Thanks to Eileen Turowski Taylor, of Walker, for confirming my contention that folks in Louisiana don’t have to fight off alligators every day, as people in other parts of the country believe.

She says it’s armadillos:

“After several days of finding my garden uprooted, I borrowed a live trap. That evening I heard a critter bumping into the lawn edging.

“I enlisted some help to try to direct the armadillo into the trap. Instead, the beast panicked and got set to run to his home under my deck. Unfortunately, I was standing in his/her direct escape path, while holding a flashlight.

“As the armadillo approached as rapidly as one can, I panicked when I thought of the claws claiming my shins. I struck the armadillo with the flashlight, deflecting it from my person. My trap assistant called out, ‘Did you break the flashlight?’

“By the way, the armadillo was not permanently hurt; it returned multiple nights to wreak havoc to the garden.”

(Tell me, Eileen, did that “assistant” happen to be related to you by marriage?)

Which reminds me

When my mom and dad first moved to Oakdale from New Orleans many years ago (talk about culture shock!), they were troubled by pesky armadillos.

They always had beautiful flowers and plants wherever they lived, and Dad especially spent much of his retirement days working in the yard.

After hearing him gripe repeatedly about the way the armadillos were tearing up his yard, I decided an armadillo trap would be a perfect Christmas gift for him.

So I drove to Kentwood and picked up a wooden contraption I had seen advertised in The Advocate classified ads. It had heavy wooden doors at each end of a box, which would slam down with the critter got inside and knocked over part of a broomstick that was holding the doors open.

Dad was delighted, and set it up immediately.

It worked. He caught a possum, a rabbit and two cats. The cats, especially, were not amused.

And his armadillos went on to live long, happy, destructive lives...

Hot items

We have some early entrants in Smiley’s Poetry Contest, announced Wednesday:

Carmen Schroeder, of Baton Rouge, discusses our summers:

“Mosquitoes pinned on a wet blanket of air,

“Combs tangled in wildly frizzy hair,

“Clinging, soggy underwear,

“C’est bon temps on the bayou, ain’t it, cher?”

And Maggie Freeman Blevins, of Baton Rouge, offers a theological musing, which came to her after “glancing around church and seeing many empty seats on display:”

“I don’t know if you are sick or well,

“but where you are headed may be hell.”

Scam du jour

“The Girl from Gurley” echoes our Monday warning about a scam involving grandchildren “in trouble:”

“We had the same frightening experience when our ‘granddaughter’ called to say she and a friend had an accident in a rental car in Mexico, lawyer would call, $900 needed, etc.

“Thankfully, we caught on, and asked to speak to her again to ask her some personal questions. Sure enough, they hung up.

“Don’t automatically say a name or volunteer any other info. When you, or they, hang up, you feel gullible for even letting it go so far as the ‘lawyer’ calling back. Please be aware.”

Agitating litigator

Ronnie Hotz, of Lafayette, “The Deposition King,” asks about the Monday story of an aborted scam, similar to the one mentioned above:

“When all was said and done, did the ‘lawyer’ sue to collect his fee?”

Special People Dept.

— Ola King, of St. Clare Manor in Baton Rouge, celebrated her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, July 29.

— Deanie Krippenstapel’s 90th birthday is Thursday, July 30, an event she celebrated on Sunday at Italian Pie in Slidell.

— Pearl Hernandez, of Sorrento, celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, July 30.

— Verlee and Joe Guilbeau, of Plaquemine, celebrated their 64th anniversary on Tuesday, July 28. He is a Navy veteran, having served on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge.

Welcome to Louisiana

Christy Ricketts, of Gonzales, says, “Moving from North Carolina to Louisiana was an educational experience and I wanted to learn everything I could about my new home.

“One day we had a young electrician doing some work on our house, and I was curious about his speech.

“I asked him, ‘What kind of accent is that?’ He replied, ‘Some people call it Kunais.’

“So I got on the computer, excited to learn all about the Kunais people of south Louisiana, but Googling didn’t provide any results...”

Let’s just say Christy soon learned what the young man was saying...

Contacting Smiley

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.