Dear Smiley: Reading about the Catholic church reminded me of an incident in the ’50s.

Our family attended Sunday Mass at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church in Baton Rouge.

At that time the altar boys would ring the hand bells during the consecration. My 3-year-old brother Val was sitting quietly. When he heard the bells, he suddenly stood up and shouted, "The ice cream man!"

The parishioners chuckled, and even the priest smiled.


New Orleans

Dear Peggy: Reminds me of a cousin's wedding with Mass at the Catholic cathedral in Natchez. My dad, a low-church Episcopalian, was not used to incense, bells, etc. He dozed off during the lengthy Mass, and when the bells rang he sat up and said, "Huh? What? What?," to the amusement of those around him, except for my mom. 

Spicy language

Dear Smiley: About cuss words:

When I was playing tennis, like any other sport there were moments of frustration.

At that moment, the player experiencing that emotion would release the usual curse word, not printable here.

That is, all but one player. At that moment his curse word was "Hot tamale!"


Baton Rouge

Surviving school

Dear Smiley: Regarding mention of Quonset huts in an earlier column:

My earliest grade school memories are of lying on a straw mat on a wooden Quonset hut floor, trying to rest.

I was a first-grader at the postwar Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Navy yard, where my daddy was a Navy-trained civil service machinist. All our classrooms were Quonset huts.

Little kids, like me, had to rest after lunch. But those corrugated metal roofs get hot in the tropics. Our only air conditioning was if the teacher opened both front and back doors, capturing any breezes.

My school bus was an open-air slat-sided truck outfitted with benches. We thought the "Boona Buses" great fun — except that it rains all the time in Honolulu.



The naked truth

Dear Smiley: I’m looking for help on how to politely deal with customers and workers in stores who either aren’t wearing a mask or have it below their nose or used as a necklace.

Should I say something like, "You make me sick?"

I sometimes feel like The Lone Ranger or Zorro when I go places and I'm the only one with a mask.

Hard to believe people object to such a simple way to protect each other. Certainly, it's more comfortable than being on a ventilator.

If you think the government can’t enforce safety rules, why stop for a red light or a stop sign?

The government can even make rules that don’t involve safety. Try walking around in public without clothes.


Baton Rouge

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Dear Smiley: Every day I read the column "Today in History," because it’s next to the comics (my favorite section), and I am amazed at the names of the bands listed in "Today’s Birthdays."

For example, Porno for Pyros, Nickleback, Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, Def Leppard, Goo Goo Dolls, Panic at the Disco, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hootie and the Blowfish, and on and on!

Is it the mushroom juice or other “chemicals” that lead to some of these mind-boggling monikers?



Dear Tony: You have to ask?

Bear and the law 

Dear Smiley: In the early 1980s, I accepted a job in Tyler, Texas, at KLTV-TV 7.

It took several trips from our former home at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida, to our new home in Tyler.

One trip included my two bigger-than-normal dogs in the back seat of our fully loaded van. In the middle of a long night drive, a Texas trooper pulled us over as we crossed from Shreveport into the Lone Star state.

The officer was not overly friendly. He did not tell me to get out. He said, "Keep your hands on the top of the steering wheel," then shoved his head and two-foot long flashlight into our vehicle.

My 90-pound German shepherd, Bear, lunged at him growling. The trooper stood upright and quickly said, "I guess y'all can move along."


Panama City Beach, Florida 

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.