Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“Blessed are the Cheese Eaters!” (For They Shall Have Backbone Density)”

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I like cheese. I like yellow cheese and white cheese. I like natural cheese and processed cheese. I make sandwiches with it. I melt it on crackers and I paste it on dark rye bread. Cheese is a staple food in my house. When I eat it, it brings a smile to my face. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a delicacy for me. Government cheese I like. Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar Cheese is my favorite.

I once knew a guy who took hostages at a social services center with a butter knife and made only one serious demand and that was that a truck load of government cheese be driven to the center and that he be allowed to drive it away Scott free.

They busted him four blocks from the center because he had a cheese fit during the getaway. He pulled the truck over on a side street and tried to make a cheese sandwich on white bread. The problem was that he tried slicing the cheese with the small finger nail file he had on his key chain. The cheese just wouldn’t cut and he went into hysteria because he had gotten so close but was still so far from the sandwich of his dreams.

It was sad watching him escorted from the truck in handcuffs begging for that daily calcium intake. He later became known  as the cheese whiz.

I know a lot of other people who like cheese. In fact the grins  they wear while devouring their gourmet cheese specialties put me in the mind of smiling people that I see around other important people.

My friend Francois almost embarrassed me at an important political function one day. When a big time politician came into the room, he couldn’t stop shining his smile. He smiled from the time the man entered the room until the time the man  left the room.

“Francois,” I said, “you still smiling and the guy left a half hour ago.”

“I got to keep this smile man. You never know who will show up here. Smiling is the gateway to new opportunities. Don’t nobody want to see nobody with a frown or a blank stare on their face. Smiling is grace. When you smile at a person, you are inviting them into your world.”

“What if they don’t want to enter your world?” I said.

“Then you still keep smiling because they might change their minds and enter in. If they put a name with your face, they will never forget your smile,” he said loftily.

“What if they want to forget your smile?” I said

“They won’t forget, ” he said smiling,”especially if your teeth is right, your demeanor is right, your savoir fa-ire is right, your raison d’tre is right; your posture is right, everything about you is right.  How can anybody ever forget this smile? Huh? You get my meaning? Besides that man has some important legislation on his desk that might help my business. You get my drift?”

He went on. “You see its the cheese that does it.”

“Cheese?” I asked nervously.

“Yeah Cheese, man. Cheese! You know the meaning and power of cheese? What do photographers say when they take your picture? “Say cheese,” they say. “Say Cheese!” That’s what they say. Cheese is like money in the bank. All you got to do is say it and you are in.”

“When I think of cheese I smile. When I think that I will have cheese to eat from somebody who might do me a favor I smile harder”. Look at all the elegant people over by the fountain gulping their cheese orderves. Think about it. When you say the word “cheese” your face breaks wide with a broad grin where all of your teeth show at the same time. What other word in the English language causes your full face to stretch out in a toothy greeting than the word cheese?”

The word for me is “Vacation.”

“Vacation? Vacation? Vacation? “he said almost angrily. “When you say vay-cay-t-i-o-n, your face don’t  even stretch, but when you say cheese your whole face, your whole body, your whole soul goes into that expression. When you think of cheese it brings a smile to your face, he said patronizing me. “Cheese is the word.”

“Don’t believe me? Say the word,” he said. “Say Cheeze,”he said louder. “I said, say “cheeze,” he said almost shouting.

Embarrassed, I said, “Cheese, cheese, cheese, man,” in a low murmur.

“See when you said it. I saw all your teeth!”

“My blood was starting to boil now. All this drama about cheese was totally pathological.

Just then another important political patron strode mightily into the room.

“Hey Representative FunkFizzle, how you doing sir,” he said, bowing nearly to the floor and showing all of his teeth from ear to ear.

“I hear some important legislation is coming up on the House floor soon. You think we might have a chance?” he said cheezingly.

“I don’t know son. I don’t know. Anything is possible these days,” he said chomping on a Big Fat Havana nodding to his assistant to light his stogie again.

“Well, we’ll see sir. We will see!. Can I get you something?”

“Yes, you can. Get me a high ball and some crackers with cheese and bacon on it. ”

“Sure thing suh, Sure thing, ” he said scurrying off like a squirrel, looking back at me with the “see I told you so look,” nearly tripping over his feet to get to the refreshment area.

