Manager, Cracker Barrel
            Merrillville, Indiana


            My wife and I had lunch at your place a couple of weeks ago, and I ordered my usual country vegetable plate. According to your menu, “dumplins,” mac and cheese, fried apples and fried breaded okra are all vegetables. So I could have ordered those four items and that would have qualified as a vegetable plate? Sassafras. I don’t want to be rude, but where did you go to school? I sure hope it wasn’t in Indiana because the Hoosiers I know know their vegetables. Claiming “dumplins” are a vegetable is like saying Larry Bird was a ball hog and never made a decent pass in his life. Shame on you.


            Manager, Rick’s Café Boatyard


            During a recent visit, I noticed that you had installed new toilet paper dispensers in the stalls in the men’s room. Have you been in one of those stalls? The dispensers are so huge there’s almost no room for a human being. I had to turn my left shoulder sharply sideways to be able to sit on the toilet seat. Does Rick’s Café Boatyard have many male customers who are missing their left shoulders? I enjoyed your food. You’ve got that aspect of the business conquered. Now maybe a little sharper focus on your facilities would be good.


            Governor Eric Holcomb

            Dear Sir,

            In the five days I recently spent in my home state, I saw many motorcyclists, all riding without helmets except for two individuals. I take it Indiana doesn’t have a law mandating helmets. Is it possible that one of your predecessors, a certain Mr. Pence, fell off his bike helmetless? That might explain a lot of things.


Greg D. Carmichael, CEO
Fifth Third Bank

Dear Sir,

Maybe there’s a long history of why your bank has such a ridiculous name. Save it, I’m not interested. You have branches all over southern Indiana, and if I ever needed to use an ATM I wouldn’t use Fifth Third Bank’s. Not even in an emergency. I imagine your competitors have lots of fun, rhyming things with the “Third” in your bank’s name. Care to share any of them?


John Hamilton
Mayor of Bloomington

Dear Mayor,

Could you do something about Third Street, please? It’s frustrating—nay, it is infuriating—to be told the Fairfield Inn is on Third Street, and, you guessed it, “you can’t miss it.” Well, you sure as hell can if you aren’t aware that Third Street ends in one part of town and resumes in another. Is this a secret? Even my sister, a Bloomington resident, told me to get on Third and we would be on the right road to see the Fairfield Inn sign. Well, we weren’t and we didn’t because we were on the part of Third that just flat out ends with no indication it jolly well resumes later. Put up a sign please telling us out-of-towners where to find the missing Third. That sounds like a math or music problem, no?

            Joseph M. Stahura
            Mayor of Whiting

            Dear Mayor,

            The Whiting Park looks wonderful after years of being quite seedy. The walkway along Lake Michigan is attractive and the new playground equipment makes me wish, sort of, that I were 75 years younger. The swings near the walkway are also a good idea. What isn’t so bright is the advertisement banners hanging from the walkway railings. Sitting in the swings, you can’t see the Lake. All that’s visible are the ads. Would higher swings do the trick? Speaking of tricks, does the dude who used to juggle five or six bananas while blindfolded still show up every Friday night at the Portside Pub?


            Alex Gorsky
            CEO, Johnson & Johnson

            Dear Mr. Gorsky,

            Is there some way you could make the caps on bottles of Listerine harder to get off? Just joking. Although struggling for four or five minutes to get the cap off may be wonderful exercise for the wrist and fingers of a senior citizen, it’s not very amusing if you’re traveling and trying to catch a plane. I found myself in this situation recently in a hotel near Chicago and was tempted to throw my bottle of Listerine at the mirror. Can’t something be done to simplify this uncapping process so those of us concerned with dental hygiene can do what our dentists want and still make our planes? I hope you agree that staying in hotels that don’t have mirrors is not really a solution.

            It’s always good to be back in the state where I grew up, and I enjoyed seeing my sister, a nephew and brothers-in-law. While driving many miles in our rental car, Irene and I kept ourselves entertained. I found her amusing company. During one long stretch of road with the AC on full blast, my habit of mumbling complicated our ability to understand what the other was saying.  Example: When I said, “Wait till I tell my sister that,” Irene asked, “Your toes hurt?” I laughed for the next ten miles.