Dear Smiley: My wife told me she wasn't going to read the article in The Advocate where the gubernatorial candidates revealed their country music favorites.

She said that once she knew who liked what, it would probably ruin a lot of perfectly good country music songs for her.



Dear Paul: I won't spoil it for her, except to say that the candidate who picked George Jones knows old-time country. George's "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is the best crying-in-your-beer song since "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." And since I'm not running for anything, my favorite country singer is Ray Charles.

The armadillo war

Dear Smiley: Your item about attempts to trap armadillos brought back some memories.

When we moved into our residence 20 years ago, we made sure that the backyard was fenced to prevent our dachshund from setting forth to explore the world.

After he got out a couple of times, we noticed some digging in my wife's garden and a large hole. I borrowed a trap. A couple of weeks, different locations and baits, nothing.

A helpful colleague discovered the armadillo has the lowest ratio of brain weight to body weight of any mammal in the Northern Hemisphere.

My wife seemed to find it amusing that two Ph.D.s could not trap what was possibly the stupidest animal on the planet.

After I positioned the trap directly in front of a new hole, success!

After eight armadillos, we finally had a professional shore up our fence. Although a friend from Abbeville mentioned gumbo, I relocated the animals or called Animal Control. I often wondered what the Animal Control people served at their annual Christmas party.



Dear Roger: Nutria.

Speaking of critters

Dear Smiley: I read the story by Nobey Benoit about his muscadine woes (battling raccoons and possums).

Thirty years ago, I planted a muscadine vine in my backyard. It covers a very large structure over a deck. It is loaded with grapes every spring.

In all the years I have had this vine, I got enough grapes to make jelly only twice. This year, something was knocking the grapes off while they were still green. I saw a rat in the vine one evening.

Over the years, I have trapped 14 possums and four raccoons, relocated to a park nearby. So far for me it's wildlife 28 years, me 2.



Cheap ride

Dear Smiley: Many years ago, before my wife and I were married, we borrowed my brother’s 1969 VW Beetle to visit her home in Avoyelles Parish.

We stopped at a Billups station in West Baton Rouge for gas. A service station attendant was told to “put in three dollars worth.” He replied, “If I do, it will be the first time.”

He was right: The fill-up came to $2.65.

We enjoyed the car so much, we bought one for ourselves a year later, and drove to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon.


Baton Rouge 

Dropping in

Dear Smiley: I taught for our military in the early to mid-’70s in Okinawa, Japan.

Few teachers were traveling one Thanksgiving, and our counselor had dinner at his house.

I drove my ’71 VW bug up to his house — and right into a benjo ditch (open sewage ditch). Not only that, but I also stepped into this ditch in my tatami mat flip flops.

The men came out and lifted my bug out of the ditch and back on to the street. Needless to say, the flip-flops were quickly thrown away and I was barefoot the rest of the day.



Sign language

Dear Smiley: I recently saw a sign outside a bar that said, "Yardsticks are not made any longer." I was surprised.



Rubbing it in

Dear Smiley: Reporting in from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, where today’s high is 52. Searching for humor. To date have found none, but have 12 more days.


Baton Rouge

Dear Perry: Never mind. It was 95 here the day I got your report, so I'm in no mood for jokes — or weather reports.

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.