After determining that all of you once owned a VW Beetle and have a story about it, we're winding down that topic. But there's still the VW bus to discuss, the ultimate hippie vehicle and the scene of … well, a lot of stuff.

Dixie Simon, of Lafayette, tells a VW bus story about campers, not hippies:

"In the early ’70s my husband and I converted an old VW bus, with all the side windows, into a camper. Anxious for our first outing, we headed for the KOA campground before I'd finished sewing the curtains.

"No problem, we thought. Using adhesive tape, I hung black trash bags at the windows for privacy.

"Late in the night, Louisiana's humidity did a number on the tape, and the plastic bags came down.

"Next morning, wearing nothing but our own embarrassment, we awoke to bright sunshine and the smiles of our fellow campers."

The last Joe?

After mention of "L'il Joes," we asked readers if they knew what that referred to.

The first respondent enclosed a photo of his unopened Joe. It's a 7-ounce brown bottle of Schlitz beer, titled "Little Joe" on the label.

"I wouldn’t dare open it now," he says, adding that he also wouldn't dare reveal his name. "My wife hates seeing my name in your column. (She will have a few more winces coming, I am sure.)"

And Randy Soileau says about the Little Joe, "That was the first beer I ordered at a nightclub, in 1968. I can’t say what age I was. I don't want to get the former owner in trouble. Hopefully he is resting peacefully in heaven, and I don’t want to disturb that arrangement."

Streetwise kid

Our story about the youngster running away from home reminded Jan Chategnier of this incident:

"When my brother Craig was about 5, he got so angry at my mom that he packed my doll suitcase and stated that he was running away from home.

"About five minutes later, he reappeared. I asked him what happened, and he said, 'I am not allowed to cross the street.' Ah, well…"

Bad tree!

Nobey Benoit joins our long-running tree discussion:

"Many people have the chinaberry or chinaball tree confused with the Chinese tallow tree. Some call them popcorn trees. These are the invasive ones. I doubt that you will see a chinaball tree today, they are so rare.

"If you see a Chinese tallow tree growing in your yard — and you will — cut it down while it's small. It's the most aggravating and messiest tree ever. You're welcome."

Special People Dept.

  • Gerald Creed, of Jackson, celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday, Aug. 31. He is a World War II Navy veteran, having served aboard the USS Feland, an attack transport that took Marines into six invasions of Pacific islands. He is a graduate of SLI in Lafayette, now UL.
  • Joyce Bourgeois Robinson Stanley, of Prairieville, celebrates her 91st birthday Thursday, Sept. 5. A graduate of Baton Rouge High, she returned to south Louisiana after living in Delhi 58 years.
  • Butch and Sylvia Felterman, of Patterson, celebrate their 70th anniversary Thursday, Sept. 5.
  • Anthony and Nancy Michelli celebrate their 65th birthday Thursday, Sept. 5.

Happily ever after…

A fairy tale from Loren Scott:

"Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating nature on the shores of a beautiful lake.

"The frog hopped into her lap and said, 'Elegant lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper young prince that I am. And then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in yon castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy in doing so.'

"That night, the princess dined sumptuously on a repast of lightly sautéed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and shallot cream sauce."

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