Smiley: Eagle’s happy ending

Skip Breeden says he was fishing on Lake Verret with wife Judy and brother-in-laws Earl and Bud when, “We heard a loud thrashing sound coming from among the cypress trees and knees.

“At first we thought it was one of the beautiful blue herons that we frequently see fishing along the bank. As we approached the area near the source of the noise it began to sound more like a turkey taking flight — but not quite.

“As we became even closer to the sound, now quite loud, we saw a magnificent mature bald eagle at the base of a fairly large cypress tree. He was obviously caught in some type of fishing line or net.

“As we approached to investigate, the eagle would attempt to fly away, but could not get more that a foot or so from the shallow water near the base of the tree.

“We backed away to keep from further disturbing the beautiful bird.”

Skip says when he couldn’t reach Wildlife and Fisheries he called the Louisiana State Police, and got a “friendly state trooper” who said he would call for him.

The trooper soon called back to tell Skip he had contacted Wildlife and Fisheries, and a biologist would be calling him.

When the biologist called, says Skip, “I told him of the situation and texted him a couple of photos that would contain the coordinates of the location. I told him I would flag the area with orange tape.

“We went on our way fishing. We did not want to disturb the bird, being fearful that he might break a wing trying to free himself in our presence.

“Later that day, I received a call from the biologist informing me that the eagle had been found and released from a small animal trap, where he had been caught by only one talon.

“The biologist said they checked the eagle, and he was unharmed. He was released and flew away. That must have been a beautiful sight.

“If you get a chance to fish Lake Verret, be observant and you too will encounter bald eagles — hopefully in flight and not trapped.”

Book ’em

Here’s a suggestion for the literati on your Christmas gift list — you might consider giving them a book or two.

By coincidence, I’ll be signing copies of my books, “Smiley! A Laughing Matter” and “Best of Smiley” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 14, at Main Street Market.

Copper Alvarez points out Red Stick Farmers’ Market is going on at the same time — and still enjoys reminding me that at an earlier signing she gave me a bushel of corn.

I accused her of insinuating that my stories were corny, an allegation she denies. …

R&B Christmas

Janet Leveron says, “Anyone who spent holiday time in the student union at Southeastern in the ’70s could name this tune in three notes.

“Back then you put a dollar in the jukebox and got four selections.

“I am not exaggerating — every fourth song you heard started ‘Bong, bong, bong,’ and if you guessed ‘Bells Will Be Ringing …’ you would be wrong.

“The name is ‘Please Come Home for Christmas.’ ”

Indeed — the 1960 tune by Charles Brown was, and is, a seasonal R&B hit.

Legal dope

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says our mention of the drinks egg creams, phosphates etc., “reminded me of one that used to be common in east Tennessee — ‘dope.’

“If you asked for a dope at a soda fountain, you would be served a Coke.

“I believe this name went back to the early days of Coca Cola, when it actually contained a little cocaine.”

Special People Dept.

  • Clara Floyd, of Gonzales, celebrated her 103rd birthday on Sunday, Dec. 8.
  • Bert Stolier, of Metairie, celebrates his 95 birthday Thursday, Dec. 12. He is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who served in the Pacific, and is a member of the speakers bureau at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

    Mae S. Ballard, of Holden, celebrated her 90th birthday on Monday, Dec. 9.

    Bill and Mary Lee George, of Slidell, celebrate their 59th anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 12. He is a veteran of the Korean War.

Smart Kid Dept.

Lorraine Bergeron, of Port Allen, says, “Our great-grandson, 2-year-old Jaxon Keller, is a lover of any vehicle with wheels.

“He recently got a new toy car, a small El Camino.

“When asked by his parents, Morgan and Corey, to name his ‘Elf on the Shelf’ without hesitation he came up with ‘Elf Camino.’

“I’m not prejudiced, but I think that’s pretty clever.”

No escape

Shirley Fleniken came across this tale of sibling relations:

“Used to being the center of attention, Robbie was a little more than jealous of his new baby sister.

“The parents sat him down and said that now that she was getting older, the house was too small and they’d have to move.

“‘It’s no use,’ Robbie said. ‘She’s crawling good now and she’d probably just follow us.’ ”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.