Nobey Benoit offers this look at Louisiana's wild kingdom:

"When I set up the raised bed in my backyard, I also set up a trellis and planted six muscadine vines. This summer was the second year, and as expected, the vines were loaded with muscadines.

"I looked forward to early September when the muscadines would be fully ripe. Then one day, I checked the vines and all of the muscadines were gone.

"I set a live animal trap, and in three days, I trapped two possums and a raccoon. Watching the first captured possum, my anger subsided: 'Hey, critters gotta eat, too.'

"I decided I had merely received payback for all those wild muscadines I had eaten when I was a kid. I relocated the possums and the raccoon to the woods a few miles away.

"But they are not off the hook yet. I think Wile E. Coyote's Cajun cousins will probably enjoy feasting on these muscadine fatted critters instead of the neighborhood pets.

"An electric fence protecting next year's crop is in the planning stage."

Which reminds me

When my mom and dad moved from Kenner to Oakdale after their retirement, they bought a few acres and set about planting every flower and bush they could find.

Dad (Smiley Sr.) soon found that armadillos were enjoying their plants at night.

He complained to me about the hungry diggers around Christmas time. I had heard of a gent in Kentwood who sold armadillo traps, so I drove over there and picked up one of the wooden contraptions as a Christmas gift.

Dad was delighted and set it up right away.

When I returned for a visit a month or two later, I asked him about the trap.

He told me he had trapped two possums, a rabbit and a cat — and the trap made excellent firewood.    

No oyster shells?

Bob Ussery says Kristen Mossbrucker's Sunday Advocate story about bagasse — sugar cane waste — being used as fuel "was nostalgic for me, because way back in the early 1950s, people in Algiers were using the grayish fibrous stuff to make driveways.

"It was not as good as concrete but tough enough to last a number of years, easy to replenish and seemed to be biodegradable. And, I assume, cheap."

Artistic robins

Answering a recent question, J. Coe, of Baton Rouge, says a freeze resulted in the lack of camphor trees in New Orleans.

"Camphor trees were planted during yellow fever epidemics. My mother hated the camphor trees on North Dorgenois Street in New Orleans.

"Robins ate the berries and 'painted' purple stripes on her beautiful white sheets hanging on the clothesline.

"Baton Rouge has its own camphor trees downtown, behind First Methodist Church — if they didn't freeze also."

Flat nice people

Jan Burtt says, "I would like to thank Sullivan Gaudet for fixing my flat tire, and tell him, 'You were certainly my guardian angel today!' Love those Donaldsonville folks."

Special People Dept.

  • Gladys Neil, of Marrero, celebrates her 98th birthday Tuesday, Oct. 1.
  • T. Med Hogg, of Baton Rouge, celebrated his 98th birthday Sunday, Sept. 29. He was an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. (Son Jim says, "Boss Hogg gets a call from the Railroad Retirement payment department each year just to see if he's still alive.")

Precious cargo

Mary Vernoy, of Metairie, adds to our stories of beer runs back when Coors beer wasn't available in Louisiana and folks down here enjoyed the challenge of obtaining it:

"In the 1970s, I was in Naval Reserve crews on transport planes out of New Orleans.

"Every time we made a West Coast run, I always made sure seven or eight cases of Coors beer were strapped down in the back of our plane.

"There are advantages to having your 'own' aircraft."

Ray and Leslie

Ray Schell, of Prairieville, dedicates this to his wife, Shirley:

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Shirley.

Shirley who?

Shirley you must be joking.

(Which reminds me, and doubtless others, of Leslie Nielsen's "Don't call me Shirley!' line as Dr. Rumack in the classic comedy "Airplane!")   

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.