I mentioned switching from monkey stories to alligator stories, so here's my favorite story involving gators:

In the early days of the column, I was invited to be a judge at the Franklin Alligator Festival, where we tasted 30-40 dishes made from the meat of the reptile. (The winner was gator cooked with turnips in a heavenly brown gravy, but never mind that…)

One of the dishes was presented by an adorable, petite young lady. When I asked her where she had obtained the meat, she said this in a delightful Cajun accent:

"Well, I backed my pickup to that gator hole, and I let out cable from the winch on the back of the truck. I had a big stainless steel hook on the end of the cable, and I put a raw chicken on it and threw it in the water. As soon as the gator bit into it and got hooked, I winched him up to the bank, got my .22 rifle from my truck and shot him between the eyes. Then I pulled him up into the bed of the truck, and took him to the skinning shed so we could gut him, skin him and butcher him."

I thought then, "This is not a woman I'd ever want angry with me…"    

Fighting germs?

Hodges Mercer, of Slidell, reminds us that college students doing stupid stuff is not a new development:

"The recent stories about playing cards remind me of my freshman year at Louisiana Tech in 1967.

"Back then Ruston and the parish were 'dry,' and we had to drive 37 miles to buy beer in Monroe.

"But, we could buy a bottle of Dr. Tichenor’s Antiseptic at any gas station. Now, in those days it was 90% alcohol, and you didn’t need to be 18 to buy it.

"Our dorm floor took to holding nightly 'Old Maid' games, and whoever got the Old Maid had to kill a shot of Dr Tich! I’m sho nuff glad none of us had to drive home after the games!"

Alfresco dining

Terry Maderson says, "After reading about high school cafeterias, I would like to add my experience.

"The class of '52 at St. Aloysius in New Orleans had an 'outdoor cafeteria;' no tables or benches. We would pick up our lunch from a small room — French bread with various luncheon meats, or cheese on Fridays. No lettuce or tomato; mayo or mustard for fifteen cents.

"We ate in the schoolyard. When it rained we ate standing up in the hall."

The great escape

Bennie Hughes offers this monkey story:

"Remember Baton Rouge's Fun Fair Park at Airline Highway and Florida Boulevard?

"They had a chimpanzee. When I was a state trooper at Troop A, it slipped its cage one afternoon.

"There was quite a roundup; I was blocking traffic on the service road. Eventually Animal Control and the owner managed to get it corralled."

Special People Dept.

  • Bob Stuart celebrates his 95th birthday Tuesday, July 14. The former president and CEO of Buquet & LeBlanc, Baton Rouge general contractors, he served in Army Intelligence during the Korean War. Daughter Sally Stuart Morgan adds, "He is the only man in this town who was a cheerleader for Baker High, Baton Rouge High, and LSU."
  • Lloyd Schroeder, of Gonzales, formerly of Harahan, celebrates his 95th birthday Tuesday, July 14.
  • Vernon Thorning celebrates his 91st birthday Tuesday, July 14. He is a retired employee of Baton Rouge's State-Times and Morning Advocate newspapers, now The Advocate.

Idea of the Week

Storm, of Baton Rouge, says this about a local high school once named for a Confederate general:

"Thinking they should rename Lee High for Spike Lee. The drama students would love it, and it would save a bunch of money!"

Out of luck

Sammy, of Denham Springs, poses a question that pretty much sums up the year 2020 so far:

"Does anyone know when the black-eyed peas and cabbage I ate on New Years Day for good luck this year is supposed to kick in?"

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.