Dear Smiley: When I read the saying, “Everybody is brave until the roach flies,” in your column, I remembered a winter when we exchanged our house for a studio apartment in New York City.

One day I was waiting outside the building to see our daughter on the school bus. Other parents were also waiting, huddled in a doorway away from the freezing cold.

A woman said, “You’re new here; where are you from?"

When I said “Louisiana,” she asked, “How big are the roaches?”

Needless to say, I did not appreciate the question, although we had been advised that residents were trying to rid the building of New York's tiny roaches.

I seized the opportunity and said, “Well, the biggest ones are like this big" — spreading two fingers and probably overestimating size.

Then, getting everyone's attention, I said, “AND THEY CAN FLY!”

Everyone gasped, and I’m sure somebody squealed.

Can you imagine saying "Louisiana" and all she knew to ask about was the size of our cockroaches? (I had a real roach horror story, but the bus came just in time.)

MARY PRAMUK

Baton Rouge

Not draft age

Dear Smiley: The article in your column about the old bar trick of foam on top or bottom of a mug of draft beer reminded me of my recently deceased friend, John L. Burt.

A bar in Napoleonville, Ulysses’ Bar, was patronized by young and old alike. The drawing card was frozen mugs of draft beer poured by the bartenders.

My friend Johnny, who was way below the legal drinking age, decided he would walk into the establishment, go up to the bar and order a beer.

He had seen the signs on the outside of the building advertising "ice cold draught beer."

He did just that; however, instead of a draft he ordered a DRAUT — and was summarily tossed out to the sidewalk and advised not to return until he could legally drink a DRAFT!

TONY FALTERMAN

Napoleonville

Hog wild

Dear Smiley: Husband Billy and I decided to challenge ourselves by primitive tent camping (no bathrooms, no running water).

Feral hogs attacked our belongings during the night.

At daybreak, we laughed about what a funny story this would make — until we discovered they had opened and eaten our Community Coffee!

We jumped in our car and headed to town to get our morning fix, deciding we are not as tough as we thought.

Still trying to figure out how they did it; I can’t even open that vacuum seal with scissors.

JUDY S. COLLINS

Baton Rouge

Sweet talking

Dear Smiley: I heard on the radio one morning that coffee can cause heart problems.

My wife and I made some humorous remarks about it as we were getting out of the car.

One comment we made was that the coffee was probably OK by itself, but chemicals in fertilizer and insect repellent were the problem.

Unless it is organic, there’s probably going to be some chemicals in whatever we eat or drink.

Here’s something I witnessed a few years ago when I first moved to New Iberia.

While working as an air traffic control contractor at Acadiana Regional Airport in 2004 or 2005, nearing sugarcane harvest time, a helicopter crop duster approached from the north requesting permission to come in and spray the fields on and around the airport.

I gave him permission, and asked what was he spraying so late in the season?

He replied, “Sweetener.”

I said, “What is that?”

He said, "I’m spraying the cane to make it think it is dying. The cane will then pull in more nutrients from the soil, and that will make it sweeter."

I said to myself, “Wow, this old city boy from Cleveland, Ohio, is learning fast."

WILLIE PRICE

New Iberia

The big detour

Dear Smiley: About "train stop" stories:

Your "athletic supporter" runners will remember a certain Great River Road Run in Baton Rouge where some of us (including myself) had the fortune to be in the front group ahead of a train that crossed the course and forced some creative detours for several thousand runners.

T-BOB TAYLOR

Panama City Beach, Florida


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.