Dear Smiley: Because of major World War II battles fought and won by our troops, May, June and July are months we quite appropriately celebrate our heroes.
But what about the less heroic members of the military?
In 1955 I was stationed on Okinawa, at Kadena Air Force Base.
One unforgettable day, we were gathered around an aviation simulator called a "Link Trainer" when one of us spotted a rat the size of a big cat running around the room.
No problem. Armed with broom handles and anything else available as a weapon, we launched an attack on the rodent and within minutes, the monster was cornered.
That’s when it stood on hind legs and hissed at us. Too bad there were no video cameras back then. Like some comic scene in an old movie, we all retreated — arriving at the door at the same time while trying to escape.
After falling to the floor laughing, the rat probably strolled out of the room unmolested. That's a guess, since none of us were around to see the exit.
JOHN BLISS CAMP
Dear John: You're right about the movie connection — I recall The Three Stooges doing that same routine…
Dear Smiley: Speaking of outhouses:
In 1983, when my wife and I were driving back from California on I-10, we stopped at a rest area in New Mexico.
To our surprise there were two wooden buildings, one marked "Men" and the other marked "Ladies."
I went in and found there was no running water; just a long board with two holes cut in it — a real two-seater.
I came out to find my wife laughing. She said hers was a two-seater also. She said since we were almost to Texas, she would wait.
I hope things have improved since then.
Pit and the pranksters
Dear Smiley: In rural Indiana in the '40s, and probably a few decades before, it was a common Halloween prank to tip over an outhouse.
For your younger readers, outhouses were set over a pit, and from time to time a new pit was dug, the outhouse moved and the pit filled in. So they were somewhat portable.
This farmer became tired of having to set up his outhouse every year after Halloween, so he moved it forward about three feet and made a lattice of sticks and leaves to cover the exposed pit.
The next morning his outhouse was still erect — and there were indications that a couple of young lads had floundered around in the pit before they were able to climb out and beat a hasty retreat into the nearby woods.
It was my understanding that he was never again the victim of that prank.
Dear Smiley: It is always interesting to discover the source of street names. I offer the background on three streets in the Mandeville/Covington area that drew my attention:
Hotsy Totsy Road — Long-time locals in Mandeville will attest to an establishment that served adult beverages along with other entertainment. Said establishment is no longer at the intersection of Lonesome Road and U.S. 190. But Lonesome Road was commonly known as Hotsy Totsy Road for years.
Dog Pound Road — For decades, locals in Covington were unaware that Dog Pound Road was really Harrison Avenue. The St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter was located on this street between U.S. 190 and La. 59.
Bootlegger Road — Access to the Covington subdivision in which I live is off La. 1085, still called Bootlegger Road to this date. No further explanation for the name is required.
JOSEPH W. BEREY
Dear Smiley: Speaking of bad band names, my high school friend, Gene, had a band named "Their Dirty Bodies."
The nuns at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans said "We don't think so!" and cancelled the contract for their dance when they saw the invitation that would have gone out:
"The girls of Mount Carmel present Their Dirty Bodies"
The band decided that a better name would be "The Threshold of Sound."