Dear Smiley: I'm half French and half Spanish, so I've been drinking coffee for as long as I can remember.

On the first cold day of first grade at St. Catherine of Siena School in Metairie, my grandmother packed a small thermos with cafe au lait for my recess snack.

One of the nuns asked what I was drinking. When I told her it was coffee, she took it away.

I told my grandmother what had happened, and she called Monsignor Melancon right away and gave him a piece of her mind.

I enjoyed my coffee at school in peace from then on.



Smells like home

Dear Smiley: Tales of Community Coffee's strong aroma reminded me of a trip my parents took many years ago.

They traveled with their Chihuahua mix, and one night couldn't find a pet-friendly motel. They snuck the little bugger in anyway.

When they left for dinner, he got bored and tore into their snack box. He ripped open the bag of Community and sprinkled it all around the room.

The aroma hit them when they opened the door!

Fearing they'd get in trouble, my dad went in search of the maid's vacuum while my mom tried to get the coffee off everything. Natural air freshener!



Bank with a heart

Dear Smiley: Back in the late '60s, when Whitney Bank was a home town bank, my dad and I applied for and received a student loan for me.

I don’t remember the amount of the loan, but I do remember sending Whitney $50 a month for the better part of two years (to pay the principal only, with interest to be paid at the end). 

After the principal was paid, I called the bank and asked how much I owed in interest. After a few minutes the loan officer came back on the line and said, "You paid something every month?"

"Yes sir," I said.

"You don’t owe us anything, the loan is paid."

I’ll bet this would never happen today, home town bank or not.



Small World Dept.

Dear Smiley: I was in the Army, stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1970.

One Thursday night a month the mess hall would serve steaks. This particular Thursday night, as I was getting ready to sit with my buddies, I heard someone say, “Tiger Tom!”

I looked at my buddies and said, "There is only one person who calls me that — Wild Bill Newchurch from Paincourtville."

There Bill was with a big smile on his face, as usual.

Being that far away, it was really nice to see someone from home.



One ugly chicken!

Dear Smiley: Once on a dove hunting trip to Central America, my good friend Tony Dugas looked up in a tree and saw a massive iguana sitting on a limb.

After discussing with the guide the legality of shooting it, he shot it and it fell to the ground.

No sooner had it hit than 15 or so natives rushed from the jungle to ask for it!

Of course, since we donated all our doves, he gladly provided the iguana.

If there had been an election that day, he surely would have been the new "El Presidente!"

Now Florida residents are overrun by iguanas in some areas and are legally killing and eating them. They are referred to as “chicken of the trees” because of the meat's similarity to chicken (or so they say).



Dear Tony: Another meat to add to my "tastes like chicken" list, along with frog legs, rattlesnake, alligator, and a host of others.

Alarming grace

Dear Smiley: The recent story about a bear reminded me about a joke our chaplain told us one weekend at reserve training.

There was a priest who was walking in the woods when he encountered a bear, who chased him right up to the edge of a cliff.

As the bear approached, the priest  prayed, "Please Lord, let this bear be Catholic!"

About this time, the bear put his paws together and said, "Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts…"



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