Dear Smiley: At my water aerobics class one morning, my friend Mary told me that several years ago, her husband told her, "You say 'What?' all the time. Go get your hearing checked."

Sure enough, Mary needed hearing aids, and she got them.

Recently, Mary noticed that her husband was saying, "What?" all the time and realized he needed a hearing check also.

"I think you have a bit of a problem," she told him.

"I do," he said. "First you can't hear me, now you mumble all the time."



'Say what?' Part II

Dear Smiley: About misunderstandings:

We had dear neighbors Linda and Larry Lemoine (Larry is now deceased). Larry was having trouble hearing things correctly.

He was digging through the closet one day, and Linda asked what he was looking for. He said he was looking for a certain pair of pants.

"Oh, I gave them to Goodwill," she said.

He thought for a moment and said, "Who the hell is Lucille?"

We all had a good laugh over this, and Linda and I still do to this day.


Pierre Part

Meet Mrs. Right

Dear Smiley: Age is taking a toll on my memory, and I should know better than to try to correct my loving and patient wife of 55 years.

Frequently, I have been persistent, stubborn and loud when I think I’m right.

Only when the truth is known do I hear her quiet, sweet voice saying, “It’s OK to be wrong, but you don’t need to be so adamantly wrong.”


Columbia, Tennessee

Shortage of Smiths

Dear Smiley: Since we are on the topic of languages, would you kindly inform your obit editor that it is not necessary to differentiate the obituaries as "Baton Rouge Area" or "Acadiana Area"; the names perform that task.

In all my exploring and attending college in my beloved 51st state of the union, Southwest Louisiana, I don’t recall ever meeting anyone named Smith or Jones.



A fair remembered

Dear Smiley: Peggy Duffel Simmons' story about the South Louisiana State Fair in Donaldsonville brought back old memories.

The fair, which started in 1913 and ended in 1962, was held the first Thursday through Sunday of October. The fireworks display was the largest in Louisiana.

Nationally famous performers provided free acts. I remember aerialists, wire artists, skaters and animal acts.

High school bands from 18 parishes competed. School buses would come from all areas of south Louisiana.

Over the years, the South Louisiana State Fair brought joy and excitement to many people who attended.


White Castle

What common language?

Dear Smiley: Many years ago, I was watching the inspection of the Queen's Guard before they proceeded to Buckingham Palace for the ceremony of the changing of the guard.

An Englishman near me was explaining the activity to an apparent guest of his. He completed his explanation by stating that the guards' hats were 30 pounds.

Barbara Davis, a young lady in our group, exclaimed, "My, that's heavy."

The English gentleman turned to her and, in utter frustration, exclaimed, "Madam, that's not how much they weigh, that's how much they cost."


Baton Rouge

Acquired taste

Dear Smiley: I was disturbed to see the phrase “finest lutefisk" in your Wednesday column. That’s akin to describing a shark attack as "charmingly enthusiastic."

You stated that you don’t know what lutefisk (dried fish preserved in lye) tastes like. I had a mouthful at Thanksgiving 47 years ago in the company of a dozen grinning Norwegians. I can still recall the taste and (shudder) texture vividly. 

You know the slime that hardhead catfish leave behind on everything they touch? Just scrape together a few ounces of that into an empty turpentine can, put it in the fridge for a couple months, and you have a pretty close approximation.

Bon appétit!

By the way, "Ole and Lena" (the name of the Wisconsin restaurant serving lutefisk) is the Nordic "Boudreaux and Thibodeaux."


Former Minnesotan

Baton Rouge

Dear Tom: So let me see if I understand you. You're saying you don't care for lutefisk all that much — is that correct?  

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.