Dear Smiley: After I retired and moved back to Westwego, one of my sisters reminded me that New Orleans (including the north shore) was a small town, where everybody knows everybody else’s business.

She reminded me I needed to be careful about what I said and to whom I was saying it.

After driving here from California, I decided to get an oil change. When the people at the oil change place remarked on my California plate, I said I was originally from here but living in California.

I also said I wanted to fix gumbo for supper and needed to pick up some real ingredients.

It turned out the people who owned the oil change place grew up a block away from where I grew up. We introduced ourselves, and had a good laugh about the gumbo story.

About two weeks later, while in church, someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was the Poché girl who got her oil changed at that location.

I had to laugh. Since everyone was going to know my business, I guess it was a good thing I was NOT doing something I should not have been doing.



Cardinal Sin

Dear Smiley: Harry Clark is right about Cardinal Jaime Sin of the Philippines having a great sense of humor.

When I interviewed him in 1974 for my newspaper, he was the archbishop of Manila. The most prominent prelate in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, he was widely expected to be named a cardinal.

But, having the Chinese name of Sin from ancestors who settled in the Philippines, he joked about joining the Sacred College of Cardinals in Rome: “How could the Sacred College admit a sin?”

Pope Paul VI did admit him in 1976.

One of the most respected figures in his country, he played a key role in bringing down the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in 1986.


Baton Rouge

Light show

Dear Smiley: A memory of Kirby Smith dorm:

Attending my first LSU football game as a student in 1972, I got into Tiger Stadium at about 5 p.m. for a 7:30 kickoff.

I turned around and saw that residents of Kirby Smith had spelled out "LSU" in their dorm by turning the correct lights on or off in rooms facing the stadium.

I was impressed with the amount of planning and cooperation of 18-year-old testosterone-filled guys.

I also remember back then, as a resident of West Stadium, Johnston and then Pentagon dorms, that Kirby Smith had air conditioning.


Ville Platte

He's no Hannibal!

Dear Smiley: Last fall we visited Colorado with another couple.

I had been reading that Colorado lamb was superior to Australian and New Zealand lamb. So before our return flight I bought some local lamb, vacuum sealed and frozen.

We went through the TSA checkpoint at the airport with the frozen lamb in a carry-on bag.

The TSA agent pulled the bag from the X-ray and asked if he could inspect the contents. He said they had to make sure there were no human remains inside.

When he saw it was lamb, he said to go to the nearest concession stand and buy some ice so it would last all the way back to Florida.


Destin, Florida

Well named

Dear Smiley: I had a neighbor who recently moved to Florida. He is a Lutheran pastor. His name: Gary Faith.



Growth industry

Dear Smiley: It upsets me a lot when I read in your column that farmers misspell the fruit of their hard work. (Stories about signs offering "red patoes" and "sapsumers" at produce stands.)

You college boys should visit the produce departments and see the work of the genius farmers.

Two of my uncles were farmers, and helped feed the world. They may not have known how to spell "potatoes," but they knew how to produce beautiful veggies that you college boys enjoy.

You college boys should get off their backs and pick on your own.



Sweet talk

Dear Smiley: Here is an Easter haiku: 

Easter time is here.

It’s a chocolate nightmare!

Dentist anyone?



Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.