"About your stories on floor furnaces," says Carl Toups.

"Many years ago in our small frame house in Kenner we had a floor furnace.

"One cold winter day the family came home after making groceries and were busy in the kitchen putting them away when we smelled the odor of burning plastic.

"Running to the floor furnace, we found my little brother sitting on it and his rubber pants smoking. Luckily we got him off with no major injury.

"He is 62 years old now, and you can still play checkers on his right butt cheek."

(Maybe you CAN, Carl, but WOULD you?)

An easy A

"The discussions by your readers of big words," says Loren Scott, "reminds me of an ad that appeared in the Kansas City Star back in the early '70s.

"It was in the classified section under 'Personals,' and it read: 'insidious, innocuous, annihilate, extrapolate, fratricide, audacious, euphemism, ludicrous, euthanasia, and fastidious.'

"It was signed Mark Johnson. When the editor of the paper saw that ad, he called in his crack cub reporter and said, 'I want to know who Mark Johnson is and why he put those 10 words in my newspaper.'

"The cub reporter did his job well. As it turns out, Mark was a sophomore at Shawnee Mission High School in Shawnee, Kansas, and his English teacher had told the class if anyone could find those 10 words in the newspaper that semester she would give them an A in the class."

Ancient history

The above-mentioned Loren Scott is an occasional column contributor, but Shirley DeJean reveals that he has another career. Shirley, a retired secretary in the LSU Economics Department, tells us:

"Smiley, one of your contributors, Dr. Loren C. Scott, LSU economics professor emeritus, had a birthday a few days ago. I won't say that Dr. Scott is getting old, but I hear he reads the Bible to reminisce."

Gimme shelter!

T-Bob Taylor, this column's unpaid Panama City Beach, Florida, correspondent, says, "Years ago I got 'out-poored' by Frank Pirie one day as we talked in Baker.

"I made the mistake of telling him the Covington shack I grew up in was so shabby-poor there were SPACES between the thin boards that made our walls.

"He never missed a beat. He straight-faced, 'You mean YOUR house had walls?'"

Catch a critter

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "When we took our granddaughter to her first Cajun Mardi Gras in Eunice she was already a Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade veteran, so she knew about competing for float throws.

"At the end of the parade the 'Mardi Gras' came riding their horses and were proudly displaying their prized catches — chickens, guineas, ducks, and a beaver.

"My granddaughter got wide-eyed and asked, 'Pop, are they going to throw those?'”

(Nice story, but what I'd like to know is this — did the beaver go in the gumbo?)

Open door policy

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says, "Comments about home milk deliveries reminded me of this.

"Back in the early 1950s we lived in the small town of Waverly, Tennessee. Often we would visit family in Nashville, 70 miles to the east.

"During those visits, we would leave a note for the milkman, telling him we were out of town, and to leave the milk in our refrigerator.

"The front door would be left unlocked for him. Not even once did we have a problem with others stealing from our home.

"Those were the days!"

Moody blues

Jerry Schexnayder, of Baton Rouge (he proudly specifies "Hoo Shoo Too Road"), says, "Shopping for an anniversary gift in a local jewelry store led to this conversation:

"Me: 'I'm looking for an anniversary gift.'

"Salesperson: 'How about a nice mood ring? They are back in style.'

"Me: 'Mood ring?'

"Salesperson: 'Yes, the stone will change color according to your wife's mood. Green means good mood; go buy flowers or chocolates. Amber means be careful of what you say or do. Red means — well, it will leave little bumps on your forehead."

Louisiana Haiku

Life without football

Guys still staring at TV

Bowling not the same 

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.