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This article, taken from Francois Mignon's delightful series, "Plantation Memo", was printed in 1974 in the "Shreveport Times". Whitfield Jack, Jr. and his family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana from Alexandria, Louisiana when he was in his early teens, but he continued to visit Melrose and his grandmother, traveling to Alexandria as much as once or twice a month on weekends alone as a young boy on the old steam locomotive train, "The Flying Crow." During the summer, Mr. Jack often spent months with his grandmother and stayed for extended periods at their fishing camp, Happy Landing, on Melrose.

When Mr. Jack was asked about the cryptic remark at the end of Francois' tale of the purloined turkey -- "Chercez la femme, -- or as some of the others advise: Look for the lady." -- he had the following comments:

"At first glance the 'lady' in question might be taken as either the wife of Mr. DeeDee, or as Puny's wife, Zelma. But having known Puny and Zelma for many years, and inasmuch as they were the caretakers of my grandparent's fishing camp and and lived just a hop, skip, and a jump away, I just don't believe that they were in the turkey-rustling business. It also could be speculated that Mr. DeeDee himself might have switched the turkey for a crow, pocketing both the greenbacks and the gobbler; but that would be a violation of the presumption of innocence -- and considering that my father was a lawyer, and that my two brothers are lawyers, and that both of my great grandfathers were judges, I will not, as the expression goes, 'go there'. "

"However, when we consult the lyrics of the nonsense song, 'Turkey in the Straw', to which Francois refers earlier in his article, the answer becomes apparent:"

Went out to milk
And I didn't know how
I milked the goat
Instead of the cow
A monkey sittin'
On a pile of straw
A winkin' at
His mother-in-law

"Obviously, the monkey did it.
(Or maybe a monkey named Francois was doing the winkin'!)"
Whitfield Jack Jr.
May 17, 2003

Post Script:
"The following bit of information regarding my great grandfather, Judge Horace White, might be of interest to anyone who has bothered to read this far and has nothing better to do at the moment than continue:

From the bulletin of the Louisiana Live Oak Society:

Membership of the Live Oak Society is composed entirely of oak trees 100-years-old or older. There is only one human member, an honorary chairman, who registers the trees. Each tree has an "attorney" or sponsor to act as its guardian. The trees once paid dues of 25 acorns per year and can be expelled for such offenses as whitewashing and bearing advertising. (A group of trees was once "tried" by Judge Horace White of Alexandria for whitewashing, but were not expelled on the grounds that the trees did not apply the whitewash themselves.)

Louisiana Live Oak Society


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