Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, gives us this true confession:

“I grew up on Main Street and in my cousins’ neighborhoods, without very much agricultural experience.

“As a teenager, I had a beautiful blue Honda 50 Super Sport motorcycle.

“This expanded my roaming territory to the ‘country’ in Evangeline Parish.

“One August day, while exploring in the Faubourg area for the upcoming dove season, my biker gang and I came across a weed patch that had these cute little melons.

“Excited about our find of wild watermelons, we picked a few and began eating.

“A little while later, a man in a pickup truck drove up and politely asked our names and parents’ names.

“I proudly volunteered the information.

“That night, the phone rang. After my pop hung up, he told me not to steal any more watermelons.

“After hearing my version, my mom, raised on a farm, explained that the ‘weed patch’ was what watermelons look like before they made it to the A&P.”

Political animals

Tookie Hendry addresses the issue of a new home for the Baton Rouge Zoo:

“If it must be done, I suggest moving it to the State Capitol grounds, where the ‘political zoo’ has been going on for almost nine decades!

“In the words of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut: ‘Welcome to the Monkey House.’”

Detail omitted

Tom Cagley says, “Darrell Davis, a friend and co-worker from our days at Goudchaux’s/Maison Blanche, and I have lunch often.

“At lunch the other day, I mentioned that I had asked another friend from Goudchaux’s to speak at my funeral, and had answered 10 soul-searching questions she had asked me.

“He paused, looked at me with a deadpan expression, and asked, ‘Did you give her a date?’”

Air attack

Shelly Strobel, of Watson, comments on our flying squirrel stories:

“In the mid-1950s, my Istrouma cousins, Louis and Leslie Jones, had one!

“That little critter loved to hide up in the drapes and swoop down suddenly into the girls’ ponytails.

“Needless to say, their sisters, Bo and Maurine, and their girl cousins were not amused!”

Flat nice people

JoAnn Fryling, of Baton Rouge, says, “We were just returning home from Natchitoches and noticed the pavement was making a funny sound as we drove down Nicholson Drive.

“My husband pulled into a lot at Alex Box Stadium to check the tires, and one was totally flat.

“Moments later LSU police officer Richardson appeared and asked if he could help us. What a blessing! We never could have changed the tire without his help.

“Once the spare was on the car, he suggested we call LSU police if we ever needed help, saying, ‘That’s what we do.’

“How wonderful to know that. What a gentleman.”

Grand opener

Lee Melancon says our Friday discussion about the evaporated milk can opener was evidently referring to the round metal device from Pet brand canned milk.

He sent a photo, and says, “My mom had these. You would put it over the can and punch down on it. You would also keep the cover on the can in the fridge.”

Special People Dept.

Helena “Nonnie” Swindler celebrates her 95th birthday on Tuesday, March 29.

Gertrude “Trudy” Waguespack celebrates her 90th birthday on Tuesday, March 29.

Gwynn Verbois, of Prairieville, celebrates her 90th birthday on Tuesday, March 29. Her former and current piano students are invited to check on Facebook for details on the celebration.

Hovering Grandma

The phrase “helicopter parent” has become popular lately, describing parents who “hover” over their children, watching their every move:

Karen Poirrier, of Lutcher, tells a story to show that this tendency can also be found among grandparents:

“During his Easter break from school, I took my 15-year-old grandson, Taylor, to Baton Rouge to shop for an Easter gift of his choosing — with a predetermined maximum amount, of course!

“After asking me to stay in the car while he shopped with my credit card, and receiving an adamant ‘No!’ each time we arrived at a store of his choice, I asked him if he thought I was a helicopter grandmother.

“He replied, ‘My head is your helipad!’”

Sunday bargain

Al Bethard, of Lafayette, says, “Your correspondence about church offering collections brought this story to mind:

“As a family was driving home from church, the father criticized the sermon; the mother said she thought the organist had made a lot of mistakes, and big sister said the choir was terrible.

“Then little brother said, ‘I thought it was a pretty good show for a nickel.’”

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.