Dear Smiley: I sent my daughter, Lee Pickett Dale, to Colorado University in Boulder, and she never came back to Louisiana.
After college, she married, had a kid and became a well-known sportswoman in the Boulder area, viewing the CU campus as her property. She rode a bicycle around town. She never aged.
One day, when she was 50, she rode her bike through the CU campus, and as usual rode through a couple of stop signs and a red light.
A young campus cop saw this and stopped her.
“What in the world are you doing?” he said. “Don’t you know better than to ignore traffic signs? I’m gonna give you a ticket and talk your parents. Let me see your driver's license.”
Lee gave him her license.
His mouth dropped open. He said, “Holy smokes, lady — you’re old enough to be my mother!"
She said, “Would you give your mother a ticket?"
The flabbergasted cop left.
P.S. Sadly, Lee passed away in 2013 at 53 after fighting breast cancer for 18 years.
You gotta have pull
Dear Smiley: My brother Tim mentioning "Light Lane" outside of Gonzales reminded me of one of our friends who made a profit from the "glowing swamp gas" phenomenon.
Vic Palmer (no relation to us, and not the Vic Palmer of Lafayette) had access to a tow truck.
Light Lane was a gravel road with small ditches on each side, perfect for getting stuck when you were parking to see the elusive light or get the elusive kiss from your date.
Vic would charge a small sum for pulling you out of the ditch.
I also admired his marketing strategy. Being a member of a short-lived band named "Hell," their business card read, “If you want good music, go to Hell.”
Trapped in Alaska
Dear Smiley: One more outhouse story.
My aunt took my two sisters, two cousins and me to visit her friend who lived on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
The outhouse was located far from the house, and we were always told to lock it when we were done.
One day my cousin and I were both using it together and she left first — locking the door as usual.
I called, but no one heard me. Eventually I got out when another person needed to use it!
We were living in a one-room cabin, but guess no one noticed I was missing!
Only in Louisiana
Dear Smiley: I saw a picture the other day of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser presenting white shrimp boots to several other lieutenant governors, one of whom had given him a pair of cowboy boots.
It reminded me of a hunting trip somewhere in southwest Louisiana many years ago, where we drove by a “golf” course (probably four or five holes).
The sign read "Goose Acres," and all of the “golfers” participating were wearing white shrimp boots as they sloshed through the water from hole to hole!
Now that’s Cajun ingenuity!
Dear Smiley: Your recent anecdotes regarding marble shooting reminded me of an all-too-brief period during my youth in Natchez, Mississippi.
I don’t remember if I was in the first grade or the second, nor do I recall all the rules that others have described as elements of their competitions.
But I remember quite vividly the day my mother, upon discovering my rather immense stash of marbles, made me walk around the neighborhood and return them to their former owners.
That lesson stuck with me throughout my teenage years — never once did I mention to my parents the money I won shooting pool.
ERNIE GAMMON SR.
Dear Smiley: In my LSU speech class, the mantra was, “Recognize your audience and select your words accordingly.”
I failed miserably at this one rainy morning years ago, when I shouted to my family, “I am slipping into my thongs and going outside to retrieve The Advocate.”
One of my pre-teen children responded, “Dad, please don’t do that.”
I had to convince my children that "thongs" (back in the day) meant "flip-flops."