Lillian Miller, this column's unpaid seasonal poet, expresses our longing for a change in seasons:

"It isn’t really fall,

and I’ve already got the 'feel.'

But I’m in the crafts store,

and the leaves aren’t real.

The colors there are changin’,

the pine cones there are fallin’,

outside the store; well, it’s Louisiana, dawlin'.

But the fake leaves 'have me,' and I don’t care;

they send the message:

'We’re almost there.' ”

A moving idea

Leslie Tassin, of Baton Rouge, says, "On a recent trip to Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick), we drove through most of the states in the Northeast.

"Where there were three lanes in use, the first lane was reserved for buses and 18-wheelers. The other two lanes were reserved for other vehicles.

"The flow of traffic moved very quickly. Louisiana is now building more three-lane interstates. Perhaps DOTD should consider this proposal to help move traffic faster."

Initial reaction

Nancy C. Van Den Akker tells of one of the world's worst corrections:

"Some years ago, I was trying to make an Amtrak reservation over the phone.

"The agent asked where I was coming from, and I said New Orleans. She asked me to spell it, and then asked what state. I replied Louisiana, and she asked me how to abbreviate it.

"I was a little surprised, but replied, 'L-A.'

" 'No,' she said, 'that's Los Angeles.' "

Pay attention!

Keith Horcasitas says he was at a Baton Rouge produce store when this happened:

"I saw a woman walking into the store and then, all of a sudden, she did a quick turnaround and ran to her car to take her baby out from the car seat.

"It was close to noon on a very sunny day.

"We all get too distracted and preoccupied with other things at times. But let's not forget to check for our kids (and pets) in cars to avoid a tragedy."

Here endeth the lesson...

Mom vs. The Bug

"Anna's Son" tells this Beetle story about his mother and his stepbrother:

"In the mid-1970s, an aspiring young musician from south Texas was in the Army in Hawaii. He had an undependable VW Beetle, all he and his wife could afford.

"Shortly before he was discharged, they had the car shipped to New Orleans, and his future stepmother Anna, who lived in southwest Louisiana at the time, took a bus to New Orleans to pick it up.

"She had never driven a bug before, but a helpful freight company employee taught her the finer points of doing so at dockside.

"Anna almost made it home, but the bug broke down, and she had to walk the last several miles to her home north of Westlake.

"Happy ending: The car was fixed and found its way back to Texas.

"The soldier/musician, country music star George Strait, can now afford more reliable transportation — and Anna, now almost 100, still enjoys telling of the only time she ever drove a VW Beetle."

Special People Dept.

  • Ruth Pulver, of Ponchatoula, celebrates her 97th birthday Thursday, Aug. 22. She is a former resident of Sulphur.
  • Owen J. Lange Jr. celebrates his 92nd birthday Thursday, Aug. 22.
  • Carl and Nell Meriwether, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 67th anniversary Thursday, Aug. 22.
  • Barry and Ginger Rester, of Huntersville, North Carolina, formerly of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 60th anniversary Thursday, Aug. 22.
  • Susan and Steve Fourrier celebrated their 51st anniversary Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Unexpected guest

Years ago, at the late lamented Lafitte's Landing in Donaldsonville, I was at a lunch where the topic was expensive meals we had experienced.

Chef John Folse told of an elaborate dinner in Paris, and I told of a memorable lunch at Manhattan's Four Seasons, which ran $100 back when such a price was an unusual occurrence.

Then a Cajun member of the group shut us up with his story of a $500 robin gumbo.

Seems the game warden showed up uninvited at lunchtime — and in their haste to prepare the delicacy, the hunters had neglected to sweep up the telltale feathers.

The Cajun didn't tell us how if he had enjoyed the gumbo…   

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.