"One more grits anecdote," requests Edwin Fleischmann. Since he asked nicely, here's his story, bringing back a memorable line by Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny":

"A friend relates this story about her sister-in-law, Judy, from the Frozen Nawth (Chicago).

"The family was having a breakfast to meet Judy for the first time.

"She was offered grits and declined; she had never heard of it before.

"With coaxing, she reluctantly agreed, saying, 'OK, I’ll try it, but just one.’ ”

Altered hymn

Joan Felder, of LaPlace, offers this confession involving a misdeed while at worship:

"I just read your column item on song lyrics, which reminded me of my church experience:

"At the end of certain Masses, the choir sings the hymn, 'We're going to see the King, Alleluia, Alleluia.'

"In my head I always hear, 'We're going to Dairy Queen, Alleluia, Alleluia.'

"With a giggle, I nudged the lady next to me and told her, 'We're going to Dairy Queen, Alleluia, Alleluia.'

"I think I made her hear the same thing each time she hears that hymn."

Hold that party

Martin Gurtler continues our party line tales:

"When my sister and I were young teens, our family moved to the country in Pennsylvania.

"After a year on a waiting list, and then paying for the pole and wires to the house from the highway, we became one of many on a party line.

"Our ring was three long ones, which we named 'On your mark,' 'Get set,' and 'Go!'

"Sadly, as we raced to answer, sometimes there was a fourth ring. We called it, 'Oh, noooo!’ ”

Camouflage works

Cindy Black Bouchie says, "Your item about writing one’s name on an ice chest worked for us.

"We had a pool party when my kids were teenagers, and a family brought their ice chest with their name, Crawford, written on top. They left it but never reclaimed it.

"We started taking it to LSU tailgates. Prior to this, our ice chest with our name on it was quickly emptied by our kids and their friends.

"No one knew a Crawford, so our beverages were left alone."

Defending peas

Brenda Sharp says, "As a follow-up to Wayne Evans’ comments about mushy peas, in some ways they are like grits for breakfast in the South.

"That is, you get them with your order whether you ask for them or not. In northern England, where my husband is from, they are always served with fish and chips.

"However, I disagree that they are disgusting. They are like a cross between well-cooked lima beans and white beans, with a buttery taste — and the real name is 'marrowfat peas.'

"I recently bought several cans at a World Market, and Bill has been hoarding them ever since."

The column writer

Thanks to Bill Grubb, of Lafayette, for the Houston Chronicle story on Leon Hale, who for 65 years wrote a column for first the Houston Post and, since 1985, for the Chronicle. He died March 27 at age 99.

Michael Berryhill, a journalism professor at Texas Southern University, penned a heartfelt appreciation of Hale, whose column was about "country folks and personal memories."

Column writing is rather a strange part of journalism, and columnists can range from weekly observations of people and events to daily items columns like this one.

For someone to keep a column going for 65 years is an impressive achievement, and makes me feel as if I'm just getting started on this one.

Special People Dept.

Francis Bickam celebrated birthday No. 93 Saturday, April 24.

TV for intellectuals

Roger Waggoner, of Lafayette, comments on the recent mention of the old "Perry Mason" courtroom dramas on TV:

"My wife and I still enjoy occasionally watching Perry Mason reruns.

"At a point in one particular episode, (Perry's opposing attorney) Hamilton Burger loudly proclaims, 'Your Honor, I object to the surreptitious activities of the defense attorney!'

"Perry calmly replies, 'Your Honor, my activities were clandestine but in no way surreptitious.'

"When my wife and I heard this exchange, we sat with our mouths open, wondering if that had really come from a network TV series."


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.