Dear Smiley: I was a frustrated musician who grew up in a musical household.
Last chair clarinet in the junior high band; my piano teacher gave my mom a refund; my minister told me that some members of the congregation were dealing with depression, and apparently my singing and playing in the church praise band was making them more depressed!
Finally I joined the faculty band at Episcopal High in Baton Rouge.
Things were great until one day our director, Paul Taranto, stopped rehearsal, pointed to me, and then a sign on the wall. The sign said, “Quality is always more important than volume!”
Finally I found the perfect audience at an assisted living center, where I lead sing-alongs on Sunday afternoons!
If the Saints weren’t on TV, they had nothing to do — and they didn’t hear too well!
Dear Smiley: In 1972, as a draftee, I was sent to Heidelberg, Germany, to fight the Vietnam War.
One weekend several Cajun Warriors went to the German Grand Prix. Our supplies included one ice chest filled with German beer and another with American beer.
Once we settled in, a German walked up to our American beer ice chest, grabbed a beer and emptied it in one swallow. He said, “Wasser!” (German for water).
Sweet sandwich memory
Dear Smiley: When I am transported back to my childhood and think about after-school snacks, my favorite sandwich pops up: a condensed milk sandwich.
I don’t like soggy bread, so even though I love tomatoes, I don’t like ‘tomata sammiches.’
But a condensed milk sandwich — one slice of bread smeared with condensed milk and folded over — umm, umm! This tradition has come down from my grandmother to her great-grandchildren, too.
We always had condensed milk in the house, because that’s what Mama used in her coffee, which she drank almost all day.
DIANE T. MARTIN
Dear Smiley: Recent letters concerning how to order a hamburger “dressed” reminded me of a visit to a local Burger King.
I had just placed an order to go at the inside counter when the man behind me in line ordered “Two double Whoppers; hold the buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and mayo.”
The counter worker looked at him, puzzled, and the customer confirmed that all he wanted were four hamburger patties to go.
We got our orders at the same time, and I watched as he walked towards a pickup with the head of a dog, about the size of a basketball, protruding from the half-opened window.
He proceeded to toss the patties toward the dog, which he inhaled without chewing or taking time to enjoy the flame-broiled flavor.
It probably would have been cheaper, and more filling, if he had gone to the grocery store next door and bought a 10-pound bag of dog food.
Not OK, Okies!
Dear Smiley: Here is a “tomato fiasco” story.
I am allergic to tomatoes. My parents found that out when I was 4 or 5 and suddenly stopped breathing after eating a hamburger with all the dressing.
Moving forward 70 years, my wife and I were visiting family in Oklahoma and we went out to lunch. I will not mention the name of the restaurant.
When I ordered my hamburger, I told the server I was allergic to tomatoes. My burger came without tomatoes — but with a generous coating of ketchup.
I do not know what they use in Oklahoma to make ketchup.
One day off
Dear Smiley: When we were younger, we liked holidays because we didn’t have to go to work.
Now that we are in our 70s, we like holidays because we don’t have to go to the doctor!
JOEL d’AQUIN THIBODEAUX