In less than five minutes Francois was back with all smiles, handing the food and drink over to Dr. Freelance Funkfizzle who was well over 350 pounds on any day.

“Francois, why are you doing all this running around? You are not one of the waiters. You are not being paid to get everybody their drinks and food of choice,” I said with a tone of irritation.

“Don’t matter. Don’t matter. Its about service and keeping the smile. Cheese man. It’s all about the cheese. Remember that! Don’t ever forget that. You never know who will walk through those doors.”

“Just a minute,” he said, “I see an old flame  and her politician friend just came in. Let me go over and say hi to her. Be right back,” he said taking off like bolt lightning.

A few moments later I heard a loud commotion from across the room. I heard a women’s voice shout, “Don’t you ever….and then a loud slap and the sound of something thumping the floor.”

Hurrying across the room, I saw Francois on bended knees before a woman with his hands in a prayer position murmuring “Please don’t baby. Please don’t.” Her friend had mistaken him for someone else by the name of Franswey and had shoved him to the floor for that the thought to be an insult to the woman.

“Don’t you ever again say something like that to me, ever. She said as Francois rose shamefully from the floor with head completely bowed.

By now people were startled and laughing at what had happened.

I took Francois by the shoulders and ushered him out of the big room.

“Man this is embarrassing, but I kept my cool. Did I keep my cool Carlyle? Did I keep my cool? Did I do us proud? I could a knocked him out but then I would have been looking like the fool. You get my meaning?, he said, tears welling in his eyes. Had I done that I would have looked like a total fool. Here she is chumping me and then if I had a hit him, they would have ushered me out. Oh no. I’m smarter than that. Francois is better than that.  All these important people here would have run me out of here. Ain’t that right?” he said childlishly.

“I get your meaning,” ushering him out into the hall way, “But there’s only one thing,” I said.

“What’s that?” he said holding the side of his red  face which bore the hand print of the Big lady’ friends wide hand.

“You shoulda had on your cheese smile when saw you her, like that grin you had a few minutes ago when Funkfizzle walked in and her friend might not have hit you. Enthralled by your cheese eating grin, she would have remembered better days with you. It’s all about the cheese, man Remember? Its all about the cheese!”

“So much for the cheeze Francois. Looks like the cheese has made you wheeze. If you can’t keep your cheese smile while you are getting slapped, when you are knocked down to the ground then what’s good is it? Remember sometimes the cheese is good enough to get you in the front door, but not good enough to keep you from landing on the floor.  The next time you want to teach me some lessons on cheese you make sure you grow some backbone, man. You get my meaning?”

“Say cheese Francois. Say Cheese, ” I said, walking out the door. ” All this cheese talk has made me hungry. I’m going home to make another Wisconsin Grilled Cheddar Cheese sandwich,” I said smiling.

“Can I go with you?”

“You can if you say cheese.”


6 responses to ““Blessed are the Cheese Eaters!” (For They Shall Have Backbone Density)””

  1. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
    Dorothy Merchant

    Are you saying “You’re never fully dressed without a smile?” or,
    “In politics sometimes “cheezin” could be the best foot in the door so that you have a chance to bring home the “cheddar”? or “When you smile the whole world smiles with you?” or is this another demonstration of your genius in weaving personal experiences into metaphors?”
    Would like to meet at your convenience to share a project I am working on. Your insights would be treasured. Keep writing. Keep expanding our views so that we can perfect this thing called life…

    1. cfstewart Avatar


      Thanks again. Sure I would be glad to meet with you about writing. We can talk briefly on Sunday. By then I will have possible dates before going on vacation in August.



  2. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
    Dorothy Merchant

    Creative, colorful, comical commentary. Perhaps cheezin’ sometimes is necessary to open the door so you can get the “cheddar.”.. Besides that, when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. Often we must force a smile or “fake it until we make it” because the world sometimes weighs heavily on us. Kirk Franklin had the right idea to “Smile”. or as you stated to Francois, “say Cheese”..
    nuff said. LOL

    1. cfstewart Avatar


      LOL. You comments are food for thought. Just want to have bring some humor to everyday situations and challenge people to think about things in other ways. Whatever meaning you get, I guess works for interpretation. Thanks again.

      God bless you


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