Several recent stories involving card games brought this note:

Frank Carney says, "Your 'games of chance' items remind me that I have always had terrible luck with 'chance.' There are numerous examples; one will suffice:

"Upon attending a small meeting, the planner had arranged a number of door prizes, 40 to be exact. There were 41 in attendance. Guess who did not get one.

"Once, I thought I had broken the spell. I won the top door prize, a beautiful rug from a carpet firm.

"Once I got it home, my wife loved it. Of course, she had to match it to our bedroom — new drapes, new bedspread, new lamps, new bed pillows, new paint, new sheets, new pillowcases, and on and on. With wins like this one, who cares about losing?

"The next year, the guy who won the carpet was sitting next to me. I told him of my experience. He donated the carpet to a local elementary school."

No watchdog needed

Richard O'Neill, of Metairie, says a recent news story about an alligator on the streets of New Orleans "reminds me of a time in the ’40s and ’50s when we lived in the 700 block of St. Roch Street.

"There was an elderly lady who would sometimes invite several kids into her shotgun home (which had many creepy stuffed animals hanging on the walls) to see her 'pet.'

"She would bring us out on the back porch, where she would call out a 10-foot-long alligator from under the raised house — in a neighborhood in the middle of downtown New Orleans.

"She would then toss raw chickens to the alligator, who would snatch them in one gulp, as we stood watching in cautious delight.

"We never did find out how she was able to keep him for years under her house without any complaints."

Irma the diplomat

Kirk Guidry, of Baton Rouge, says, "Your stories about Irma Thomas reminded me of a conversation I had with her.

"When I was growing up in Morgan City, she would sing for CYO dances.

"Thirty years later I attended her concert and stood in line for a autographed T-shirt.

"When it was my turn I told her, 'Irma, you played at my CYO dances.'

"Without skipping a beat, she looked up and said, 'I remember you, and you ain’t changed a bit.' She is quite the businesswoman."

In one ear…

Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, says, "When my son Justin was in middle school, I often found it difficult to get his attention.

"Then I discovered the magic of telling him, 'Put your right hand over your right ear,' and then carefully speaking into his left ear.

"My co-worker Lynda Imes had three sons, and when I told her about this powerful communication tool, she liked the idea a lot.

"The next morning she told me she had tried it on her husband. Not a good idea."

Daily deluge

We've entered that part of summer that features long, hard rains just about every day.

When I went out on the porch Monday morning to get my Advocate and was met by a downpour, I thought of Alton Duke's description of a heavy rain as one that goes on until the concrete gets boggy.

What's the rush?

Perry A. Snyder, of Baton Rouge, says 3-year-old grandson Harrison has already learned how to win an argument:

"Leaving the crib for a big-boy bed has provided new opportunities for Harrison. Whenever, say, a bear wanders into his room or a bald eagle lands on his bedpost, he can now jump out of his bed and run to his parents' room.

"One recent evening, for instance, he ran into his parents' room to tell them about his unexpected visitors and ask if he could sleep with them.

"His mother responded with the time-honored, 'When you sleep in your bed, you get big and strong.'

"Harrison saw right through her best effort and responded, 'But Mom, I want to be little for just a while longer.'

"Is there any doubt where he slept that evening?"

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.