Sherry Wilkes tells on an encounter when she was in her early 20s:

"The '70s in Baton Rouge were not known for their hip culture, but I recall a house party near LSU, where many of the guests were artists — mostly local musicians and painters.

"While the party carried on, mostly in the kitchen, I lingered on the sofa having small talk with a high school student.

"When I asked him what he was planning to study, he told me he wanted to 'do film.'

"I sarcastically thought to myself, 'Doesn’t everybody?'

"This young man turned out to be the brilliant filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh!"

Washington connection

Terry Grundmann, of Kenner, says, "Recent mention of getting directions reminded me of when I called a Baton Rouge company and asked for directions to their office, coming from New Orleans.

"The receptionist seemed completely baffled, especially when I said, 'I’ll be on Interstate 10, and when I get to Baton Rouge, what do I after that?'

"I was thinking I was dealing with a real dummy when she said she had no idea, and asked if she would get someone else to help me.

"Next guy on the line laughed and explained the mystery.  When no one was at the Baton Rouge office, calls were transferred to their Seattle location."

Faux Cajun

"A few years ago," says Greg Tenhundfeld, "my wife and I were driving through Missouri. We stopped in Pacific, Missouri, at a bar and grill for lunch.

"Their lunch special that day was jambalaya. Having traveled enough to know NEVER get Cajun food in the Midwest, I opted for their local fish lunch.

"Since I had on an LSU hat and T-shirt, I asked if I could have a taste of the jambalaya. They agreed to give me a sample.

"It was bland; basically tomato soup in rice with a high quality hot dog. Did I mention, NEVER get Cajun food in the Midwest?"

Drive old Dixie down

Readers are still sending Dixie Beer name suggestions:

— Barry Popik, of Goshen, New York, likes "Big Easy Beer."

— John LaCarna, of Baton Rouge, says "If they change Dixie Beer to 'Jax Beer,' many of us would switch every now and then for nostalgia's sake."

— Ray Schell, of Prairieville, says, "When I asked my California daughter for a suggestion on renaming Dixie Beer, she came up with a good one: 'Swamp Water.'"

— Tom Boone, of Gonzales, says, "Rename Dixie Beer 'Hebeer,' pronounced 'A beer.'"

— Ken suggests "Levee Beer: After you drink a few, try to walk up a levee!"

Flat nice people

Gerlinda Hermann says, "May I ask you to post a 'thank you' to the sweet young family from Pride that stopped to help a grandma from Clinton change a flat tire on Plank Road Thursday evening?

"Hope I can repay the favor someday! Good folks like these renew my hope for humanity."

Special People Dept.

— Mable Ruth Moses, of McComb, Mississippi, celebrated her 99th birthday Sunday, Sept. 27. She is currently at Carpenter House in Baton Rouge.

— Robert W. Mancill Sr., of Central, celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday, Sept. 26.

— Eleanor Hopkins, of Branch in Acadia Parish, celebrated her 93rd birthday Sunday, Sept. 27.

— Ted and Dottie Varnado, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 69th anniversary Sunday, Sept. 27. They both sang in Broadmoor Methodist Church choirs for 60 years.

You want names?

Our mention of unusual names reminds me of a call I received some years ago from a granddaughter.

She said she and her husband were trying to decide on a first name for their son, due soon.

"We'd like to use a family name," she said. "What were your grandfathers named?"

"Well," I said, "My dad's father was called Gray, but that was his middle name. His first name was Elijah. And my mother's father was Italian; his first name was Prospero. So, you have a choice between Elijah and Prospero."

There was a long pause. Then I said, "I don't suppose I've been much help, have I?"

She replied, "No, you haven't. But thanks anyway."    

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.