Dear Smiley: About exotic dishes in other countries:
Some years ago, I was living and working in Jamaica. Their local soup, like our gumbo, is called "manish water."
It is made from the head, primarily, and feet of a goat. It is served at most large events in white foam cups.
I had to attend, as part of my employment, a large safety award ceremony where manish water was served.
One of my Jamaican friends insisted I have some, and brought me a cup. I looked down in the cup and saw what resembled an eyeball.
I hesitated, and about that time an individual full of Red Stripe beer bumped me from behind. It all went down the front of my shirt.
I was asked if I wanted a replacement cup, but graciously said no.
Dear Smiley: Your column items on raccoons reminded me of the family of five raccoons that used to play on our deck outside our bedroom.
One night I saw a raccoon in the hammock and another on the tree where the hammock was tied. The raccoon on the tree was rocking the hammock.
It really looked like a Disney moment. Unfortunately, I was unable to get my camera fast enough.
JAMES B. HEBERT
Dear Smiley: While I was reading your column today, I was repeatedly interrupted by a very noisy cat who was circling my chair.
It wasn’t clear why, since she’d been fed and cuddled by my wife.
It reminded me of a long-ago NPR interview. A scientist who had been studying cat language claimed the “I’m hungry” meow was different from the “Pet me” or “Let me go outside.”
But most of them, he said, just meant, “Hey! Hey!”
No "air basketball"
Dear Smiley: When I was sheriff in Assumption Parish, along with many Louisiana sheriffs I was sued in federal court for not providing access in our jail to a library, proper exercise equipment, etc. — a laundry list of inmate complaints.
Since the police jury maintained the jail and paid for feeding and other necessities required by law, I encouraged the police jurors to appear with me at a settlement conference before a magistrate.
One term of the consent decree was that I had to provide a basketball court for the inmates. I agreed, and after signing the decree began to leave the courtroom.
At that point, I was duly summoned before the court and returned to stand before the magistrate. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Sheriff, you agreed to build a basketball court; however, nowhere in the agreement did you stipulate you would provide basketballs. Will you?”
My answer was, “Of course!” I enjoyed my side of the bars too much to say anything else!
Be patient, kid
Dear Smiley: Kids say the darnedest things.
Last year I bought a brand new blue pickup truck with a fold-down bucket seat in the back. It also had a rear window that I could power open and close.
When my 7-year-old truck-loving grandson Hunter jumped into that bucket seat and I then opened that rear window, he was overcome with excitement and blurted out, "Paw Paw Sonny, can I have your truck after you’re gone?"
I told him yes — but hopefully not real soon.
ALEX "SONNY" CHAPMAN
Dear Smiley: During my most recent dental visit, for the dentist to implant crowns on my teeth, he explained the procedure to me.
The dentist told me the procedure would include taking a first impression for the tooth crown molding, and a second impression to show the before and after comparison, if I so desired.
I then asked the dentist, “Does this mean I get a second chance for a first impression or a first chance at a second impression?”
Dear Bill: Funny comment. So, have you found a new dentist yet?