Dear Smiley: A few minutes ago, I was on the phone with a young woman who was helping Annette and me with some details of our new Medicare drug prescription plan.

When she had finished with me she asked, "Is your wife present?"

Well, dumb old me answered, "Well, I hope not. Not at her age."

The young lady hesitated for a moment, then asked, "What does her age have to do with whether or not she's present, Mr. Murrel?"

"Oh my goodness," I managed to mumble, "I thought you asked if she was pregnant."

Oh, the joy of aging, Smiley…

THOMAS MURREL

Church Point

Better learn Spanish!

Dear Smiley: Yet another story of language difficulties.

When I was drafted into the Army in 1969, Uncle Sam decided I needed to spend my tour of duty guarding the Panama Canal Zone.

My then wife and I lived in a small apartment building with three other GI families, and shared a washing machine and dryer.

One day a fuse blew in the garage where said machines lived. My buddy and I — not speaking much Spanish —decided to go to the logical place to buy a fuse, a pharmacy. We also decided the Spanish word for fuse was "fus-ah."

We tried to explain to the druggist what we needed and kept repeating the word "fus-ah." He finally smiled and went in the back room. Our problem had been solved, we thought.

He returned with a large handful of condoms!

DON MOLINO

Baton Rouge

Hat trick

Dear Smiley: As a volunteer at the World War II Museum, I met an Aggie yesterday with a A&M hat on.

I congratulated him on the win, but added that I noticed that the officials had the same kind of hat on.

He didn't laugh…

RICK DOUGLAS

Kenner

No relation!

Dear Smiley: I recently watched "Death Goes To Press," whereby the Lone Ranger takes a stand for freedom of the press and looks into shenanigans involving the town's newspaper.

When someone was defined as a "bumbling idiot" in the paper, they received a warning that such comments could be dangerous.

A rather interesting fella described the newspaper article as "hot off the press and still sizzling!"

It seems this fella and a partner are "guilty as sin" of the crimes being committed and commented on by the paper.

This fella was identified as SMILEY Phillips!

BOBBIE SPENCER

Lafayette

Miraculous meetings 

Dear Smiley: I enjoyed seeing the “Small World” stories. Here are a couple of mine:

Several years ago my old friend Joe Moreland (long after we worked together at WAFB-TV) and I were in Florence, Italy, at the Uffizi Museum when a guide came up with two couples and started talking about a painting.

When I looked at the couples, I was delighted to see Tony Ioppolo — a top-notch Baton Rouge neurologist who had done surgery on me, and later become a friend in the Downtown Rotary Club.

My second story started with a phone call to my home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The fellow introduced himself as Aaron Toler. He had bought a house two doors down, and wanted to know if I would recommend the painter he had seen working at my house.

I told him his grandfather and great-grandfather had delivered my mother and her siblings in Clinton, and I had an Uncle Toler named in their honor.

EVERETT POWERS

Spartanburg, South Carolina

A farm boy

Dear Smiley: Granddaughter Zelda, 4, was examining my Nativity scene.

I explained each figure to her as she picked them up one by one.

“That’s Mary, Jesus’ mama. That’s one of the three wise men who brought presents to baby Jesus…” and so on.

Then she picked up the lamb and the cow. “The animals were there because Jesus was born…” I started.

She finished the sentence for me: “…on a farm!”

That version of the Christmas story was a new one on me.

GAIL STEPHENSON

Baton Rouge

Letter perfect

Dear Smiley: I took a journalism course once and thought of you.

To help us with spelling, the teacher taught us, "i" before "e" except after "c" — and in "Budweiser!"

MARVIN BORGMEYER

Baton Rouge

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.