Lillian Miller, this column's unpaid Seasonal Poet, ponders the joys and sorrows of the upcoming season:

"Summertime and the livin' is easy?

Summertime, my legs and arms are greasy.

Greasy with sunscreen, greasy with bug spray,

In an effort to keep both of them away.

Cotton and nylon, my standard wear,

Chemicals, my standard gear.

Then I hear the call of Gulf and gulls,

And all the little peskiness fades to dull.

A week on the beach remedies all,

Till the chill returns to welcome fall."

A plane breakfast

Daniel K. Rester says, "For a number of years we went to the Sun-'n-Fun air show in Lakeland, Florida.

"We would camp out under the wing of our plane along with several hundred other campers and planes in the same field.

"In order to locate our plane after the air show, we attached a flagpole to the propeller, with an LSU flag on it.

"Also, being from Louisiana, we brought lots of food — steaks, jambalaya, etc. — and a camp stove.

"In the early morning I would start making coffee. Attracted by the flag and the smell, many other campers from all parts of the country would ask if we had Community Coffee. Happy to provide!"

To the moon?

John Hu, of Baton Rouge, says his 2000 Lexus RX 300 is approaching the 200,000-mile mark on its odometer.

Recently at a car wash, he says, "a young man asked my odometer reading. I mentioned to him that I probably should get a another car soon because of the high odometer reading.

"He told me that my car is still very young and that its Toyota engine can easily last 450,000 to 500,000 miles.

"A week later, I ran into a colleague of mine, a chemical engineer at Albemarle. I happened to mention to him that my Lexus is approaching 200,000 miles, and his immediate reaction is that in another 30,000 miles, I would have arrived at the moon.

"Smiley, please find out for me whether it is true that a Toyota engine is good for 500,000 miles? I just want to make sure I can get back to earth in my 2000 Lexus."

The distance to the moon is 238,900 miles, so getting there is within reach. Getting back, however, is another matter.

Consumer Reports says that in the past, 150,000 miles was about the limit of a car's life. But today, with "big improvements in powertrain technology, rust prevention, lubricants, and more…almost any car can make it into six-figure territory with proper care."

Still, 200,000 miles seems to be the figure cited when engine longevity is discussed.

Dead reckoning

Ernie Gremillion tells how to deal with the cruel phone scam "where a young voice tries to convince you he is your grandchild, in trouble and needing immediate funds to get out of some predicament.

"It went like this:

"'Grandpa, it's me, Jason.'

"'Jason? You died in a car accident last year.'

"'No, Grandpa, I didn't die.'

"'Jason, I went to your funeral.' Click.

"I would love to have been privy to his comments to his fellow scammers after this call."

Special People Dept.

  • Zula Dupuy, of Lutcher, celebrates her 97th birthday Friday, May 24.
  • Audrey Leblanc Duke, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday, May 24.
  • George Herman Jr. celebrated his 92nd birthday Thursday, May 23. He is a World War II Merchant Marine veteran, and a Korean conflict Marine veteran. He's a Shell Oil retiree.
  • Frank and Carol Frederic, of St. Amant, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Saturday, May 25.

Tail tale

Algie Petrere, of Central, says, "I just returned from a trip to northwest Arkansas, so I guess I have Walmart on the brain. Too bad!

"A woman was working in her yard with a powered weed cutter when she accidentally cut off the tail of her cat.

"She ran screaming into the house and told her husband, wondering what to do.

"He replied calmly, 'Get the cat and the tail, and we'll take them to Walmart.'

"She was incredulous. 'How could that possibly help?' she asked.

"'Well,' he replied, 'they're the world's largest retailer.'"

"Too bad" is right, Algie.

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.