Ward Landry, of Scott, an avid fisherman, won first place in a 1977 liars' contest with this story, shortened significantly:

"Fishing in my boat with my wife on a slow day, I shot a squirrel near the bank and put him in my tackle box.

"My wife said I needed to put the squirrel on ice, but when I opened my tackle box he jumped out, with lures hanging all over him, and leaped into the water.

"When I netted the squirrel and put him back in the boat, there were seven bass on him."      

Love those trains

One of my fondest travel memories involves a train trip from Hammond to Chicago for a family wedding — surprisingly good meals, being rocked to sleep by the rhythm of the rails — an overall fine experience.    

The idea of a fast train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is currently being floated, but it probably makes too much sense to make it through the bureaucratic maze. 

Readers also have fond train memories:

P.J. Bourgeois, of Opelousas, recalls the Chicago-to-New Orleans Panama Limited, operated by Illinois Central Railroad from 1911 to 1971.

The original train in the early 1900s was the Chicago and New Orleans Limited. The name change honored the Panama Canal, under construction in 1911.

It was the overnight companion to the City of New Orleans.

Blues singer Bukka White recorded a tribute to the Panama Limited in the ’30s, and as did Tom Rush in 1965. 

Don Burnham tells his friend P.J.: "I too have an interest in trains. I rode the L&N (Louisville & Nashville) Humming Bird from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, on one of her last trips. Her operation was canceled in 1969.

"Did you know country and western musician Ricky Skaggs wrote 'Hummingbird' about that train?"

And then there's Steve Goodman's ode to the City of New Orleans, made famous by Arlo Guthrie.

Don't be cruel

Some people can be so mean.

For instance, Shaquille O'Neal had a great career as a basketball player at LSU and in the NBA, regarded as one of the greatest big men of all time.

He had just one tiny flaw: His free throw shooting could have been a tad better. Although in his defense, he DID complete more than half of his attempts, winding up his long career with a 52.7 completion percentage.

Shaq hasn't played since 2011, but he's still getting grief from some folks about this.

For instance, Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, says, "Just saw on the internet that Shaq recently bought a nice boat and had a contest to name it.

"The winning name was 'Free Throw,' using the rationale that he would never sink it."

Special People Dept.

  • Carolyn Talbot, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 93rd birthday Thursday, July 4.
  • Lucille Morris, also of Amber Terrace, celebrates her 93rd birthday Thursday, July 4.
  • E.J. Piglia Sr., of Gretna, celebrates his 90th birthday Thursday, July 4, at a family shrimp-and-crab boil.
  • Rosemarie Lee celebrated her 90th birthday Wednesday, July 3. A "huge party" is planned for Thursday.
  • Donald and Gayle Begnaud, of Lafayette, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Thursday, July 4. 
  • Frances and Ernie Bruder, of Abita Springs, celebrate their 60th anniversary Thursday, July 4. Natives of New Orleans, they lived in Arabi 44 years before floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina caused them to move.
  • Gene and Alice Robert, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 60th anniversary June 27.

Hotter than Hell

Charlie Melancon continues our seminar on Hell, Michigan:

"Peachy’s maternal grandmother grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

"It has been rumored for decades that upon entering college in Ann Arbor, she attended a college social held in Hell, Michigan.

"Her proclamation on that faithful night was that she would marry the first man who would take her south.

"She and Peachy’s grandfather, a graduate of Purdue, settled into life and family in Austell, Georgia, established Collar Furniture Co., and lived comfortably — and warmer — their entire lives."

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.