Lately we've been imagining the incidents leading to warning labels on products, or warnings on TV commercials.

Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, says he's discovered the strangest warning yet:

"After reading about safety warnings in your column, I didn’t think anything could match those senseless warnings. I was wrong.

"While watching the Saints vs. Bears game on Sunday, Allstate Insurance had a commercial with two astronauts in full spacesuits riding on the surface of the moon in a Lunar Rover.

"They hit a bump and go airborne. Immediately on the screen, in small print, comes a disclaimer: 'Do Not Attempt.'

"If I ever get to ride around the moon’s surface in a Lunar Rover with a buddy, I promise not to try to hit a bump and go airborne. Thank you, Allstate."

Sonny, I think Allstate was just having a bit of fun with us…

Immovable burro

Bob Martin, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, tells this pet story:

"In the summer of 1964 I had the great opportunity of working for Jack Bahm's Cash Store in downtown Hammond.

"Mr. Jack had opened the store in the late ’20s, and he supplied feed, seed, saddles, other horse tack, and some groceries, etc., for area farmers.

"On my second day on the job, he asked me if it was me or my brother who tried unsuccessfully to coax a burro across 'that little bridge on West Church Street.'

"With wide eyes, I replied, 'It was me, but how did you know about that?'

"He said, 'I keep a horse in a lot next to that bridge, and was tending to him behind vine-covered fences when I witnessed the whole hilarious scene.'

"I explained that this was in the fall of 1959, in my senior year at Hammond High. I decided it would be a novelty to ride our burro, Pedro, in our Homecoming Parade.

"I brushed him up, saddled him, and began the 3-mile ride to downtown via back roads.

"As I approached that little bridge, Pedro stopped abruptly! After 40 minutes of pulling, pushing and all manners of crude name-calling, I became convinced he was NOT going to cross that bridge. I rode him home and returned in my car to watch the parade."

Paying for pews

Eileen Turowski Taylor, of Walker, adds to our church stories:

"Many years ago, when I attended a Polish Catholic church in North Chicago, there was an initial collection of 10 cents per person.

"It was considered 'pew rent,' which was instituted around World War II and continued as long as the pastor was in place.

"I don’t know if you would be escorted out if you did not pay your pew rent, because my Grammy always made sure that you had that dime per person."

Telltale jingle

Speaking of church services, Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, comments on Monday's description of collection methods in an English church:

"The collection baskets in Opelousas were also stainless steel mesh with long handles. They were passed by a couple of ushers with a cruel sense of humor.

"If someone they knew well didn’t make a contribution, they would jingle the coins in the basket in front of them until a contribution was made, or until a sufficient number of people turned to see who the cheapskate was."

Major food group

Earl Newman comments on a Tuesday story:

"In referencing a story about the miscalculation of the quantity of chocolate chips in a Derby Pie, you stated '…not that we keep lots of chocolate around…'

"I think what you meant to say is, 'Chocolate doesn’t last very long in our household,' or more succinctly, 'We can't keep chocolate very long in our household.'"

Weighty topic

Jeannette Beck, of Donaldsonville, addresses the issue of fruitcake tossing, and the density of such cakes:

"It’s well known my sister Linda Hayden makes one of the very best fruitcakes you’ll ever eat.

"My husband John often teases her about having a weight permit to cross the Sunshine Bridge on her way to Donaldsonville.

"I would dare any fruitcake tosser to just try to throw her cake. Not possible."


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.