BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Be careful when you open your voice mail. People may be tossing roses or throwing rocks.
A strange tale I wrote about rescuing a boulder near Fort Washington Way prompted John Smale to call. The former head of Procter & Gamble Co. wanted to say thanks for saving the big rock with his and his wife's names engraved on it. Several other readers thought I had rocks in my head.
"You bothered important people for a stinking boulder? You should crawl under that rock." -- A. G. Samuels, Fort Thomas.
"Typical Cincinnati. That boulder, the flower garden it sat in and the names engraved on it represent a fine effort to beautify our city. It shouldn't be tossed into a scrap heap." -- Dan Fellows, Amelia.
"Glad to see the engraved rock was saved. Those puppies don't come cheap." -- Burt Greenfield, Groesbeck.
"Stick that rock in your ear." -- Albert Glens, West Chester. "I remember the boulder and that garden by Fort Washington Way very well. I spent several Saturday afternoons moving dirt there with a shovel, providing cheap labor for my wife, Phyllis, when she was planting day lilies. Thanks for saving the boulder." -- John Smale, downtown.
"Where can I sign up to get a job writing about rocks?" -- Clifton Robertson, Greenhills.
Check's in the mail
My column on the federal government's $70 billion surplus had readers phoning in suggestions where the money should go.
"Repay Social Security. That's where those crooks in Washington stole the money from in the first place." -- Martha Davis, Cleves.
"Put it toward the national debt. If we don't pay that thing off, our grandchildren will be taxed to death and America will fall apart." -- Glenda Wilkerson, Woodlawn.
"Send me a rebate check. It'd be like the ones I get when I buy a quart of oil. The check might only be worth a nickel, but I'll finally be getting something back from our dear government." -- Grant Holmes, Symmes Township.
In response to my Wednesday "Lunch with Cliff" column on Weslie Ostendorf, the dedicated Milford Main Middle School teacher, readers wanted more of the woman known to her students as "Mrs. O."
"Clone her." -- Sylvia Henderly, Terrace Park.
"She should be training young teachers." -- Edward Lewis, Loveland.
"If we had more teachers like Mrs. O, public education wouldn't be going down the tubes." -- Craig Brinker, Mount Washington.
"Every school has a Mrs. O. All too often, their dedication goes unnoticed." -- Bill Deane, Colerain Township.
Friday's column on Mark Mendelson found readers remembering and appreciating the late coin dealer.
"He was honest, generous, kind. And only 50. Why do the good guys die young?" -- Will Dean, Clifton.
"I knew Mark Mendelson for 30 years. He was the most ethical and generous coin dealer I ever met." -- J.E. Donovan, Sycamore Township.
"Guys like Mark Mendelson, who have a gift for making people feel like they are special whether they're a regular customer or somebody off the street, make a difference in our society." -- Jerry Post, Hyde Park.
"If you know a nice guy like Mark Mendelson, make sure you say nice things about him while he's still alive to hear them." -- Paul Kellogg, Mason.
"In a world of sharks, he was a pussycat." -- Bob Charlton, Colerain Township.
Some readers called to say they were confused. All last week, WLW radio ran a series of self-congratulatory promotional spots about Linda Pope, widow of slain Cincinnati Police Officer Daniel Pope. The spots said: "When Linda Pope wanted the Tristate to know about city council's broken promise, she turned to 700 WLW."
Readers called to check their memories. They seemed to remember Linda Pope's story about the city's not paying for her husband's funeral first appeared in this column. They are right.
Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.