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Dear Smiley: I received an email from listing "10 Baby Girl Names That Used to Be Popular."

One entry reads: "Ida: This classic name was the 7th-most-popular female name during the 1880s, but then slipped into disuse in subsequent decades."

I don't think it will be moving up the list anytime soon.


Baton Rouge

Grateful refugee

Dear Smiley: A big thanks to the lady in the grocery store in Lafayette who offered me money when she found out we evacuated from Gretna.

People from Lafayette are so generous. I asked that she donate it to her favorite charity.

We were dressed down after our arrival, and probably looked pitiful!



Current topics

Dear Smiley: The greeting after Katrina: "How much water did you have?"

Now it looks like: "How much wind did you have? How did your roof do? How long without power?"



'I ain't quaint!'

Dear Smiley: Speaking of language differences in a foreign country:

Several years ago my wife and were in a bar in California with friends enjoying adult beverages when a little old lady with a syrupy smile tapped me on the shoulder.

She said, "You have such a quaint accent."

I replied, "Really? All this time I thought you were the one talking funny."

She wheeled around, collected her sweater and her husband, and left the bar without saying goodbye. Kinda rude, wouldn't you say?



Cheerful hostility

Dear Smiley: Our small north Louisiana school (Start High in Richland Parish) didn't have football or cheerleaders.

But after the girls' basketball team played and got in the bleachers for the boys' game, they would belt out some pretty good cheers.

A favorite was, "Go back, go back to woods; your team ain't got no spirit and your coach is no good."

They were a feisty bunch.


Baton Rouge

Religious wars

Dear Smiley: When I went to Behrman High School in Algiers in the '50s, our arch rival was Holy Name of Mary School in Algiers Point.

We had a special fight song for the annual game, sung to the melody of the traditional funeral dirge:

"Holy Name, the Behrman Bees are after you today,

Our advice for you is to get on your knees and pray.

Oh, how we will beat you,

Oh, how we’ll defeat you.

Holy Name, the Behrman Bees are after you today."



Yard sculptures

Dear Smiley: Way back in 1971, I bought a red MG. The engine was frozen, and the selling price was one week's pay, $55.

My dad and I towed it from Baton Rouge to Prairieville with a rope and a prayer. Over the next few weeks, I pulled the engine using a winch hooked to a clothesline pole (remember those?).

I put the engine back together, but never got it running.

The next summer, my brother and I found a Triumph TR3 for sale. It ran, but needed lots of work.

Both sports cars sat in my mom and dad's yard for a couple of years, until Mom gave us an ultimatum — sell them or she would have them towed off.

I can truthfully say I owned two sports cars, but I can't say I enjoyed the experience.



The hammer method

Dear Smiley: In 1975, I decided my reliable 5-year-old VW with 125,000 miles was past its prime. I bought a new British racing green Triumph Spitfire.

When it ran well well, it was a joy. When it didn't (which was most of the time), it was a freak show. I replaced the brake master cylinder twice, and got into the habit of keeping a hammer in the trunk to kickstart the starter.

After a year-and-a-half, we parted company. I still miss my VW.


New Iberia

Alternate truth

Dear Smiley: A very old man and a middle-aged fellow showed up at the theater's ticket window.

The elderly gent said, "An adult ticket for me, and a child's ticket for my son here."

"How old are you, son?" asked the ticket-taker.

"I'm 17."

"Do you know, son," asked the ticket-taker sternly, "what happens to people who lie?"

"Yes sir. They get in for half price."



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.