Dr. William Smith passes along this story that supposedly happened on the Panama Limited, the legendary train running from New Orleans to Chicago.

I doubt that it really happened, but it’s still a fine tale:

A businessman boarded the train in New Orleans and told the head porter, “I’m dead tired, so I’m going to have a bite to eat and get to bed early for a nap.

“I have the most important business meeting of my life at my company headquarters in Memphis.

“I must get off this train in Memphis, but I’m a sound sleeper and I hate to get up. I want you to be certain to get me and my luggage off.

“Whatever I do or say when you wake me up, just be sure to get me off this train.”

The next morning the businessman woke up and looked out the window to see the snow-covered Chicago train yard.

He found the head porter, and ranted and raged, just short of threatening to murder him.

After the tirade, another porter who had observed the disturbance said to the head porter, “Man, he was some mad, huh?”

The head porter told him, “If you think HE was mad, you should have seen the guy I put off at Memphis.”

Brief encounter

Thaddeus Marcell, of Morgan City, adds to our seminar on turtle soup:

“Years ago, on a trip to take my father-in-law to a doctor’s appointment in New Orleans, we stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch.

“On the menu was turtle soup, his favorite, which he hadn’t had in a long time.

“When the waitress brought it to him, he took one spoonful of it and saw that it was mostly liquid and not much else.

“He asked the waitress if she had seen the turtle around the place lately.

“With a dumfounded look on her face, she asked why.

“Father-in-law told her that if the turtle had been around, he must have stepped in and out of the soup pot on his way out.”

Which reminds me

Once I was hanging out at a small bar on the Amite River when I noticed a sign telling of a free turtle sauce piquant dinner that evening.

I asked the bartender how many turtles they were using, and she replied, “One.”

Noting my surprised look, she pointed to a table that was covered by a turtle the size of a washtub.

I agreed with her that in this case, one was enough.

Memory games

Louis B. Gaudin says he and some fellow seniors were thinking about outdoor games from elementary school days, and recalled “Red Rover.”

He says they recall “a line of kids holding hands and yelling to the opposing team, ‘Red Rover, come over — send (pick a name) over.’ Then he or she would try to break through our team’s line.

“None of us remember what happened next. How did a team win?

“I do remember a sixth-grade classmate who played the game having to leave school to get his broken arm put in a cast.

“Maybe your readers can bring us up to date.”

Worthy causes

A “Beat the Odds Casino Night and Silent Auction” at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Capitol Park Welcome Center benefits The Mental Health Association for Greater Baton Rouge.

Jenny Ridge says tickets are $75 for “a festive night of food, fun and live casino action!”

There will be prizes for the top three “gamers,” playing such pastimes as Texas Hold’em, blackjack, craps and roulette.

Buy tickets online at http://www.mhagbr.com or at the door. Call 929-7674 for more information.

Jenny adds, “All proceeds go to support those in our community with mental illness and substance addictions. There is no health without mental health!”

Happy returns

Evelyn M. Edwards thanks the “angel” who found her Sam’s Club and debit cards along with her house, car and other keys and returned them to the service counter at Sam’s.

“It’s good to know that honesty still prevails,” she says.

Special People Dept.

John and Beverly King celebrate their 65th anniversary Wednesday.

Cheap cats

Beth Brewster says Companion Animal Alliance, in an effort to move 90 adult cats and avoid a cat-astrophe, is offering them for $10 each to the public and “free to qualified rescue groups.”

Most can be seen on Petfinder. Call (225) 774-7701 or visit http://www.caabr.org.

Just deserts

Shooter Mullins says, “I’m tired of the commercials on TV offering me the credit I deserve or the service I deserve or the settlement I deserve.

“I’m not very impressed with that, and I will hold out for a better offer.

“Who wants to settle for what they deserve? The very idea!”

That warm feeling

Algie Petrere was thinking of Mother’s Day when she recalled this definition:

Sweater: Something you wear when your mother gets cold.

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.