Russ Wise, of LaPlace, calls this story "a lesson in humility:"

"It was raining like the dickens as the garbage truck comes down the street. I’d forgotten to take the can to the curb, so I grabbed a rain slicker (left over from covering hurricanes when I was a young and beautiful reporter) and took it out.

"Then I walked back inside my garage to wait.

"As the truck pulled up, one of the 'hoppers' jumped down, wearing no rain gear at all…just a thoroughly soaked T-shirt.

"He spotted me, raised his hand in a big full-size wave, and shouted, 'Hey, guy! Ain’t summer great?'

"And with a big smile, he jumped back onto the truck.

"Garbage men are special people, and under-appreciated.

"Hey, guy. Thanks for what you do, rain or shine, cold or hot. I appreciate you."

Royale treatment

Speaking of Russ Wise, Ray Zabala tells this tale:

"In your June 8 column, Russ brought back some great memories of the now-defunct Royale Airlines (1962-1989).

"Back in the early '80s I was working for BellSouth/South Central Bell doing safety and productivity inspections throughout the state. I had many occasions to fly with Royale.

"I had never flown on a small plane before, and was rather apprehensive. These feelings were amplified when, upon boarding, I noticed that they carried a spare tire right next to the door.

"Then, upon taking my seat with the other 10-12 passengers, we all had to lift our briefcases and carry-on luggage onto our laps so the pilot could make his way up the aisle to the cockpit.

"After becoming a regular customer, I enjoyed watching the faces of first-time passengers when we encountered turbulence. Royale was FUN to fly!"

T-shirt humor

John Richards says our mention of funny coffeehouse signs in the Tuesday column reminded him of this:

"A favorite of mine is the quip on the server's T-shirts at a Metairie diner: 'The only thing worse than our food is our service.'

"The food there is actually very good."

Aging process

Buck Myhand, of Thibodaux, says our reader's complaint about the practice of telling elderly folks "You're looking good" brought this thought to mind:

"When you've got to plan your personal activities around your doctor appointments, you've got more yesterdays than tomorrows!"

Vision problems?

Arlene Folmar, of St. Francisville, also addresses the "looking good" comment:

"I am an 83-year-old woman who so often (too often) will be told, 'You look so good!'

"This from people who never before commented on my appearance.

"My response, in a quiet voice, is, 'Oh, you are so kind; or blind!'"

Nutty Sayings Dept.

Keith Hood addresses our recent recollections about the expression "gone pecan:"

"I grew up in Alexandria, on Pecan Drive.

"When I was in high school in the early '80s, I would say I was heading home by saying, 'I’m gone to Pecan,' which got shortened to 'I’m a gone pecan.'

"I still use this expression to say I’m headed home — which is now in Oak Ridge, Tennessee."

Special People Dept.

Eve Mitchell celebrates her 90th birthday Thursday, June 20.

The Hollywood way

Rick Marshall, my unpaid movie critic, points out that the character Jack Reacher in the thrillers by Lee Child (pen name of British writer Jim Grant) is "6' 5" and weighs 250 pounds. Barry Seal was a 300-pounder, though not as tall.

"Tom Cruise (5' 7" and trim) was chosen by the great minds of Hollywood to portray both of them, much to the dismay of movie fans.

"The stated response to critics was that it was impossible to find someone the right size to play the parts.

"If only Mickey Rooney was still in his prime…"

Outside, inside

Roland Landry, of Belle Rose, says, "Reflecting on the outhouse stories in your column, I figured I'd add to the topic.

"A card game buddy reminded me how times have changed. Back in the day, people cooked inside and the outhouse was outdoors.

"Nowadays, people cook outdoors and the outhouse functions have been moved inside."

Groaner of the Week

From Joel d'Aquin Thibodeaux: "What do you call a Frenchman wearing sandals on the beach?

"Phillippe Philloppe."

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.