This observation from Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, comes out of our “What I Like About Living in Louisiana” file:

“The mention of Minnesota in the Thursday column and the current Arctic blasts remind me of a trip I took to the Twin Cities to visit a cousin.

“I noticed that almost all of the vehicles being driven had a bright yellow tennis ball stuck to the top of the vehicle’s radio antenna.

“I asked my cousin what was the significance, and was it some kind of fad.

“She laughed and said the tennis balls were used as indicators for approaching vehicles at intersections when the snow banks created by the snow plows (often more than six feet tall) prevented drivers from seeing the vehicles.

“I had assumed that everyone there was a tennis fanatic!”

Remember letters?

Claude Nall discusses changes in how we reach each other:

“In days long since past, if you wanted to communicate with a friend or relative, you sat down and wrote them a letter.

“You could show your elation at the birth of a new family member, your consternation over the ‘wrong’ public official being elected, or discuss your recent constipation because of a bad diet.

“You signed it appropriately with ‘Love’ or ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Yours truly’ and it went into the mailbox and was hopefully delivered to only one person.

“Those letters became family treasures, written years before you were born, passed down with all the memories they contained — family birth records, historical accounts of some major thing or another, and gossip about what life in a small town was like.

“Today you can write that same letter to a couple hundred people at once and have it answered by half of the recipients only minutes after ‘mailing’ it.

“The same family records, historical discussions, and opinions about life in a small town — but nothing to hold on to and cherish when the posting is over and done.”

Nice People Dept.

Rose Rolfsen says, “Two days ago I was in our local CVS store and saw a basket full of fleece lap blankets marked 39 cents each.

“Since I am in a group that makes prayer blankets for the sick, I grabbed another basket and filled it with all I could grab — all we would have to do is bind them.

“A lady who saw me asked what I would do with all of them.

“I told her, and she insisted on paying for them.

“Wow! Bless her.

“Sorry, I did not get her name. But she will get a prayer with each blanket.”

Senior moments

Adele Dauphin, of Big Easy Notary & Auto Title, of Mandeville, comments on our mention of the Office of Motor Vehicle’s Saturday “Senior Days:”

“The OMV contracts with private providers like myself, called public tag agents.

“We received word last week that the state system will be available for us to process every Saturday until June.

“Customers pay an $18 convenience fee to use our services, but it’s nice to be able to take care of driver’s license or registration renewals on Saturday.”

Special People Dept.

On Wednesday, Mabel P. Smith celebrated her 101st birthday — with a request to go dancing.

Rita Keller Jorgensen’s 90th birthday is Thursday, but she’s celebrating it on Saturday with a party.

Otis and Jackie Holmes Blackard, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 73rd anniversary on Saturday. He is a World War II veteran, serving in a MASH unit in North Africa and Italy, and an Esso (now ExxonMobil) retiree.

Bill and Joyce Braswell, of Ethel, celebrate their 64th anniversary on Friday.

George and Roberta Kelly, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 64th anniversary on Saturday.

Charles and Mary Hulbert celebrate 56 years of marriage on Saturday.

Nedra and Bill Zartman celebrate their 55th anniversary on Saturday.

The knee knows

Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon, says he saw on TV a story about a “favorite weatherman” contest:

“A ‘weatherman’ who is always right is my left knee.

“I know in advance when a change is coming.

“It doesn’t tell me the temps, but I pretty well know if it’s hot or cold.”

Color her hungry

Sharon Mickles says, “My soon to be 3-year-old granddaughter Addie has her priorities in order.

“She walked into the house the other afternoon and said, ‘Granny, you got pancakes and crayons?’

“I replied as any good Granny would, ‘Yes, baby, I have pancakes and crayons.’”

Talk to Smiley

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.