Dear Smiley: A work associate recently took her elderly mother on a shopping trip to a Walmart near their home.

While in line to check out (with masks), another shopper got in line behind them, standing a little too close for comfort.

My friend asked her mother to move up a little. As they moved forward, so did the “social distance violator.” Again they moved, with the same result.

Out of patience, my friend said in a slightly elevated and aggravated tone, “Move up, Mama — remember, the doctor said you’re still contagious!”

The problem took care of itself in short order.



What's the word?

Dear Smiley: As a child, my oldest daughter regularly used words I wasn't aware were even in the English language.

But occasionally she headed down the wrong path.

One summer during her elementary school years, I picked up my two daughters from summer camp and asked how their day was.

My oldest, the intellectual, quickly belted out, "Dad, it was so hot today I thought I was going to be constipated."

I asked her to repeat it, and she said the exact same thing again, confidently and matter-of-factly.

"Baby," I said sheepishly, "do you mean you were getting dehydrated?"

Her eyes widened, and she was horrified at her blunder.

Then she burst into laughter when she realized what "constipated" meant.



Feathered teetotalers

Dear Smiley: Speaking of old New Orleans beer, my daddy, Gene Lyons, and my uncle, Alfred Ware, were both territory managers for Falstaff.

When Daddy got transferred to Greenville, Mississippi, he spent Sunday nights writing sales reports.

At one point sales suddenly dropped below predictions, and upper management wanted an explanation.

The sales decrease coincided with a new process of weeding cotton fields. Farmers had begun using ducks and geese to pull weeds, replacing field hands who had done it before.

Daddy, in his report, stated, “Ducks just don’t drink beer.”



World's worst gift

Dear Smiley: A legendary story from 1970:

As a high school senior, in an effort to lure a girl away from a football player (I was a band guy), I told her I would buy her anything she wanted.

She said she had always wanted a pet monkey. So, idiot me, I found a spider monkey at a local pet store and brought him home until I could give him to her.

That night, when a friend and I let him out of the cage to play with him, he flew across the room, climbed up the window curtains like King Kong, and starting engaging in typical monkey behavior (edited for content).

We finally got him back in the cage, cleaned up the room, and thanked God my parents weren't home.

The pet store refused to take him back (gee, I wonder why?).

To live up to my word, I gave him to her (could beauty tame the beast?) with a stern warning, "This ain't no pet."

Once her mother got home, he displayed his multifaceted athletic skills for the whole family, escaped from an open front door (conveniently left open, perhaps), and enjoyed a week or so in the trees of the Broadmoor area before his capture.


Baton Rouge

Motivational tool

Dear Smiley: My grandfather’s family business was building service stations. Once when I was about 11 (1964 or so), we transported a monkey from one station to another as a favor to an Esso marketing manager.

He had come up with the bright idea to make the worst performing gas station (as compared to previous month's sales) take care of a monkey for a month. He hoped that would motivate the poorly performing station to work hard and “get the monkey off their back.”

We picked up the monkey and cage at a station near Winnsboro, kept it overnight in a hotel room, and delivered it to a station near Alexandria the next day.

Somewhere there is a photo of me sitting next to the monkey.


Baton Rouge

Dear Don: If that photo was ever published, I sure hope the cutline under it didn't read "Don Garland, left …" 

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.