Dear Smiley: It seems there is a plethora of television commercials these days promoting interactive fitness gadgets such as “Mirror,” “Peloton,” etc.

The consumer plunks down a hefty sum of money to purchase the equipment, then shells out a monthly fee to pay for streaming interactive training sessions.

Back in 1973, I enrolled in an exclusive fitness program. Instead of paying for equipment or sessions, the organization paid me to participate.

They took care of all travel expenses to the training location, provided deluxe living accommodations, three gourmet meals a day and very highly skilled fitness instructor/trainer/motivators who pushed me and my fellow trainees to our limits every single day, rain or shine, for three very intense months. Upon completion of the course, I was in the best physical shape of my life.

It is a proven formula that really works and has been in existence for years. It is still turning out incredibly physically fit men and women to this day.

The name of the program? "Military Basic Training."



Winning an island

Dear Smiley: The "Cajun Islands" stories reminded me of mine.

I was at a fundraiser held at Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, where the emcee was touting live auction packages for sale.

Only hearing about half of what the package was, I heard "trip to the islands."

Getting very excited that I was getting a trip to the Virgin Islands, I started bidding against another woman I couldn't see on the other side of the room.

I ended up winning, and was thrilled — until they said, "Congratulations, you just won a hunting trip to Pecan Island!"

Turns out the person I was bidding against was my own sister and her husband, who are big hunters. Imagine my disappointment and embarrassment!

Thank goodness they bought it from me, for a larger price than they would have paid if I had shut my mouth!



That's entertainment

Dear Smiley: The rain stories brought back a few fond memories.

In 1961, when my husband finished his residency at the U.S. Public Health Hospital in Staten Island, New York, and was transferred to Seattle, Washington, friends lamented the move, saying it "rains all the time there."

Since we grew up in New Orleans, we could handle rain.

But it didn't rain every day, and rarely did the light rain last all day.

In 1963 we moved to Baton Rouge. 

One summer afternoon my house was unusually quiet; no noise from my four young children, aged 4 to 8½.

I looked to see what was going on. There they were, sitting on the floor in front of the tall window, watching the rainstorm!

It dawned on me that they had never seen a heavy rain.

I guess that was the last time I ever thanked God for a rainstorm!


Baton Rouge

Dynamite duo

Dear Smiley: My wife Roslyn and her twin sister Robyn were born on Independence Day. When they were young they were nicknamed "Bing and Bang."

So happy birthday this Saturday to the Firecracker Twins!



Monkey business

Dear Smiley: About the monkey story in your Thursday column: 

A monkey story has been retold in my family since the ’60s, when I was in college.

I was awakened about 7 a.m. by my mother, who wanted to know if I had brought a monkey home the night before; a monkey was raising havoc in the kitchen.

I had heard someone had a missing monkey, so I called the police to report the monkey was in our kitchen. But I was told that no one could come at the moment because they were changing shifts.

My dad could not wait, and chased the monkey out of the house. When the police arrived I had to tell them that the monkey was last seen heading for the park a half block away.



Dear James: Missing monkey, huh? Did you tell your mom about winning the bourré game the night before, and the guy from the Simian Research Center who ran out of money but wanted to stay in the game? 

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.