Dear Smiley: Retired now, I was a locksmith and photographer.
I was photographing a wedding, and the groom was so nervous he locked himself out of his car. Thirty seconds and the locksmith/photographer had him ready for his honeymoon.
A man who had too much root beer (unbeknown to me) called at 2 a.m. to say he was locked out of his truck. When I arrived, his passenger side window was open. I drove him home.
A lady called me one morning, panic stricken. She had locked herself out of her new car at a gas station, and the engine was running.
I arrived and opened her car. Thirty minutes later she called again; same story except at a local business. Again, I opened the car. But I also made her another set of keys and showed her where I was hiding them to avoid a repeat.
An hour and a half later she called from the grocery, with ice cream melting; same story. Turns out her car automatically locked each time she exited. She had used the emergency keys at a fourth location, and put both sets in her purse, which she left on the front seat, “to run into another store real quick.”
HARRY H. GREEN
Dear Smiley: It was Christmas break in 1975, and I was pheasant hunting with an LSU buddy and his dad outside the little town of Pratt, Kansas.
We took a break from our morning hunt to get breakfast at a diner in town.
My friend's dad, a great kidder, loudly asked the waitress to bring both of us young Southern boys a big ole bowl of grits.
She predictably responded with, "What the heck are grits?"
Two local farmers (so I assumed; they were decked out in bib overalls and John Deere caps), seated at the nearby counter, appeared to know the waitress well. They started laughing and ribbing her for being such a Kansas hick.
When she asked them to enlighten her, one of the gentlemen proudly proclaimed, "Honey, everyone knows that grits are fried pork skins!"
My companions and I just smiled, and didn't even ask for a bag of cracklins to go!
DENNIS D. RITTER JR.
The Woodlands, Texas
No grits for you
Dear Smiley: The recent discussion of grits reminded me of a strange encounter:
My wife and I own a cabin in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, and often drive home when it begins to get cold.
Several years ago we decided to stop in Winchester, Virginia. Winchester was the headquarters for Stonewall Jackson, and also had an office for George Washington.
We found a wonderful hotel in the Old Town Historic District, two blocks from the Confederate Museum.
When I went down to breakfast and ordered eggs, bacon, and grits, the waitress put her head down and told me they did not serve grits.
I was amazed to hear that in a historic Southern hotel in Stonewalls’s town, they did not have grits. The waitress reminded me that the hotel was now owned by Yankees in New Jersey, who sent the menus.
She then told me that we should came back on Sunday, when they put grits on the serving tables!
Dressed for dinner
Dear Smiley: Recent stories about red beans and rice remind me of the time, more than 40 years ago, when I ordered a sandwich "dressed" at a diner in south Florida.
My father saw it coming, and was quick to explain the meaning of "dressed" in New Orleans.
The waiter still looked perplexed.
Born to push
Dear Smiley: Recent mention in your column of the Yugo, one of the world's worst cars, brought back memories of an old friend from Searcy, Arkansas, who owned two of them.
He said they sold them in pairs so you would always have one to drive while the other was in the shop.
He also told me that the thin lines in the rear window that served as defrosters on most cars functioned as hand warmers when you pushed your Yugo home.