In these days of decreased personal contact between business and consumer (when's the last time your call to a company was answered by an actual human?), this story from Joel d'Aquin Thibodeaux, of Baton Rouge, brought a smile to my face:

"I ordered some specialty light bulbs from Verilux.com on my computer last night. I read that Verilux recently hired a new director of marketing.

"When I got my email confirming my $26 order, this is what it said: 'Joel! The low cloud cover in our little Vermont valley lifted when we received your order. Catherine jumped out of her chair celebrating, and Naomi rang the cowbell so that the entire office knew, too! Thank you so much for your support of Verilux and giving us a reason to get happy!'

"Sounds like the new director of marketing is doing a great job. Here I am writing to you about a company you probably never heard of before."

No, but if I ever need specialty light bulbs, I know where to go.

Small housing world 

Former Louisiana guy Wayne Thevenot, of Alexandria, Virginia, has this "small world" story.

"As I stood in the front yard of my then-Bethesda, Maryland, home several years ago, I was surprised when a car pulled up and several familiar looking passengers got out.

"One of the ladies shocked me with, 'Wayne, what are you doing here?' I, equally surprised, responded, 'Pam, what are you all doing here?'

"Seems the visitors were the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long's two daughters, with three of his grandchildren, coming to show the younger ones the first home they lived in when the senator first arrived in Washington in 1948.

"I worked as Sen. Long's assistant for over 13 years without realizing that my family and his had occupied the same house many years apart. The coincidence shocked me and his family as well.

"This happened the weekend of the annual Louisiana Mardi Gras Ball held in Washington, and the coincidence was the talk of the ball among the scores of Louisiana visitors."

Common language

Shlomo Pielstick-Kennedy says, "I have read that Paris is the largest French-speaking city in the world, and Montreal is second.

"I suppose that Lafayette or Thibodaux must be third."

Happy returns

Kerry Howell says, "Just before Thanksgiving, I stopped off at the Popeye's on Burbank and Bluebonnet, then returned to my home in Bocage.

"About an hour later, there was a knock on my front door, and a very well-dressed young gentleman presented me with my wallet, which he had found in the parking lot of Popeye's.

"He drove all the way to my house to return it and assured me that everything was intact.

"I offered him all the cash in the wallet, which was considerable, but he refused multiple times. He didn't leave his name and drove off. I was blown away.

"I hope if you print this, he will read it and know my deepest appreciation."

Not amused

"As a practicing Catholic," says Gary Kimble, "I take exception to the 'Saturday night service' entry in your Friday column, in which Mr. Wray compares watching an LSU game to attending five Masses.

"This makes a mockery of what actually occurs during a Mass. During a Mass, the priest consecrates the host and transforms it into the body of Christ, which we are then able to receive. To say that watching a college football game equates to receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is beyond the pale." 

Nostalgia Corner

T. Med Hogg, of Baton Rouge, adds to our collection of Western Auto memories:

"I would stop by Western Auto on the way home on Christmas Eve, when toys and other items were half price.

"With five children at home with stockings to be hung, every savings I made was necessary."

Sweat or shiver

Patrick says, "I often wonder why I am drowning and sweating in Louisiana when I could be anywhere — but yesterday, I remembered:

"It is 77 degrees here on Dec. 1, and my Yankee friends are shoveling snow."

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.