Patsy Picard's "culture shock" tale:

"One of my nieces, Sommer Picard, moved to Arlington, Texas, to attend graduate school and met her future husband, Josh, there.

"On their first trip here, he remarked about wanting to see gators on the sides of the road!"

"I was assigned to entertain him for a day at The Island golf course in Plaquemine. Approaching the 11th tee we saw an 8-or-9 foot gator in the middle of the fairway.

"Two guys, alligator trappers there to remove the gator to the wild, realized how scared Josh was, and began to tease the gator to make him move around.

"Needless to say, we gave each other a par on the hole and moved to the next one."

Grandpa's version

Kirk Bridges, of Lafayette, says, "One of your readers said Huey Long had live oaks planted along U.S. 190. My grandpa 'larned' me different when I was a young 'un.

"He said planting of live oaks along U.S. 90 and U.S. 190 was a WPA project during and after the Depression to provide jobs. Grandpa worked on a planting crew between Mermentau and Jennings.

"Many of those trees were cut down in the '60s; one after each auto collision (the trees always won.)"

Joyful noise

Ray recalls his music-making days:

"In the late '50s, I was in the 6th or 7th grade at Destrehan Junior High and wanted to try out for band.

"I wanted to play trumpet, but thought the word for that was 'trombone.' The case was as big as I was! I was horrible; I had no clue about slide placement.

"When I finally got big enough to play loud enough to be noticed, the band director took me aside after practice and said, 'Ray, the band needs your help. We need a bass-clef baritone horn player real bad.'

"The baritone played from the same music I was used to, and each trombone slide position was exactly matched to a certain configuration of valves. I transitioned in about three days, and all was well.

"I didn’t figure out what happened until I was in my 30s! Bless those compassionate band leaders!"

Snake selling

Chuck Falcon, of Donaldsonville, says, "Wonder how many people remember Kelly 'Snake Man' Falcon?

"Kelly would go out into the swamp in the Lake Verret area, catch water moccasins with his bare hands and bag them to sell to snake farms.

"He had a pet alligator in a caged pit in his front yard. People would leave tips to help feed the alligator."

Helpful islanders

Linda Dalferes says, "Saw in your column the bit about Pecan Island and the beautiful drive along La. 82.

"Made me remember the beautiful people in Pecan Island who noticed a mom and dad stuck with two kids in a kaput car on the side of the road.

"They invited us into their home and fed us lunch and lemonade while the man of the house arranged for his friend to tow our car to his shop for repair.

"That was many, many years ago, and I will never forget it."

Special People Dept.

— Beverly Thomas, of Baton Rouge, formerly of Gonzales, celebrates her 95th birthday Thursday, July 23. She lost her home in the Baton Rouge flood of 2016, and took out a 30-year mortgage to finance a new one.   

— Salvador J. "Sal" Guarino, of Slidell, celebrated his 92nd birthday Wednesday, July 22. He is a Korean War veteran.

Picture that!

When you reach a certain age, one of the most painful experiences you can have is taking a look at your high school yearbook photo.

Ken Best knows the feeling:

"In the Wednesday Advocate is a picture of a young lady getting her 'yearbook environmental pictures' taken.

"My yearbook picture from 1963 looks like it was taken by Matthew Brady — or the booking officer at the parish jail."

Thought for the Day

From Terry Grundmann, of Kenner: "To those who claim their freedom to not wear a mask, I respond with the old saying I’ve adapted — your freedom stops where my nose starts."

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.