From our “Memorable Misunderstandings Dept.,” this story from Arthur Paine:

His daughter-in-law Allison was on a business trip to San Francisco, but had time for some sight-seeing. She called home to speak to husband Mike, son Trey, 12, and daughter Jaidan, 8.

Here’s how the call went:

Mike: “Hello!”

Allison: “Hey! How is everyone?”

Mike: “Let me put you on speaker.”

Kids: “Hey, hello, Mom.”

Mike: “Did you go to Alcatraz yet?”


Jaidan: “Wait, Mom’s in prison?”

Mike: “Yes, this is her one call, so make the most out of it.”

First gator

Stories of alligator encounters remind Jean Richardson Register-Waits, of Port Allen, of her initial gator sighting:

“In the early ’30s, living in North Carolina, my dad worked for the railroad and got passes. He had one for my brother and me to come to Baton Rouge to visit my uncle in Baker.

“When we got to New Orleans and had to change trains, there was a long wait and we took a walk. We missed the train, but a lady at Travelers’ Aid found a place for us to spend the night.

“While we were waiting at the train station, we saw a large pool, and in it was a big alligator. I sure didn’t get very close after it opened its mouth!

“The small girl from North Carolina had a story to tell her classmates back in Raleigh.

“I will never forget my first alligator, and seeing the Mississippi River. I never thought I would have this river in my back yard.”

Northern exposure

Judy B., whose question about white boots (aka Cajun Reeboks) led to a seminar on the subject, says, “Thanks for explaining the white boots. Now I get it. I could get the coveralls and boots and LSU cap (as you advised), but I wouldn’t be taken for a Cajun the moment I opened my Yankee mouth.”

Not funny

After I told in the Thursday column of two guys in Panama City, Florida, fighting over gumbo spices, I found what I thought was a funny item was decidedly unfunny.

T-Bob Taylor, who sent me the story, and Jack Coffee, of Sunset, both told me later that they had learned how the fight ended — a 33-year-old man was knifed and killed by a co-worker at a seafood market.

The victim, Caleb Joshua Halley, was famous in Florida for portraying “Chief Osceola,” the Florida State Seminoles mascot, from 2004 to 2007. That’s the guy who rides in on a horse before football games and sticks a spear in the ground.

Radio Man

The death of Lew Carter at 92 reminded me of the two hats he wore during his pioneering work in Baton Rouge radio.

When he was running WXOK, the station was aimed at a black audience, but it provided the background music for me and a lot of white folks in the early days of R&B. Lew also had a fine news department — Kip Holden and John Camp were just two of the talented people who worked there.

Lew’s other hat was as host of a Saturday morning show on WRKF public radio, playing big band music and exhibiting his vast knowledge of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and other kings of swing.

There have been a lot of changes in radio, not all of them for the better. The contributions of Lew Carter remind us what a powerful force local radio can be.

Good Samaritan

Jan Easley thanks “the gentleman from St. George Fire Department who came to my aid one morning when my vehicle left me stranded on Airline Highway near Pecue Lane.

“He graciously pushed my car out of harm’s way, allowing traffic to flow during a hectic time of the day — 11:15 a.m.

“When I tried three times offering money for his act of kindness, he asked me to ‘donate it to St. Jude.’

“What a class act guy!”

Special People Dept.

— Mildred Hebert, formerly of White Castle, now living in Dallas, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 1.

— Lillie Ellzey, of Denham Springs, celebrated her 98th birthday on Thursday, July 2.

— Joe and Sybil Boudreaux, of Ventress, celebrated 66 years of marriage on Thursday, July 2.

— Cliff and Jan Thomas, of Harvey, celebrate their 62nd anniversary on Friday, July 3.

— Harold and Noralee Patton, of Central, celebrate 62 years of marriage on Sunday, July 5.

— On Friday, July 3, Lamar and Audrey Seymour Landry celebrate their 50th anniversary.

— Donald and Gerrie Laiche, of Lutcher, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, July 3.

Not so divine

Wendy Lipsey says, “Three years ago I was with my mom and dad, son, and two nieces at the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

“My niece Marla screamed as we were going through the Chapel — a bird had left a deposit on her arm.

“My first reaction was, ‘HOLY...!’”

Then, says Wendy, she realized where she was, and didn’t finish the thought...

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.