Thoughts all over the place | Column


My thoughts are all over the place lately. My mind jumps from one thing to another, which is why today we have a three-parter. So….


Mayonnaise is a funny thing. People will fight over their favorite brand. I don’t eat mayo; my mother raised us on Miracle Whip (yes, she’s from the south, no, she wasn’t a Communist.)

A few years ago I realized Miracle Whip contained high fructose corn syrup, which is slightly worse for you than strychnine, so now I just use ranch.

Widdle, however, is a Duke’s man--so he was happy about the new “Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook.” Compiled by Ashley Freeman, it includes 75 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner--even dessert. Did you know you can fry a grilled-cheese sandwich in Duke’s instead of butter? And make pie crusts and banana bread with it? Me neither.

Eugenia Duke started making mayonnaise in 1917, at her home in Greenville, S.C. She slathered it on the sandwiches she sold. One day a customer confessed that he bought her sandwiches just for the mayo, and she promptly began to bottle and sell it. And the rest is Southern history. 


Dear nephew:

I’m sorry your life is upside down. Being 17 today is tough, and crazy. You can’t have friends over, attend a gaming weekend, go to the Wa-Wa, or hit Whole Foods for the buffet. You can’t even visit your girlfriend because she has a large family, your frail grandparents live with you, and the risk of infecting them is too great.

You’ve demonstrated grace and patience throughout this bizarre time. Thanks for not being a snarling brat.

The good news is, you can still play dueling guitars (and kick the soccer ball around) with your dad, and go to the beach with the whole fam. (Sure, that’s exactly what a 17-year-old- dreams of: Hitting the beach with parents and siblings.) I’m glad you have Door Dash, YouTube, Amazon and Netflix—and congrats on finishing “The Office”! You get your love of cringe TV from me, you know.

Your uncle and I are thinking of you, praying for you, and believing that these difficult times will make you a better man. We love you. P.S. FaceTime us, please!


I’m a TikTok widow.

For 15 years I’ve thanked God for a husband who doesn’t hunt, fish, follow NASCAR, or care about pro sports. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things.) He’s not a gamer and doesn’t care about Instagram, Twitter or SnapChat.

He is, in short, a dream spouse.

Then my darling found TikTok (on Facebook, natch), and what happened next is my fault. When he mentioned it, I was maybe a little too enthusiastic about the hilarious 10-second videos.

“Do you have the app?” he asked.

“I do not have the app,” I said. “Remember, I couldn’t figure out Pinterest.”

“OK, I’ll download it,” he said. So now he sprawls on the sofa nightly with his iPad, howling with laughter. He will walk through four rooms to find me and share his latest favorite (usually someone doing the shuffle dance.) Isn’t that sweet?

He may be obsessed, but so are 800 million other people.

Here’s how it starts: Someone says, “Oh, have you seen the TikTok with the hamster riding the golden retriever?” You find the video and it’s hilarious, even if the hamster looks slightly dazed, and then you start looking at other doggie TikTok videos--and fall down the rabbit hole. Eight hours later you’re watching Korean comedy and laughing hysterically even though you don’t speak Korean.

Welcome to the club!

Julie R. Smith, who still doesn’t understand Pinterest, can be reached at



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