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Dear Smiley: In response to submissions about cheering, here is my cheering experience:

In the fall of 1973, I was a plebe (freshman) at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kingspoint, New York.

Being a plebe, we were restricted to the school's grounds and not allowed outside the guarded gates from summer through fall. And being an all-male college (women started attending in 1974), it was impossible to find female companionship.

Just before the start of football season, a notice went out for anyone interested in becoming a cheerleader. I never had any cheering experience, but here was a golden opportunity to finally meet some girls on the squad. I immediately signed up!

The first day of practice was a resounding disappointment. It was to be a all-male cheerleading squad of cadets.

PETER DASSEY

Kenner

Tasty tourists

Dear Smiley: Earl Newman's warning of bears, woods and honey reminded me of an experience we had.

We once were in Denali National Park in Alaska on a school bus tour, way back in the boonies.

A couple got off the bus with backpacks for a hike. They were munching on a jerky stick of smoked salmon.

Husband Herb and I looked at each other and just shook our heads.

LINDA WHITMAN

Denham Springs

Mama tried

Dear Smiley: Stories about seniors reminded me of my experience with a "senior discount drink" at a fast-food restaurant.

Some years ago, on the way to a high school speech tournament, my wife and I went through a drive-through so I could get a Coke.

As usual, I had trouble communicating on the microphone. My question: "How old do you have to be to get a senior Coke?"

When I was asked to repeat, my wife loudly told me, "Just order a senior Coke!"

During a break in the tournament the next day, I took my morning walk to the same fast-food restaurant and went inside to order a senior Coke.

The server recognized me, asked where "Mama" was, and called over the entire kitchen crew to see who was ordering a senior Coke without Mama.

JAMES B. HÉBERT

Abbeville

Wayne tried

Dear Smiley: Reading about memorable cheers brought back memories of when I attended Jesuit High School in New Orleans many, many years ago.

A group of students were trying to come up with a new cheer to start the football season.

After many suggestions, I thought I had come up with a winner: "RAHOO RANA JANA, BEST TEAM IN LOUISIANA!"

At least I tried, but that wasn't a winner either.

WAYNE WEILBAECHER

Covington

The Big Greasy

Dear Smiley: Speaking of high school cheers, what about: "Pork chop, pork chop, greasy, greasy! We're gonna beat them easy, easy!"

TONY FALTERMAN

Napoleonville 

Just a game?

Dear Smiley: Recent contributions on school cheers brought to mind this one from football games:

"Kill, kill! Blood makes the grass grow!"

ALEX "SONNY" CHAPMAN

Ville Platte

Dear Sonny: I assume that was a reform school team …

Rapid aging

Dear Smiley: Recent comments about aging brings to mind my own experience.

The last time I got carded at a bar was when I was 39. The bouncer apologized, but I thanked him as it made my day.

Nine years later when I was 48, I went to see a movie in Metairie, and the young person at the ticket counter who was about 15 years old told me it was $2. When I asked her why it was so inexpensive, she said it was because I was a senior citizen.

While I enjoyed the discount, I still wonder what happened in those nine years that caused me to age so fast!

BILL STAKELUM

New Orleans

Ja, ja, ja!

Dear Smiley: Reading the submissions regarding "Gaux/Geaux" in lieu of "Go," and "G" pronounced as "H" (in gila monster) reminded me of this tale.

Two ladies on a bus trip to California were discussing their destinations. One said, "I'm visiting La Jolla," pronouncing it with a "jay" as "La Joya."

Her seat mate says, "Dear, due to the Spanish influence it is pronounced La Hoya, since the 'J' is sounded as 'H.' How long will you be there?"

"Oh, just through Hune and Huly."

RONNIE PLAUCHÉ

Morganza


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.