Dear Smiley: Someone recently sent me a photo of Republican and Democratic legislators attempting to “make harmony” at the Governor’s Mansion a few hours after sine die adjournment.

By the color and abundance of the Republican piano player’s hair, I can approximate that the photo was taken sometime in the mid 1980s. (I was either playing "You Are My Sunshine" or a Fats Domino tune.)

I thought I’d share the story with you and your readers as visual proof that there was, indeed, a time when politicians of different parties could work together — even if the result was bad music.


New Orleans

Christmas critters 

Dear Smiley: Your mention of possums the other day made me remember a "Christmas Possum" story.

When our four girls were small, they asked for a kitten for Christmas. We had a dog and didn’t want a kitten.

But on Christmas Eve, as we were heading to Mass, the girls found a newborn kitten lying and shivering on our porch.

The kitten was so weak we knew he wouldn’t make it, but we put him in a shoebox with warm blankets in their playhouse outside.

When we got home from Mass, the girls ran to the playhouse. They were greeted by a big, scary possum about to grab the kitty.

We scared the possum away, but the girls were very upset. I tried to calm them down by telling them it was a visit from the "Christmas Possum," who came every Christmas Eve to check on all the little animals.

On Christmas morning, they ran down to see the tiny kitten, but he had passed away. So we had a funeral for him.

Of all the presents Santa brought, the little kitty was the most important to them. And every year after that, they left carrots for the Christmas Possum, who was checking on all the little animals on Christmas Eve.



Buffer brother

Dear Smiley: While waiting for the new year, I began thinking about the past and my childhood.

One of the things I remembered was how my mom made us wax the floors in our house, which was pretty much open to the elements. We would apply Johnson Paste Wax (yellow can), and then in order to buff the floor my older brother and I would put our younger brother on an old towel and pull him around the room.

When my mom was satisfied with the shine, we usually put up our Christmas tree, a cedar my dad cut along the many fence lines on our property.

There weren’t many gifts, but there was the celebration and, of course, midnight Mass.



Ice truck kids

Dear Smiley: My aunt, Myrtle Mathilde (“Tetite,” for petite) LeBlanc, lived in Smoke Bend, along the River Road above Donaldsonville, from 1902 to 1991.

In or about 1915, a Mr. Casso had a flatbed ice truck, and would make early morning deliveries to stores and homes in Smoke Bend, McCall, Modeste and above.

He would return to Donaldsonville with his empty truck at about 7 a.m., picking up the Smoke Bend school kids, carrying them under contract with the School Board in the open flatbed.

The Donaldsonville kids would howl at the sight, some throwing rotten tomatoes at the truck.

Aunt Tetite to her death carried a grudge against the boys, even against their whole families, for throwing those tomatoes!



Competing carnivores

Dear Smiley: Several months ago I was puppy sitting an 80-plus-pound black lab, Sadie (who turned 2 on Dec. 14).

I was working at my desk and Sadie disappeared. After a few minutes I went looking for her.

She wasn’t on my bed looking out the window, but in the kitchen. She had a full, but very guilty, look on her face. The three-pound roast I had set out to season before I cooked it was gone!

Her owners said she smelled of roast for a week after she went home.

Luckily, I had a ham steak to cook for my supper that night.



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.