Dear Smiley: After reading all the raccoon stories, I have one my mom in heaven might finally get a kick out of me mentioning.

She called from Marksville to say she was coming in for Christmas, and would appreciate it if we put our pet raccoon outside before she got there.

We forgot.

She arrived very early in the morning, and went in to give our 2-year-old a kiss. She screamed when she found Rocky Raccoon in bed with him.

While we tried to calm her, the raccoon started dragging our dog around by its neck. We explained it wasn't hurting her, it just loved the dog a lot.

She made us promise to take our dog to the vet to be fixed and get Rocky Raccoon his shots — she didn't want a litter of raccoon dogs.

Everything was fine until we told her for the family Christmas picture, we wanted her to hold Rocky Raccoon in her lap. She lost it, and decided to go stay with her sister until Christmas.

We tried to explain it was a joke, but she left with a few choice words.

She could put up with dogs, cats, birds and four destructive boys in our crazy house, but she was not taking a chance of a wild animal coming into her bed after she was asleep.



Stadium 101

Dear Smiley: Reading of experiences in Tiger Stadium, a flood of memories came back to me.

I was an “inmate” of a West Stadium dorm room with three other students in 1964. The bunk bed mattresses were less than luxurious, and took some getting used to along with the lack of A/C.

But there I met Rick from The Bronx, who taught me how to smoke cigarettes; Steve from Hackberry, who taught me how to properly pop a towel to sting other guys in the showers, and Richie from New Orleans, who taught me how to set a can of Right Guard on fire.

Ah, yes — short haircuts, beanies, mandatory ROTC, a requirement to attend the first home game in pajamas…those were the days, my friend…



John Wayne serenade

Dear Smiley: Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I was a devoted fan of cowboy movies and TV shows, especially the more obscure shows like “Lawman” and “Boots and Saddles,” as well as odd characters like “Sugarfoot” (Will Hutchins) and “Cheyenne” (Clint Walker).

I almost had to draw the line, however, with the bizarre “Singin’ Sandy Saunders." Good guy gunfighter Sandy, as played by a very young John Wayne, would, for no apparent reason, break into song — on his horse, fighting Indians, doing his laundry, facing off a bad guy in the street!

The action was constantly disrupted by Sandy’s awful caterwauling. John Wayne thought it the worst thing he’d ever done, even though his voice was dubbed. I agree! Anybody else remember this train wreck?



Can you dig it?

Dear Smiley: I remember a TV show some years ago, supposedly at a funeral parlor, where a couple of men came in who had been digging a grave.

They had a flat-edged shovel! Someone could have used some advice from a country boy.


Pine Grove

Dear Laura: I wouldn't have caught it, due to my inexperience with a shovel — which I do not regret one bit… 

Grownup blues

Dear Smiley: While we often hear the phrase "out of the mouths of babes" used in reference to what children say to us, it is interesting to hear the words of insight our children offer when they are no longer quite that young.

My baby girl (age 29) was looking at her computer and came across the following posting — "Staying home on a Friday night, missing a party and going to bed early used to be a punishment. Now staying home on a Friday night, missing a party and going to bed early is no longer a punishment, but an adult goal."

Out of the mouths of older babes ....



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.