Dear Smiley: Years ago, my wife, Mary Ann, and I attended a 5 p.m. wedding in New Orleans. She was wearing a long dress.

When we arrived at the church, most women were wearing short dresses. She was stressed out.

I said, “No problem; we will leave before concluding ceremonies and run to our car. You can change into a short dress at our apartment. We will then attend the reception. No one will be the wiser.”

We exited the church doors as the church bells began to ring. Parked on the street were the limos waiting on the wedding party.

We hit the sidewalk running to our car just as an elderly couple was walking toward us.

Being a prankster, I could not resist the moment, so I yelled, “Stop! Stop! You promised to marry me.”

I will never forget the startled looks on the faces of that couple.

BILL HAYNIE

Slidell

Grand opening

Dear Smiley: My car lockout trouble involved a rented Chevrolet with the engine running and the wipers going in a light rain in a small South Carolina town on a Saturday.

Coming from a niece’s wedding, we stopped in front of a hotel for the celebratory luncheon. Leaving the engine running to park nearby later, I helped my mother out and into the hotel.

My wife, thinking I had parked there, hit a lock button as she closed the car doors.

I phoned the local Chevy dealer. He said he was about to close for the weekend, but he advised me to phone the car rental place at a North Carolina airport and get the key number.

When I relayed this information to him, he said he’d cut a new key and bring it over on his way home.

So after just 30 minutes of distress, I was back in the car. The dealer refused anything more than a few dollars for the key. Small town kindness.

HENRY BRADSHER

Baton Rouge

Locked car blues

Dear Smiley: The recent tales of unofficial car openings reminded me of a tale from my youth.

Relatively new to the Baton Rouge area, I was very excited to land an interview at the Morning Advocate. The offices were still downtown at that time, with metered parking spots out front.

I arrived on time, and was excited to find a spot very near the building. I hopped out of my running car to check how much I would need for the meter, and locked the door behind me.

I explained my plight inside, and two bystanders overheard and unlocked my car in about a minute. I was both alarmed and impressed.

But I remained so flustered I blew the interview — and missed my opportunity to work with you!

KAREN TATUM

Prairieville

Drinking problem

Dear Smiley: I recently bought a bottle of dish soap. Inspired by your column's comments about warning labels, I took a look at the bottle's warning:

"Common Sense Caution: This is dish soap. Why would you drink this? Please don't drink this! If you do, be sure to drink a glass of water, and for goodness sake please don't do it again!"

The fragrance was a mingling of peppermint and lemon, so the temptation was there, but I refrained.

VIRGINIA HOWARD

Metairie

Name game

Dear Smiley: Next time you want to start a series on "Properly Named Professionals," include this gem I found exactly opposite your column in The Advocate a few weeks ago:

The chief death investigator for the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office is named … Mark Bone!

JANET SCHEXNAYDER

Slidell

Gimme a break

Dear Smiley: I am writing this to let you know that, along with several others, I have decided you are no longer allowed to go on vacation.

The stress of not having your column to read in the morning is unbearable.

Smiley, you are the captain of the team of journalists who help us digest breakfast and give us the drive, discipline and desire to go to work every day.

Therefore, you are not allowed to go on more vacations. I’m sure Lady Katherine will understand.

JIMMIE PAPIA

Metairie

Dear Jimmie: You're wrong; Lady Katherine doesn't understand.


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.