blood for you to be dead.

“I looked at the book and missed the decimal point. ‘50 percent?’ I said.

“He said, ‘50 percent? You would not only be dead — you would be embalmed!’”

Weather report

From our seasonal poet Francis Celino, The Metairie Miscreant:

“Spring has sprung

Fall has fell

Summer’s here

And it is hot as usual.”

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.