From our Seasonal Theology Dept. comes this observation from Shelly Strobel:

“Have you noticed that when you say the blessing and give thanks over your first tomato sandwich of the summer … you really, REALLY mean it!”

Southern exposure

Gail Stephenson says, “One of my favorite stories of misheard ‘Southern speak’ occurred while I was clerking for Judge Melvin Shortess at the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.

“Judge Burrell Carter, of Greensburg, stopped by Judge Shortess’s office early one morning.

“In his St. Helena drawl, he asked Lynda, Judge Shortess’s secretary, ‘Is the Mel here yet?’

“Lynda replied, ‘No, Judge, the postman doesn’t usually arrive till around 10.’ ”

And a commandment ...

Bayou Jeau asks “the individual who stole my cellphone and Bible from my car” to “please call me. I have some scriptures to share with you.”

A guy thing

After we made fun of an ad for a vacuum cleaner as a Father’s Day gift, I heard from Mary Pramuk about the kind of cleaner Dad might really enjoy:

“The iRobot Roomba is a self-propelled vacuum that would be a handy gadget a lot of men would like to watch as it sweeps the floor and under furniture.

“And just think what fun he’d have just seeing it run the family cat up the wall, as I once saw in a commercial.”

Same-name blues

Column contributor Richard Guidry, of Zachary, is a victim of a “same name” situation.

A guy with the same name, also from Zachary, was recently arrested. And although the alleged perpetrator is more than 20 years younger, Richard is concerned that some people won’t see this and think it’s him.

This problem pops up from time to time, which is why we run ages and addresses in crime stories — to try to minimize misunderstandings.

I’ve never had that problem, which is one advantage of having an unusual first name — yes, “Smiley” is my real name.

So if you’re planning on being a parent, you might want to consider naming your baby something like Algernon or Oleander to avoid confusion later in life. Or Smiley…

The long climb

“There seems to be much nostalgia about the old Third Street Piccadilly Cafeteria,” says Tom Toddy.

“As yet, no one has mentioned the upstairs restrooms, accessible only by going back out on Third Street and then up a flight of stairs.

“Just as we would get our young son settled in his high chair and his plate served, he would say he had to go to the restroom.

“He liked the activity of climbing those stairs and would pull this ruse every time we ate at the cafeteria.

“We knew he was faking, and he knew he was faking. He also knew that we could not refuse to take him, in the event he was REALLY needing to go!”

Culinary nostalgia

Moffitt Aycock says, “The very best ever roast beef sandwiches were found in the ’60s at the Tiger Lounge near LSU on Highland.

“The German barkeep made them from sauerbraten. If you ordered a beer, they were FREE.”

Darkroom man

Bill Aucoin says, regarding recent stories about the legendary Baton Rouge photographer Fonville Winans, that his dad Wilson Aucoin worked in the darkroom in Fonville’s studio:

“He finally opened his own studio, Wilson’s Photographs, on Florida Boulevard. He passed away in 1972 at age 59.

“The two were probably the best in black-and-white portrait photography and are greatly missed.”

Special People Dept.

  • Charles and Bobbie Wood, of Zachary, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Wednesday, June 25.
  • Callie and Don Smith, of Port Allen, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Wednesday, June 25.

Earworm infestation

They’re called “earworms” — those songs from the past that get stuck in your head and won’t go away.

For instance, right now, I’ve got The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” stuck between my ears.

Which brings us to Bob Downing’s complaint:

“It took decades to get ‘At the beach, at the beach, at Pontchartrain Beach,’ out of my head.

“Then The Advocate had to go run that article about Pontchartrain Beach (on June 18), and now I am thinking of it every day of the week.”

Chance meeting

“Not all hitchhiking stories have happy endings,” says John Bliss Camp:

“When I was 13 or so, living in Mobile, Alabama, a couple of friends and I decided to skip school and enjoy a day in the sun at Gulf Shores.

“As we stood at the entrance of Bankhead Tunnel (long before the interstate), a man offered us a ride.

“Unfortunately, it was my daddy, who also knew the parents of my pals…”

Suffice it to say he was not amused.

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.