I should have known our Friday story about a pet turtle escaping on an airplane flight would lead to an influx of turtle tales:

"Your story about the turtle on the plane reminded me of a painful childhood experience," says Ken Best, of Baton Rouge.

"We had a camp on False River in the ’50s and ’60s. One summer night Dad asked me and a friend who was with me if we wanted to run the trot line he had baited several hours earlier.

"Among other things, we caught a large soft shell turtle. Dad lifted the turtle up in a fish net, with its head sticking out of the net.

"I was wearing shorts, and while getting out of the boat I brushed up against the net.

"Being in a bad mood already, the turtle reached out and bit me on the leg.

"Naturally I let out a scream. My friend, not knowing what had happened, ran up to the camp and told my mother, 'Mrs. Best, come quick. Kenneth is having a fit!'

"I survived, no worse for the wear. The turtle ended up in a sauce piquant."

(That's what I would call a happy ending.)

Which reminds me

My favorite turtle story brings me back to the afternoon I was hydrating at a little bar on the banks of the Amite River.

Noticing a sign advertising a free turtle sauce piquant that evening, I asked the bartender, "How many turtles do you need for that?"

She grinned and replied, "One," as she proudly displayed a 70-pound behemoth.      

Elton who?

Want to feel ancient? Then read this and weep:

Patsy Picard, of Plaquemine, says, "Over the years Chinkie and I have had numerous cats and have enjoyed naming them.

"Eighteen years ago we got a kitten and named him 'Rocket Man!'

"He is still with us but is now almost blind. We hope he is with us a long, long time.

"People must know that we are 'Crazy Cat Ladies,' as we frequently have strays that ‘find’ their way to our backyard.

"Our latest is 'Benny Andthejets.'

"When calling our vet to have him looked over, the vet's tech could not get the last name.

"I said, 'As in the song.' Her response was, ‘I’m too young to know that.’ ”

Meeting Youppers

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, "Donna Daniels Wakeman’s item in Thursday’s column brought back an incident to mind.

"When I worked at the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in the late ’80s and part of the ’90s, there were a lot of transplants from Michigan, so I learned of 'Youppers' (people from Upper Michigan).

"Fast-forward to 6 or 8 years ago, when I was at the bar of a downtown Lafayette restaurant during a Festival International.

"A couple was sitting near me with their son and daughter, both of drinking age. Not being shy and always liking to meet people from out of town, I struck up a conversation.

"When they said they were from Michigan I asked if they were Youppers. The daughter was floored that someone in Lafayette would know what a Youpper is!"

Special People Dept.

  • Jack Hartley, of Harahan, celebrated his 93rd birthday Thursday, Sept. 10. He served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, and in the Army during the Korean conflict, in the 8224th Engineering Construction Group.
  • Diane Colletti celebrated her 90th birthday Thursday, Sept. 10. Her husband, Anthony Colletti, celebrated his 90th birthday Sept. 5. Formerly of New Orleans, they now live in Kenner. Anthony is an Army veteran of the Korean War.
  • Randy and Lynn Bergeron, of Lacombe, celebrate 57 years of marriage Monday, Sept. 14.

Secret words

Larry Hebert gives us this helpful computer security hint:

"Having been born in Crowley and raised in Lafayette, I joined the U.S. Navy after graduation and have since retired to Virginia.

"I have found in this era of computers and the internet, Cajun names come in very handy to use as passwords.

“ ‘Atchafalaya' or 'Gueydan' — outside Louisiana nobody knows what you are talking about." (Not to mention "Tchoupitoulas.")

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.