Looking back over the past few days' columns, I've become aware that we've devoted an alarming amount of space to a discussion of food.

To counteract that to a degree, here's a fitness tip, from Ina G. Navarre, of Baton Rouge:

"In an effort to get myself moving and increase awareness of the need for exercise, I recently purchased a very basic Fitbit.

"It has been very helpful in reminding me to get up and walk around; the vibration's gentle, yet pointed reminders of the number of steps needed to 'crush' the next Fitbit-imposed number of steps.

"Recently I sat down to join a Zoom call, noting the number of steps I had taken up to that point in my day. Unsatisfied with the number, I still needed to call into the videoconference.

"After nearly two hours on the phone/computer, the Fitbit vibrated to remind me to get moving yet again.

"I happened to look at the screen and noticed that while I had been sitting for nearly two hours, my Fitbit gave me credit for over 70 additional steps.

"I guess I let my fingers/hands do the 'walking' to convert those actions into Fitbit steps!"

Give peas a chance

OK, enough about fitness. Back to food:

Wayne Evans says, "My wife and I were driving through rural Lincolnshire, England, on our way to Epworth — the birthplace of John Wesley, founder of Methodism.

"We looked for a place to eat but no towns were in sight. It was 1:30 p.m., and we were starving.

"We then saw a gas station with a cafe. It had a limited menu, so we ordered a hamburger and 'chips' (french fries).

"I wanted a vegetable, so I added peas to my order. The food was served, but the fries were covered with gooey green stuff (looked like baby food).

"I asked the clerk, who told me those were 'mushy peas.'

"My wife and I stifled our laughter, and later admitted to each other it was the most disgusting thing we had ever seen on a plate.

"Days later I was telling a British friend we had driven to Lincolnshire. The first thing she said was, 'Did you get to try their mushy peas? Lincolnshire has the best you’ll find anywhere.'

"I could only mumble, 'Yes, we had the mushy peas. They were … indescribable.'”

Heard it on the …

Emmett Irwin says, "Your column has been talking about party lines recently. When I was a teenager in Port Arthur, Texas, many years ago, we had our own party line. We called it the 'Grapevine.'

"It worked like this. You would dial your own phone number and, of course, get a busy signal. Between each buzz of the busy signal you would speak a word or two and then wait for the next break to speak again. Then you would wait to see if anyone responded to you.

"The goal was to get that person's phone number so you could call and talk. It was time consuming, but you might just make a new friend."

Hank's party line

David Faulk says, "Even ole Hank Williams mentioned party lines in one of his hits, 'Mind Your Own Business,' which he recorded in 1949:

"'Oh, the woman on our party line's the nosiest thing

"She picks up her receiver when she knows it's my ring.'"

Supermarket follies

Terry Grundmann, of Kenner, says our story of the supermarket clerk and his "green lemons" (aka limes) reminded him of a story he came across in a Readers Digest that I've heard repeated, in numerous variations, over the years.

A lady looks over the hams and asked the supermarket clerk if there are any halves. He says he'll ask the manager.

He goes up to the manager and says, "Some idiot wants half a ham."

He turns around and realizes the lady has followed him and is standing there. He says, “And this lovely lady would like the other half.”

Feeling crabby

Dave Grouchy, of Covington, presents us with this week's haiku, about a favorite crustacean:

Dangerous pincers

Swimming in cayenne and salt

Succulent claw meat


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.