"I'd like you to meet my daughter," said a woman who approached me at White Flint Mall. "She reads your column every single day."
That would be hard to do, since I perpetrate it only five days out of every seven. Still, a columnizer can never have too many regular readers, especially if they are 9 years old.
So I stuck out my hand. The daughter stuck out hers. We shook. We smiled. We commented on how cold it had been.
I asked what the girl was interested in when she wasn't tromping the malls. The mother answered for her.
"She's a Girl Scout," Mom said.
"So where are my chocolate chip Girl Scout cookies?" I asked, full of mock bluster.
The girl and the mother exchanged glances. The girl looked at her shoes. Then she came out with:
"I don't think they make those anymore, Mr. Levey."
People often ask me where I get ideas for this column. Would you believe I got a good one from a child in a shopping mall on a Saturday morning?
It's true, darn it. My secret obsession -- the Girl Scout Le Chip chocolate chip cookie -- has been yanked off the market after a three-year run.
The reason is as American as chocolate chips. My favorite cookies haven't sold as well as the other kinds the Girl Scouts carry.
Kathleen Duncan, national director of merchandising and marketing for the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., said that chocolate chip cookies were replaced by Aloha Chip cookies a couple of months ago.
Girl Scout bakers "have the flexibility to introduce new cookies . . . based on sales in the market," Kathleen said.
Some Girl Scout cookies have stood the test of time -- chiefly the shortbread cookie. It was the one and only kind the Girl Scouts carried when they first got into the business in 1917. It has been offered ever since.
Three varieties of Girl Scout cookies are sold throughout the United States, usually during the first quarter of the year: thin mints, shortbreads and peanut butter sandwich cookies.
Girl Scout councils can add to that selection from among apple cinnamon cookies, lemon drops or lemon pastry cremes, peanut butter patties, Animal Treasures, Caramel deLites or Samoas, and Upside-Downs. (The varieties and names depend on which baker supplies the area.) Thin mints are always the biggest seller, here and elsewhere, Kathleen said.
Kathleen was kind enough to describe the ingredients in these cookies. Only a few contain chocolate in any form (Animal Treasures, Caramel deLites and Samoas are dipped in fudge; thin mints and peanut butter patties are coated with chocolate).
Otherwise, we're talking about oatmeal, cinnamon, lemon and peanut butter. Not exactly a pulse-pounding lineup, if you ask me.
Ah, but those heavenly Le Chips of yesteryear . . .
I'd always sign up for a box when (not if) a colleague was peddling cookies for his or her daughter. When that first box disappeared, I'd order another -- and sometimes a third.
I never sprang for any other flavor, because chocolate is spelled H-E-A-V-E-N. Everything else is tied for second place.
Now, in place of Le Chips, the Girl Scouts have given us Aloha Chips. Their active ingredients? Macadamia nuts and white fudge chips, Kathleen says.
Sorry, says this jury of one, but it's a little too cute. Give me straight-up chocolate, every time. If I want nuts, I'll drive during rush hour.
The recent Super Bowl may be fading into the hazes of memory, but this story will have a hard time doing the same.
Sandra Prather, of Mitchellville, says her niece has a 2 1/2-year-old daughter named Hope Jones. Hope attends a day-care center in Baltimore, home of the NFL champion Ravens.
On the Friday before Super Sunday, the young Ravens fans at the center were told to wear purple, the team color, and they all made Ravens hats in class. So it was little surprise that Hope had football fever during her drive home.
But why was she singing, "The Ravens are playing at the grocery store," over and over?
Hope's mother, Rena, finally figured it out.
All week long, Hope had been hearing that the Ravens would play the Giants in the big game.
She thought the Ravens were going to play at the Giant Food store.
Here's proof positive that the world has gone stark raving mad. Levey reader John O'Master is the witness for the prosecution.
One day last week, John got on an elevator in the building where he works. A phone was ringing incessantly. But John doesn't carry a cell phone or a pager, and he was on the elevator alone. Whose phone could it be?
As he reached the floor where he was going, John finally figured out that it was the emergency phone in the elevator's control panel.
"Being the impulsive type that can't resist a ringing phone, I opened the little door and answered it," John reports.
It was a telemarketer.
With that, I hereby disappear for a week and two weekends. Stay well. I'll be back in the funny papers on Tuesday, Feb. 20.