Dick Hastings, of Abita Springs, says, "As a personnel officer at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, in the 1960s, I went to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish for a conference with my counterparts from other Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases.
"Our group left the base daily for breakfast in the Shreveport area. A serving of grits was included with every order.
"An officer from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, a North Dakota native, turned up his nose at the grits, declining our persistent encouragement (maybe even badgering) to taste them.
"Returning to my home base, I mailed a box of grits to my new acquaintance, wrapped in plain brown paper and addressed to him at his Air Force base office.
"After a couple of weeks with no response, I called him to check on my gift.
“ ‘Well!,' he replied, 'I was very embarrassed.'
"When the package arrived at the base mail room, the box had been damaged and the white grainy substance was dripping out.
"The package was then opened by explosives experts on the EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) team, on the assumption that it contained a bomb. It did not. And I never heard from him again."
Eat your potatoes!
Clay Williams says, "While in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, a few weeks ago, my wife and I stopped on a Saturday at a breakfast place.
"Asking the waitress if they had grits, she told us, 'Only on Sunday. But since we are closed on Sunday — NO!’ ”
Fun with grits
Morris Welch, of Baton Rouge, says, "The recent stories in your column about grits reminded me of an incident in the 1960s, when Auburn University played in the Orange Bowl and I was there in the marching band.
"Our waitress at a restaurant in downtown Miami was a British girl who was financing her visit to the U.S. by working for short periods, alternating with intermittent travel.
"We had a great deal of fun convincing her that grits grew on trees."
Mustard on first?
Glenn Balentine, of Prairieville, says, "Reading the 'name' stories reminded me of my favorite Little League batting lineup.
"In the early ’70s in Alexandria, my best friend Gary announced Little League games. (Nothing like being paid to work baseball games, with the money then spent on snow cones and hot dogs.)
"One coach surely had a sense of humor. The lineup would have 'Hamburger at bat' with 'Pickle on deck.'
"I’m not making this up. A bizarre 'six degrees of separation' led to recent text exchanges with Mr. Pickle, a prominent attorney."
In the Monday column we mentioned "pescatarian," which describes someone who eats seafood but is otherwise a vegetarian.
Nick Delaune says, "Many years ago, a co-worker and I were getting to know each other, and she told me she was a pescatarian.
"Having never come across or heard this word before, I replied to her that I was a Catholic.
"Needless to say, after she explained to me what a pescatarian was, we both had a good laugh."
And Michael Eldred, of Tylertown, Mississippi, says, "According to my sister (and others) I was a 'pest-ca-tarian.’ ”
He's not Irish
Russ Wise, of LaPlace, who came to Louisiana from the mountains of West Virginia, tells of this educational experience:
"When I lived in Monroe, up in the Frozen Nawth, I had met a man named O’Quinn, but when I tried to phone him there wasn’t a single O’Quinn in the phone book (remember them?).
"The next time I saw him, I said I’d been trying to reach him. And he spelled his name for me: Aucoin. He’d put the accent on the second syllable instead of the first."
No rodents here
Mary Chawla says our stories about teachers and students with accents dealing with "flow" and "floor" reminded her of this tale:
"A teacher shared this. A student in a writing class calls out to the teacher, 'How do you spell rat?'
“The teacher replied, ‘R-a-t.’
"The student said, 'No, not that mousey kind of rat! Rat like in rat now!’ ”