Dear Smiley: About kids running away from home:
My runaway informed me he was running away from home because he was tired of being the middle child, doing chores and having a baby brother he didn't ask for.
I told him we could discuss the chores, but I couldn't take back his baby brother, and he was no way the middle child. I have four boys, and if anything he was a semi-middle boy because he was second to last.
I told him if he waited a few years, his two older brothers would be gone and he would jump to top brother.
That didn't faze him. He packed his Star Wars people and Spiderman and was going out the door. I said goodbye, and hoped he would find a nice family where he was the No. 1 kid.
I began cooking supper. After less than 2 minutes he returned, saying he forgot it was suppertime and he was hungry, plus it was getting dark so he decided to go tomorrow.
That was 40 years ago. Now every time he complains about his kids and how stubborn they are, I remind him: "ONE DAY YOUR KIDS WILL DO TO YOU WHAT YOU DID TO ME!"
The boys from Wink
Dear Smiley: I was watching the latest miniseries by Ken Burns about country music and heard something familiar — that Roy Orbison grew up in Wink, Texas.
I perked up at the mention of Wink. One doesn’t hear about Wink very often, but my memory recognized it as the home of LSU economics professor Loren Scott.
Any of his students certainly remember Wink being introduced into his lectures with great humor.
Now when I hear "Wink, Texas," there will always be two great names in my mind — Roy Orbison and Loren Scott; but definitely not in that order.
JOHN M. "MIKE" PROCTOR
Dear Smiley: Below is a followup to hard-to-pronounce names from a few days ago:
I worked with an interesting fellow decades ago, Henry Landry. He was a Navy fighter pilot in the Pacific in World War II.
We both worked with Surassak Supatanasinsem and three other fellows from Thailand. As I recall, all of them graduated from LSU and were huge LSU sports fans.
Henry was a clever, humorous and inventive guy. He had a problem pronouncing Surassak's name. But he solved it very quickly by using a string of familiar words:
"Sew a sock. Soup pot tonight, sink or swim."
Say it without hesitation and it comes out sounding very much like Surassak's full name!
Dear Smiley: My daughter Abigail is 8 years old. She is a constant source of material for my Facebook news feed.
This discussion about supper happened one recent Friday evening. Abigail was pleading her case for Taco Bell:
"But Daddy, my heart really wants some fast food!"
Her daddy responded with, "I'd rather your heart wanted Jesus to come live in it."
Abigail didn't miss a beat: "But it does! My heart wants Jesus AND fast food!"
TAMMY TATE VANVECKHOVEN
Hear no evil
Dear Smiley: My tactic for getting back at telemarketers is just the opposite of saying nothing.
From the time I answer the call, when they start talking, I just keep repeating in a loud voice, "HELLO, HELLO, HELLO, HELLO."
They eventually hang up. Then I block the phone number.
Dear Ricky: As I've gotten older, I find I use the "Hello, hello …" answering method on most calls, and not just ones from telemarketers. And I'm not doing it on purpose, either …
Double bad luck
Dear Smiley: Just after reading the tongue-in-cheek comments in your column about the crime wave in Kalispell, Montana (which I had never heard of before), I picked up the September 23-30 "Money" issue of Sports Illustrated and, on page 98, read about Lex Hilliard, a Miami Dolphins football player, losing his investment in a Kalispell pawnshop.
Dear Joe: Wow, the poor guy. Sad that he lost his money; but what's worse, he plays for the Dolphins!