"Old jokes were a specialty of my family," says Larry Greenblatt.

"What time do you go to the dentist? Tooth hurt-y!"

"An old family favorite was: 'What did the hat say to the hat rack? You stay here, I’m going on a head.'

"We were on a long road trip with cousins and parents and grandparents, in several cars. This was long before cellphones, so we had to stop often to coordinate.

"I must have been 6, and at one stop, I told my grandmother the hat and hat rack joke and got a pleasant reaction from her. My 4-year-old brother got very jealous and wanted to tell her a joke, too (he chose the same one).

"So for the next two hours, it was nothing but practice that joke.

"When we all stop, he runs up to our grandmother and says, 'I know a joke! Grandma, what did the hat say to the hat rack?'

"Grandmother says, 'Well, son, I don’t know; what did the hat say to the hat rack?'

"And after two hours of practice, he blurts out, 'Goodbye, I’m leaving.'

"Well, the rest of the family doubled over in laughter — and my little brother started crying."

Kids and animals

Grace B. Walker, of Amite, comments on The Advocate's April 23 story, "Teacher's Pet," in which education writer Charles Lussier told of an emotional support dog visiting students at Central Middle School:

"The article revived numerous memories. My husband practiced veterinary medicine in the Tangipahoa-St. Helena parishes for 40 years.

"One of his greatest joys was visiting classrooms in the lower grades accompanied by our great dane Barnaby.

In addition to a wonderful change for the classes, it allowed him a break from cows, horses, hogs, skunks (de-skunked pets) and birds.

"His favorite expression was, 'I do everything except snakes.'"

Energy drink

Speaking of vets, here's a note from Louis L. Martin, DVM, about a column topic:

"When I started my veterinary practice, after my tour in the Air Force, there were only 50 dairies in Lafayette Parish and surrounding areas.

"When I went to treat the cow, I was always invited in for coffee. It was the drip type that when they poured it in their demitasse, they had to cut it with scissors, it was so strong.

"After two or three cups, I could pass up any horse at Evangeline Downs."

Andy's accident

Kathy Higgins, of Metairie, says our discussion of western movie sidekicks "reminded me of a cautionary tale told to my sisters and me by our mother concerning Andy Devine, Roy Rogers’ sidekick.

"We were told Andy had a gravelly voice because as a child he fell down while running with a spoon in his mouth.

"I don’t know if that story is true, but my sisters and I still won’t run with anything in our mouths."

Andy's online biography says he "claimed that his distinctive voice resulted from a childhood accident in which he fell while running with a curtain rod in his mouth.

"A biographer, however, indicated that this was one of several stories Devine fabricated about his voice.

"When asked if he had strange nodes on his vocal cords, Devine replied, 'I've got the same nodes as Bing Crosby, but his are in tune.'"

Special People Dept.

  • Mary Marquette, of Metairie, celebrates her 99th birthday Wednesday, May 8.
  • Kathleen "Kat" Spurger, of Colonial Care Retirement Center, Baton Rouge, celebrates her 94th birthday Wednesday, May 8. 
  • Robert and Beverlee Bickert celebrate their 61st anniversary Wednesday, May 8.

Nuisance fighter

Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, says, "Reading all  the antitelemarketing ploys in your column made me realize that my iPhone has a built-in device to deal with this problem.

"Whenever I get a call from someplace far away, I just hit the 'Message' button, and a bunch of standard responses pop up.

"Then I hit the 'I’m on my way' response. Most far-away folks must get the message, because I never hear from them again. Maybe that’s why it’s called a 'smartphone.'"

So THAT'S why I can never reach you.

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.