Anita Adams, of Baton Rouge, says, "I was working in my yard one afternoon — cutting back old growth and planting some of my new plants — when a truck filled with guys and machines stopped in front of my house.

"They told me they would be happy to take that job off my hands.

"I told them I loved working in my yard, so I was happy to continue.

"I said, 'Since you'd like to help me — how do you feel about dusting and mopping?'

"They flashed terrified smiles, wished me a good day, and sped away!"

Memories of Nobody

Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, says, “The 'Camo Kid' in Monday’s column reminded me of the uninvited guest who lived in our house while my children were growing up.

"This guest was mischievous and impossible to discipline, as opposed to my sweet, innocent children who seldom needed discipline. I called our guest 'Mr. Nobody.'

"I never saw him, but he wreaked destruction wherever he passed. He broke lamps; dropped and broke dishes; left dirty dishes all over the house, along with empty soda cans; misplaced the TV remote; mysteriously destroyed other things; and sometimes, he even started arguments between the children.

"He wasn’t around much after Rob left for college, and he completely moved out when Ellen went to art school.

"I suppose it wasn’t fun with just me in the house."

Educational experience

John Torbert answers the question "What was I doing on D-Day?"

"The Army had said they needed more 'usable' men —meaning men who could read and understand a written note.

"I was working with functional illiterates (not above 3rd grade) trying to improve their reading and writing in six weeks.

"We got 200 men every 6 weeks. We could graduate them; we could have another 6 weeks; or we could discharge them as unusable.

"That was my contribution to the war effort."

Nutty saying

Charles Young says, "Only in New Orleans could we say 'gone pecan' when we lost something."

Charles gives this example: "I'm a former States-Item sportswriter. The S-I is a gone pecan."

The public radio program "A Way with Words," agrees with the New Orleans origin. Its website says, "If someone's gone pecan, they're doomed, defeated, and down on their luck. This idiom, common in New Orleans, probably caught on because of its rhyme."

But there's evidence the phrase also has an Acadiana connection:

Author Chere Claire, whose book "Gone Pecan" is part of the "Cajun Embassy" series, says, "In south Louisiana, gone pecan means to split, to leave: 'Boudreaux went gone pecan after they realized he had stolen the money.'"

She also reminds us that "Gone Pecan" is the title of a song by the great south Louisiana guitarist Sonny Landreth. 

New snail mail?

Daphne Crawford, of Baton Rouge says, "Reader Oscar Lofton sent you a list of bygone terms and sayings, including ‘pay phone’ and ‘phone booth,’ etc., that he and a friend had exchanged in email correspondence.

"I’m sorry to tell Mr. Lofton that the term ‘email correspondence’ may soon be added to the list."

Pet Peeve Dept.

T-Bob Taylor, our man in Panama City Beach, Florida, is irritated by something that occurs frequently in both high-end restaurants and humble diners:

"I like my tea or coffee 'seasoned' certain ways. But in many places, the server will quickly walk by and top off my drinks before I can say anything.

"Their intent is so sincere, I never try to interfere with this 'service.'"

(But I find "topping off" seldom happen in bars…)   

Special People Dept.

Leonard and Ruby Breaux celebrate their 65th anniversary Thursday, June 6.

Wrong critters

Vernon G. says, "Being hard of hearing is frustrating, but can also have comical results.

"Several years ago there was a news story on local TV about several classrooms being shut down because of what I heard to be dead mice.

"I immediately thought, 'Why would there be dead mice in the classrooms?'

"Later in the newscast, when they gave more details, I realized what the story was about was HEAD LICE in the classroom." 

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.