Dear Smiley: Many years ago, the pastor of the Baptist church down the street welcomed us to the neighborhood and invited us to visit his church, even after we said we were Catholic.

We took three of our four children. I gave the baby a bottle, the 3-year-old pencil and paper, the 7-year-old the hymn book.

It was a beautiful and friendly atmosphere, until we heard sounds, and people turned to look at us. My 3-year-old was drawing cannons and guns and making loud war sounds.

Not long after, the pastor asked anyone who wanted to be saved to please come to the altar. While watching the congregation walk up, we noticed our 7-year-old going along to be saved. The baby saw him and wanted to go also, but not quietly.

I found out my son's friend, who also went to that church, told him that if you got saved, you got to go to Pontchartrain Beach the next week…



Swap that gender

Dear Smiley: My wife and I went to a major outdoor event that lasted all day. Port-o-potties were scarce.

At the end of the event, we were able to find a building that had restrooms, one for each gender. The lines were quite long.

The men's line moved rather quickly. When it was my turn to go in, a stall opened behind me and a female voice shouted, "I identify as a man!"

The room erupted with laughter. Not to be outdone, another stall opened to another female voice shouting, "I also identify as a man!"

Either those two women were very creative, or I missed the unisex sign on the door.


Tyler, Texas

Dear Phil: This was a common occurrence at LSU football games in Tiger Stadium, and at other crowded venues, pre-pandemic. I noticed the guys pretty much turned the stalls over to the ladies.

Passing thought

Dear Smiley: About people driving slow in the left lane.

It does not matter how slow or how fast you drive in that lane — are you PASSING anyone?

I was always taught that the left lane is not a driving lane, it is a "passing" lane only. Right lane: driving lane. Left lane: passing lane

Now, can you imagine everyone adhering to that? Just think of how smoothly the traffic would flow!



Waiting game

Dear Smiley: Regarding those who wait after the red light turns green.

Whenever I hear a teenager is getting a driver's license, my advice is this: Count the number of cars and trucks that run red lights when you’re the first car waiting.

That could save their lives; I know it’s saved mine on many occasions!

Friday, in Metairie, I would have been hit by four cars who seemed to be trying to race each other through a very busy intersection with TWO signal lights that had been red, not yellow.

Is it too much to ask to spend a couple of minutes waiting at a light? Better than waiting for an ambulance!



Hardshell blues

Dear Smiley: As I read the stories about the use of oysters shells, I was reminded of my father-in-law.

He loved raw oysters. This stemmed from the days he worked an oyster boat off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They would make many an oyster-related dish.

When I moved here after being discharged from the Air Force in 1978, I would help him shuck sacks of oysters for his oyster spaghetti, oyster stew and many other delicious dishes.

He would throw the empty oyster shells wherever there was a hole to be filled in the pasture.

To this day I still find empty oyster shells in the pasture when cutting grass. Talk about messing up a lawnmower blade!



Wrong game

Dear Smiley: Kids, ya gotta love 'em.

When my husband asked our son, 6-year-old Kenneth, if he wanted to go play "pitch-and-catch," his brother, 4-year-old David, overheard, and was so excited and wanted to go along to play.

Imagine his disappointment when he found out he wasn't going to Jackson Square to chase and catch pigeons.



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.