Dear Smiley: About band experiences:

When I started high school as a freshman, we were encouraged to join the band — since there were barely enough members to perform at halftime and create the various formations.

I had no prior musical experience. There was a need for trombone players, and five of us inexperienced students were given trombones and told to “fake it” during halftime, hoping that as the year progressed, and through lessons, we would become “talented musicians.”

It was obvious to the fans in the bleachers what was going on — since at any given time all five of the trombone slides were in different positions.

FRANK ARRIGO 

Baton Rouge

Say what?

Dear Smiley: My husband and I are a pair — I only have one eye and he can only hear out of one ear.

Even then, with his hearing aid, I need to be close to him for him to hear me.

Last week we were preparing for a dinner party for eight and I was making iced tea. It was still hot when I poured it into the pitcher. As I went out on the deck to set up places for appetizers, I yelled to Steve, "When the tea cools down, please put the pitcher on the top shelf of the refrigerator."

When my group came in to eat dinner, I looked in the refrigerator for the iced tea. I asked my man, "Where is the tea?"

"I put it on the top of the refrigerator, like you said!"

Everybody at our dinner party got a big laugh!

ANNIE PURNELL COLLOM

Kenner

Nutty lesson

Dear Smiley: Mention of the Donaldsonville State Fair reminded me of my early years.

In order for my brother and me to attend, we had to pick pecans for my mother.

I don’t remember how much we were given, but I remember it was 50 cents to ride to and from the fair from Napoleonville on a school bus.

The rest of our hard-earned money was probably spent on viewing the bearded lady or "half ape-half man" displays.

It was fun, and taught us a little about work and finances.

TONY FALTERMAN

Napoleonville

Grin and bare it

Dear Smiley: My kids would pore over the Sears and "Monkey Ward" catalogs.

Once, after a playdate, our son Michael reported that Mr. Keith had odd catalogs.

The underwear section for ladies had no underwear on them!

Michael asked, "What were they trying to sell?"

SARAH STRAVINSKA

Chestnut

Banned from Sears?

Dear Smiley: My mother, Elsie Duffel, decided to go shopping at the Sears store on Third street in Baton Rouge for a gift for my father, Valery Duffel.

A neighbor friend, whose name shall remain anonymous, was playing with my sister Joy and me. My mother called her mother and asked if she could come with us.

We were walking through the bathroom fixtures department when our friend, age 6, needed to use the bathroom. Before we could stop her…

We never took her shopping with us again.

PEGGY DUFFEL SIMMONS

New Orleans

Beetle trap

Dear Smiley: When I was a junior at East Ascension High in Gonzales, the hangout was the Colonial Drive-In on Airline Highway.

One afternoon while there, I saw two senior girls, Juanita and Linda, who were friends of mine, sitting in Juanita’s VW Beetle.

I went to talk to them, and Linda let me into the back seat. After talking a while, I tried to get out — but something had the back of my jeans.

The seatbelt buckles on that model Beetle had a small arm that had to be shifted to undo the seatbelt. Somehow my belt loop had gotten between the buckle and that little arm.

Unable to free myself, Linda had to crawl in the back seat with me. She embarrassed very easily, and my yelling brought much attention and a very red-faced Linda. I’m really surprised she didn’t leave me back there.

It’s been a lot of years since I’ve been in the back seat with a female. I certainly do miss it, but I would like different circumstances than the ones with Linda.

TIM PALMER

Lafayette

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.