“My late stepmother, Zina Stringfield Tate, was quite a lady,” says Harvey Tate:

“During World War II she enlisted in the WACS, and served in Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters. Later she taught school for 40 years.

“After retiring, Mrs. Zina took a part-time job with the Denham Springs News, reporting on events of the Amite Baptist Church community.

“She was paid by the number of words, and no one dared tell her anything, because she would put it in her column.

“My wife had a death in her family and we attended the funeral. Mrs. Zina wrote, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Tate had the opportunity to visit the funeral home in Hammond last Friday. A good time was had by all.’”

It’s a cat thing

Larry Sylvester says, “Mike the Tiger was front page news in The Advocate this week, so I guess that makes him a legitimate topic for speculation in this column.

“His record of attendance at home games indicates he showed good sense in supporting the 2011 team that won all the home games (and away games).

“Perish the thought, but Mike may be a fair-weather fan. He does not support a losing effort.

“There is another consideration: he might prefer attending some other type of event — a baseball game at the Box, a track meet, a concert. Has anyone consulted him about these other occasions? Just wondering.”

(Larry, as the co-owner of two cats, I can tell you this — Mike will do whatever pleases him, and no more...)

Alarm system

“I was sitting in my bedroom, reading,” says Barbara Bilberry, “and all of a sudden the birds in the backyard were screaming to the top of their voices! It went on for quite a while, so I went to see what was the problem.

“There on the back fence sat a big hawk, picking out his lunch for the day.

“I moved toward the hawk and he took off. Then the entire brigade of birds took off behind the hawk, screaming such ‘fowl’ language as they chased him out of the neighborhood!

“What a beautiful neighborhood watch!”

Hispanic horror

Francisco Lomas says as much as he loves Cajuns, after reading about the Cajun werewolf (rougarou or loup-garou) in the Tuesday column, he’s rather glad he’s not one.

The column item dealt with a French legend that if you violated Lenten rules for seven years, you became one of the dreaded creatures.

He says, “By not faithfully observing the Lenten season about meatless Fridays, in all likelihood I would have turned into the south of the border equivalent, the chupacabra, a blood-sucking goat.”

(Wow, that makes a werewolf seem pretty ordinary!)

Special People Dept.

— Katie Nell Morgan celebrates her 97th birthday on Friday, Sept. 4. She is a retired principal and teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools.

— Earl J. Guidry celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, Sept. 4. He attended LSU home football games for 60 years without missing one — but now watches them on TV in his “LSU man cave.”

— Violet Guidroz Gauthier, who grew up on False River, was a long-time Baton Rouge resident and now lives in Prairieville, celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, Sept. 5.

— G.W. and Patsy Richardson, of Gonzales, celebrate their 75th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 4. Carolyn also celebrates her 92nd birthday that day.

— Bruce and Jeanne Tregre celebrate their 65th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 4.

— Bill and Ann Hanegan celebrate 63 years of marriage on Sunday, Sept. 6.

— Anthony and Nancy Michelli celebrate their 61st anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 5.

— Lionel and Carolyn Keller celebrated their 60th anniversary on Aug. 29.

— Robert M. “Bob” and Alicia “Lee” Carr, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 56th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 5.

— Sylvester and Jackie Giroir, of Jackson, celebrate 56 years of marriage on Sunday, Sept. 6.

— LeRoy and Mildred Robin, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 4.

— Arthur and Linda Schafer, of Lafayette, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Shocking behavior

Val Garon, of Prairieville, says, “I just finished reading an article in Scientific American about researchers using electric shocking systems to stun fish and capture invasive species while returning native species to the water.

“Quite a few of my old Cajun friends made their living this (illegal) way. They used the cranking device from old-time telephones to shock and stun fish so they would float to the surface and be netted.

“The buyer asked one fisherman, ‘Did you telephone these catfish?’

“The answer was, ‘Oh, no sir; I dropped them a line!’”

(Reminds me of the story about the city guy who goes out fishing in a boat with an old Cajun. The Cajun lights a stick of dynamite and hands it to him. He says, “What’s this for?” The Cajun says, “You gonna talk or you gonna fish?”)

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.