Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, has a “local color” story:

“During Hurricane Katrina, we had 16 family members and friends from the New Orleans area staying with us.

“Someone noticed water leaking through the ceiling — Katrina had ripped off a roof vent and rain was pouring in the attic.

“Many of our visitors already were feeling some of the relaxing effects of their emergency preparedness canned beverages, so they grabbed tools and a ladder and clambered on top of the roof as Katrina’s winds and rains roared around them, and got the leak closed.

“Despite my concerns for their safety, I broke out laughing when I saw that, before attacking the roof, all the guys had stopped long enough to put on their white boots!”

Which reminds me

On my way back to Baton Rouge from a speaking engagement in Morgan City, I just had to stop at the Pierre Part Store.

I didn’t need anything, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to browse.

Then I spotted a “must-have” item for Lady Katherine, who had just acquired a Cajun Special bass boat.

I immediately called her on my cell phone to ask her foot size, and showed up at home with a pair of white rubber boots, announcing that although she was a native of Virginia, she was now an Official Cajun.

Mama in the news

Joel d’Aquin Thibodeaux says, “This year, my mom, Cleo James (age 95), wrote to The Advocate and sent a Mother’s Day tribute and photo of her mom, Estella Stringfield, who died in the 1970s.

“Mom did not mention it to anyone else in the family.

“So my Uncle Dale got the surprise of his life on Mother’s Day.

“He told me this story: ‘I was reading the Mother’s Day tributes in The Advocate and I started thinking about Mama. I looked up toward the heavens, and I said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.”

“‘When I looked back down at the newspaper, there was Mama staring back at me! I thought, “That looks just like my mother! Oh, it really is Mama!”

“‘It scared me because I had been thinking about her so intently, and then there she was right in front of my eyes in the newspaper!’”


After nostalgic readers, including me, mentioned Jabo, the ice cream man in Natchez, Mississippi, Pat Decell Irwin recalled another Natchez ice cream vendor of days past:

“I remember Robert, who not only sold ice cream, but also chances on the Indian Head Lottery that my folks owned and ran. So he was ‘double dipping’ in a sense.”

Special People Dept.

— C.J. Guillory celebrates his 100th birthday on Wednesday, June 24, with a 3 p.m. party at Gerry Lane Chevrolet, where he worked until two years ago. He was the second person hired at Polk Chevrolet (later Gerry Lane Chevrolet) more than 50 years ago.

— Gerry Apple celebrates her 90th birthday on Wednesday, June 24.

— Joyce Dickerson was 90 on June 18, and celebrated over the weekend with her family at a crawfish boil, a banquet at Juban’s and a luncheon at St. James Place, where she and her husband Max live.

— Paul and Gloria Fugler Gabel, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Wednesday, June 24.

Educational experience

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, tells of overhearing this job interview:

Interviewer: “Tell me about your education. How far did you go in school?”

Applicant: “About four miles both ways, every day.”

Bad reptile rap

There are no doubt many Louisiana residents who have never seen an alligator in the wild — but you’ll never convince people outside the state of this.

Robert Day offers an example:

“Some 15 or so years ago, my friend Reese Sumrall came from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to take his mother to a family gathering in Lake Charles.

“I lent him my car for the trip, and somewhere west of Lafayette an 18-wheeler lost a tread that flew through the air and crushed my windshield.

“As the tread flew through the air towards them, his mother screamed, ‘Alligator!’”

Contacting Smiley

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