OK, I give up.
I’ve tried to convince folks outside Louisiana that we’re not hip-deep in alligators, but the stories of encounters with gators keep coming in.
So I guess I’ll just keep running them, even if they frighten readers in the Frozen Nawth.
Pat Alba, of Metairie, tells this gator story:
“In the ’60s a restaurant on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge was bordered by a lake, which was home to a 7-foot alligator, Sam.
“The restaurant owner said a fishing buddy from down the bayou had brought the hatchling years before, and now it was ‘domesticated,’ often begging for hand-outs at the kitchen door.
“One day at lunch, while I was seated at a window overlooking the lake and adjacent parking lot, I saw a car with a Connecticut license pull up.
“A young couple got out and tied their two toy poodles to the bumper before approaching the restaurant.
“Alarmed, I alerted a waiter, who intercepted the couple at the entrance.
“They rushed out, and while the lady raced the engine the young man frantically released the panicked poodles and jumped with them into the back seat.
“Sam, having made a bee-line across the lake, was already ashore when the car roared out of the lot, scattering gravel.
“Don’t worry, Smiley, the folks back in Connecticut probably didn’t believe the story (either).”
Jim Carruth, of Lafayette, says the reader who told in the Thursday column about buying young Elvis Presley a beer in a Plaquemine honky-tonk may not have seen him drink it:
“There are no stories of Elvis drinking alcohol. He once stated that he always avoided alcohol because of his dad’s love for liquor.
“My lifelong friend Merle Kilgore, who was MC at the Louisiana Hayride during Elvis’s tenure, said alcohol and nicotine were never in Elvis’s life.
“When offered a cigarette or beer, he always said, ‘Thanks, but I don’t smoke or drink.’
“As we know, in his later years he never turned down a prescription drug. So sad.”
“My husband and I were almost the victims of a scam, and I want to alert others.
“A birthday card I had addressed to my grandson was apparently stolen out of our mailbox, as he never received it.
“We received a phone call from a young man saying he was Jim, our grandson, calling us Grandma and Pepaw, as Jim does.
“He told us he was in jail on a DUI from an accident the night before, and his lawyer would be calling us in 10 minutes to tell us about a plea deal he had negotiated to get him out of jail and get his record expunged.
“Sure enough, the ‘lawyer’ call came, informing us where to send a money order for $950 to pay for the damage to the other party’s car.
“We almost fell for it, but fortunately I called my grandson and he was not in jail, had not been in Baton Rouge, had not had an accident, and was sitting in his house studying.
“There were several red flags, but I was amazed that just from the personal info in an innocuous birthday card, such a scam could arise. Just be aware — crooks are everywhere!”
In our Nostalgia Corner, J.E. Schexnayder asks, “Does anyone remember the old polo field at Highland and Old Perkins, where Blue Bayou Water Park now sits? There would be polo games every Sunday.”
(Yes, in my single days I thought it was cool to invite a young lady to the polo game, and bring a picnic basket of cold chicken, brie and French bread, with chilled champagne served in silver goblets. It was a nice way to feel rich for a while...)
Daniel Wilson says that’s the name of the sewing group from Live Oak Methodist Church, not “Threads of Love,” as stated in the Tuesday column. The group makes quilts for cancer patients, veterans, etc.
Special People Dept.
— Hazel Roy, of Brusly, celebrates her 100th birthday on Monday, July 27.
— Paul Legrand, of New Orleans, celebrates his 94th birthday on Monday, July 27. He is a World War II veteran.
— Bettie Lane, of St. James Place, celebrates her 90th birthday on Monday, July 27, with friends and family at Dearman’s over hamburgers and milkshakes.
New parish slogan?
Keith Gautreau says, “I have been enjoying the various ‘where two or more are gathered...’ printed in your column, and have one of my own for you.
“When my Baton Rouge-born and -raised wife and I got married, we lived in Prairieville, which is where I’m from.
“After living in Ascension Parish for only a short time, she made the shrewd observation that ‘where two or more are gathered, there is Jesus and jambalaya.’”
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.