Dear Smiley: About S&H Green Stamps:

Back in the early ’50s, being in a family of four teenage boys, our mother took us monthly to a nearby barber college for our haircuts.

We weren’t always that enthused with the results.

Looking through the S&H catalog, I found they offered a barber’s kit for a couple of books of stamps.

I told my mother that if she’d get it, I’d learn to cut hair and do as well as the barber college students at no cost.

She did, and my younger brother Tom was my first attempt.

As it turns out, barbering wasn’t that simple, and I really botched that haircut.

Almost in tears, we called my Uncle Bill, a barber, and he calmed us and said he’d come over on the weekend and repair it and give me some hints.

He did both, and Tom forgave me after a while.

I continued cutting my brothers’ hair for five-plus years, usually with better results.



Dear Ray: I’m concerned about “usually.” Is there more to this story?

The Denver version

Dear Smiley: In the early 1980s, I had to spend a few weeks in Denver in January, and I was missing home cooking terribly.

In downtown Denver, I spotted a sign in a restaurant proclaiming “Louisiana Gumbo.”

I hustled in and asked what kind of gumbo they served.

A waiter proudly told me it was the best ground meat and tomato gumbo he’d ever tasted.

I had a hamburger.



Ewww, gross!

Dear Smiley: Continuing the S&H Green Stamps memories:

I remember the “Sanford and Son” where Lamont was busy at the kitchen table licking and sticking large sheets of stamps.

When Fred walked in, Lamont was griping about all the glue in his mouth from licking.

Fred walked over to the stove, where he had a huge cow tongue boiling for supper.

He took a large barbecue fork, stuck the tongue in the side and showed Lamont how to use it on the stamps.

After the successful and quick solution, Fred put the tongue back in the pot to finish cooking!


Baton Rouge

Return visit

Dear Smiley: At a church function, the emcee introduced an elderly lady seated at our table.

He said, “She no longer lives in St. Gabriel, but she told me she is coming back.”

She said, “That is right, I own two plots in the cemetery. I’ll be back.”



Golden age indeed

Dear Smiley: Mention of Playhouse 90 in your column brought back memories of classic works during the Golden Age of Television Drama — works like “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and many other classics.

But for sheer acting you couldn’t beat the Playhouse 90 adaptation of Irwin Shaw’s “The 80-Yard Run,” with lead roles played by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Mention of that drama reminds me that it was first a short story in Esquire magazine.

Esquire had great headline writers, and for that story they printed the title in large letters, with a smaller subhead that read: “One fall day he scored a touchdown in a scrimmage and kissed a pretty girl, and the rest of his life never got any better.”



Another Zella

Dear Smiley: In a recent column, Sara Lemon’s mention of her friend “Zella Della” brought back fond memories of my maternal grandmother.

Back in the ’60s, I spent every summer vacation with Zella Lou Swartz Griffey, of Ashland, Ky., even though her house was only two blocks down the street from mine.

Every Sunday I’d sit on the arm of her big chair while we watched “Bonanza” and ate apples or oranges.

I always thought her name unusual, so seeing it in print made me smile and reminisce about the good old days!



Buss stops

Dear Smiley: As my brother-in-law Nick was trying to leave for work, his children reminded him that he had forgotten to kiss Mommy goodbye.

Nick delivered the kiss; then the kids demanded that he kiss them.

After all seven children got kissed, they demanded that he kiss the two dogs and the cat as well.

As Nick finally got out the door, he whispered to his wife Pat, “Thank goodness we don’t have goldfish!”