Dear Smiley: I am sure your readers have seen pictures in the newspaper and on TV of students heading back to school at our universities.

Now I know this is going to date me, but when I see these mountains of boxes and containers standing on the curb waiting for longshoremen or stevedores to carry them to their designated dorm rooms, I remember my freshman year at Eastern Kentucky University.

The only baggage I had was a well-organized suitcase loaded with my basic clothing needs. What is all the stuff students seem to need to make it through about three months away from home?

I was dropped at the curb; my mother reminded me not to be stupid and then drove off.

I should have listened to the "not be stupid" part. Ended up in the Navy after midterms! That is an entirely different story!

RICHARD STAGNOLI

Central

Dear Richard: Well, as the philosopher Merle Haggard puts it, "Mama tried …"

A chilling tale

Dear Smiley: I recently celebrated my 91st birthday. One of my grandchildren said to me, “Gramps, you have seen a lot of changes in your lifetime.”

We discussed some of those changes. The most sudden and drastic change came to me at the age of 14 or 15 years old.

Every morning, with my father, I delivered blocks of ice to iceboxes in homes in our area.

One morning when we got to the ice plant to load up, there were several new appliances on the loading ramp.

They were called "refrigerators."

That was the end of me earning money; but it was, most of all, the beginning of the end of “iceboxes.”

That was the most drastic change of my lifetime!

JEFFERY MEAUX

Abbeville

Dear Jeffery: If that icehouse had refrigerators on the loading ramp because it was getting into the business of selling them, you have to admire the foresight.

Size doesn't matter

Dear Smiley: The recent snake stories brought back this memory.

One morning my wife came downstairs after I had left for work. There was a snake on the kitchen floor.

She tried to call me but couldn't reach me.

To make matters worse, I was remodeling the kitchen at the time and hadn't yet installed the cabinet doors.

Keeping an eye on the snake to be sure he didn't get into the cabinets, she called my brother-in-law to come handle it.

He left it on the carport, and when I got home I looked at it and said, "I thought it would have been bigger."

She replied, "It was IN THE HOUSE! It was IN THE KITCHEN!"

I admitted it was big for a kitchen snake.

J.B. CASTAGNOS

Donaldsonville

Those local names!

Dear Smiley: About your recent mention of Hebert (A-Bear):

We moved to Baton Rouge in 1980. The first time I saw the name "Hebert," I thought someone had left out the "r" and proceeded to pronounce it "Herbert."

It didn't take long for someone to correct me.

JEAN BENGTSON

Baton Rouge

Chapel's mascot

Dear Smiley: When I was on my chaplain assignment at England Air Force Base in Alexandria, we had a resident skunk family burrow near the entry of the chapel.

We were frequently entertained by the response of new families who saw Mamma Skunk for the first time.

Mamma came out and raked the dead grass into her front door burrow. When it was too wet there, she picked each kit up and moved her family to an alternate burrow under the kitchen entry slab at the back of the annex.

GARY E. PENTON

Pineville

Small World Dept.

Dear Smiley: While I was undergoing treatment at the Northside Cancer Institute in Atlanta recently, my caregiver, Cheryl, mentioned that she was there in the waiting room waiting for Eddie Cole from Blairsville.

"I know him!" a woman behind a mask exclaimed. "I've seen his name in Smiley Anders' column twice!"

And thus we met Boo and Barbara Bryant from St. Francisville! Now Boo and I swap LSU stories while social distancing during treatment, while Barbara helps Cheryl adjust to the "new normal" of cancer care!

Thanks, Smiley! You're famous, even in Georgia!

EDDIE COLE

Blairsville, Georgia


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