RDW "combines two recent themes: reptilian gifts from dads and reptile jewelry:

"In 1941 my mother was a freshman at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania when her father gave her a 'horned toad' he had somehow come by. I looked it up: this was a 'Texas horned lizard.'
(Or if you're at TCU in Fort Worth, a horned frog.)
"Unfortunately, despite regular exercise/sunning sessions on the fire escape of her dorm, it did not survive long. (Even with use of a heat lamp they usually die during cold months).
"My mother had a taxidermist stuff her recently deceased pet and add a pin to its underside, creating a horned toad brooch.
"She said it was a little too large — about 4-5 inches long including tail — and heavy to wear very often.
"But as kids we would sometimes get to play with the little critter, after removing it from its jewelry box." 

Pepe's short visit 

Monte Briggs, of Crowley, follows up on our "unusual pets" series:

"I never had a pet monkey, alligator or snake, but I did have a pet skunk for a brief time.

"I acquired 'Pepe' shortly after high school graduation on a weekend when my parents were out of town.

"I brought him home on Saturday, fixed a box with some rags in it, plus food and water, then left to go out for the night.

"My folks, who weren't supposed to be home until Sunday night, came home early. My mom found the box in the utility room and started petting little Pepe, thinking it was a kitten, until he awoke and stood up to greet her.

"Did I mention I had him for a brief time?"

Horror story

Sidney Vallon says, "My new husband and I were living in an upstairs apartment in New Orleans. One Saturday, while he was at National Guard drill, a neighbor told me there was what he thought was a dog on our fire escape.

"I found the most awfully matted, dirty gray critter sitting out there.

"By the time my husband got home, I’d (sorta) bathed her and chopped a few chunks of fur off. She was ensconced on the sofa next to me, and barked at him when he walked in.

"His first comment was, 'Where’d that horrible thing come from?'

"Horrible the silver poodle lived in that same spot next to me for 17 years…"

Work that thumb!

Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, says our "A-Bear" stories remind him of the time, at a silent retreat at Manresa in Convent, when he sat at a dining table with the late Bobby Hebert Sr., father of the Saints/Falcons quarterback:

"Mr. Hebert helped me to learn quickly the following table communication gestures:

"One hand shake motion downwards: Pass the salt.

"Two hand shake motion downwards: Pass the pepper.

"Three hand shake motion downwards: Pass the Tabasco.

"One thumb up: Pass the beer or wine!"

Special People Dept.

  • Dorothy “Dot” Kelly Piazza, of Walker, celebrates her 97th birthday Monday, Aug. 31. She is the last of the Kelly sisters, "who grew up in north Baton Rouge on Scenic Highway across the street from Brother Polito’s Buckhorn Bar."
  • Joe and Donna Martin celebrated their 60th anniversary Wednesday, Aug. 26. They divide their time between homes in River Ridge and Covington.
  • Allen and Patsy Arcement, of Marrero, celebrated 58 years of marriage Tuesday, Aug. 25.
  • Carolyn and Irwin Rousseau, of Slidell, celebrated their 55th anniversary Friday, Aug. 28. They "found each other on Mardi Gras day in 1965, while following the Indians on Claiborne Avenue." (Which is the most Louisiana way of meeting your future spouse I've ever heard!)

Who needs offices?

Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, reports on another aspect of the "new normal:"

"I recently had to call Entergy on a billing issue. The clerk was obviously working from home, because a crying baby kept interfering with our conversation.

"In discussing Entergy issues, I posted this to our neighborhood site. Someone responded they got rooster crowing noises in the background when they called."

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.