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Forget about Snooki, give me Snooky any time

Morning, UP

December 3, 2011
The Mining Journal

In a recent promo for Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show, the host looked perplexed when the voiceover announcer said one of guests later that night would be Nicole Polizzi.

But when the announcer clarified that it was Snooki who was going to be on the show, Conan's confusion cleared.

Snooki has become a name known by most everyone versed at least a little in popular culture. She's one of the "stars" of the MTV "reality" series "Jersey Shore."

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My confession is that I've never watched a second of the show so I offer no judgments about this young lady or her co-stars other than they seem to be keeping with a modern trend of being famous for being on television, not for any achievement or discernable talent.

If you Google the name Snooki what appears on your screen is a Wikipedia page and then, which is her website. The website pedals her book, her perfume, her slippers and all things Snooki that are for sale.

The reality show I'd rather see is about another Snooky, that being my uncle Charles P. "Snooky" Smith, a lifelong resident of Ishpeming. These words are typed knowing fully well Snooky is going to throttle me the next time he meets up with me for writing about him, but no matter.

A reality show featuring him would be one worth watching.

Ishpeming's Snooky is 83 years old and a military veteran. He's still extremely active, riding his bike in the warm-weather months and playing hoops most of the year round. He's an avid Ishpeming Hematites backer - although he was a Westwood Patriots fanatic while his grandchildren were playing sports there - and a Boston Celtics supporter.

Until he retired, Snooky was a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. From what people told me back in days I worked at our Ishpeming Bureau, Snooky was a favorite in the neighborhoods in which he delivered. He'd even sing to a customer on his or her birthday.

Snooky is a fine musician, playing the trombone for years in the Negaunee City Band, among other groups. Until just a couple of years ago, he proudly marched in the band during civic parades all summer long.

Married to my aunt Lois, my mother's darling younger sister who passed away several years ago, Snooky had always been a favorite uncle for me and my siblings. The Smiths' four awesome children, Susan, Terri, Casey and Kristen, are among our closest cousins.

When you called the Smith house in our youth, you never knew how Snook would answer the phone, but it would never be with a plain old hello. And he liked to give us a tough time, but never in a malicious way. He has always been hilarious.

Snooky was amazing while aunt Lois struggled with arthritis. The two of them had spent many years downhill skiing, water skiing and biking together, but when arthritis sidelined Lois, Snook stepped up. When I'd visit them, he took such tender care of her, it melted my heart.

But they continued to gently tease each other.

"She calls me 'Flabby Gut', ya know," Snook said one time with a huge smile.

"I call him 'The Curmudgeon' too," Lois retorted, a grin lighting her beautiful face.

To me, someone like Snooky would be much more interesting to watch than a 20-something wild child like MTV's Snooki.

On the other hand, reality TV producers are probably not ready for someone as real, as funny and as kind as my Snooky. There's not enough "drama" in living a good, happy life, I reckon.

Their loss.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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