Anne Cummings adds her two cents worth to our seminar on five-and-dime stores:

"When I grew up in Kentucky, our dentist was in the county seat, four miles north of us. We would ride the inter-town bus and go to his office upstairs over the five-and-dime store.

"If we kids behaved while he worked on us, we would get a silver dime for every cavity!

"I was blessed with good teeth so I didn’t get too many dimes, but my brother racked up.

"After the visit, we would go downstairs and buy candy at the five-and-dime! I think Dr. Draper had a scam going on!"

Baby talk

While we've got Anne Cummings with us, here's another story from her Kentucky days, about nicknames:

"One of the most respected members of our small community was a successful businessman and a member of the school board.

"Throughout his whole life he was called by his nickname, 'Toe Baby' — because he used to grab his toes when he was an infant."

Which reminds me

Our discussion of nicknames has me feeling a bit left out. I've never had a nickname. I guess when your real name is "Smiley," there's really no point in having a nickname.

My dad was also named Smiley (last name of a family friend). He told me we could never open a funeral home — imagine "Smiley & Smiley." 

Bertha the Enforcer

Elaine L. Hasperue, of New Orleans, says, "The stories of school punishments reminded me of when I was in third or fourth grade at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School and Sister Bertha was the nun who taught me.

"If she caught you chewing gum she would make you put it on your nose and stand for a long time in front of the blackboard.

"One day she caught me, and called for my brother (who was probably in seventh grade) to come and see me. I can't remember if I was humiliated or laughing."

Elaine mentions a couple of other punishments meted out by Sister Bertha and the principal, Sister Ignatius, but frankly they're too violent for the gentle readers of this column.

Special People Dept.

Evelyn Beauchamp, of Clinton, celebrated her 97th birthday June 28.

It's real!

In listing country songs with clever titles, I've tried to limit the list to tunes that deal with more or less serious topics (love, hate, cheating, drinking, etc.) as opposed to novelty songs, which are just pure silliness.

But some novelty numbers keep popping up, some with titles so weird folks don't believe they're real songs.

For instance, Rick Bogren, of New Orleans, says, "As I've been reading the contributions of country song lyrics, I've been reminded of the Homer & Jethro number, 'I've Got Tears in My Ears (From Lyin' on My Back in My Bed While I Cry Over You).'

"When I told my wife I was going to send it to you, and played it for her on YouTube, she admitted she thought I had made the whole thing up; that it wasn't a legitimate song."

It is indeed legit; written by Harold Barlow in 1949 and popularized by Homer & Jethro on their 1963 album, "Ooh, That's Corny!"

It's real too!

Algie Petrere, of Central, says, "Years ago, my husband and I were driving across Texas and came across a skunk, otherwise known as a Texas polecat, dead in the road.

"Andy started singing, 'Dead skunk in the middle of the road.'

"I thought he was making it up, but he insisted it was a real song. Of course, I didn't believe him. We were listening to a local radio station, and suddenly I was hearing, 'Dead skunk in the middle of the road.'

"I hadn't heard it before and I've never heard it since, thank goodness."

The 1972 hit by Loudon Wainwright III, a fine singer-songwriter, was his most popular number, to his chagrin. He says it took about 12 minutes to write, and was about "a flattened little stinker on a suburban New York road."


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.