Dear Smiley: It is always good to visit Baton Rouge.

Family, friends and food - that is what the visits are all about.

For example:

Friday arrival, midafternoon: visit with family.

Friday evening: marinated crab fingers and one of the best gumbos Peggy (Mom) has ever made.

Saturday early morning: visit with friends over breakfast.

Saturday late morning: hurry to LSU Parade Grounds; tailgating to catch up on.

Saturday early afternoon: hurry home to watch the Tigers on the tube.

Saturday evening: marinated grilled flank steak and roasted asparagus. Watch Alabama almost get upset.

Sunday morning and afternoon: quiet time.

Sunday evening: to the in-laws' for more delicious food, family and the Saints.

Monday morning: time to pack.

Monday noon: time for more delicious gumbo.

Monday afternoon: departure.

There is a saying in South Louisiana:

You can be eating breakfast and before you are through eating, someone is talking about what is going to be cooked for lunch.

Is Baton Rouge a great place to be?

You betcha!

PHIL HANNAMAN

Tyler, Texas

Mama wrote

Dear Smiley: Jess Magallon, in the Oct. 15 column, makes a good suggestion:

Use the Postal Service.

My long relationship began in World War II, when I left home with my military husband to travel around the world for many years.

Every week Mother and I exchanged letters.

She would write about everything going on at home, and I would keep her up with the growing children and the places we saw.

Mama would write several pages, and then write a postscript up the side on the margins.

One day she left off the postscript, and my husband said, "Where is the P.S.? You tell her next time I want the P.S. up the side."

We did not miss home because we had home with us through letters from both mothers.

We lost our elderly mothers in the 1990s, leaving a huge vacancy in our lives (and perhaps also in the mail service).

FAY M. JONES

Baton Rouge

P.S. I notice the young people today constantly hold a phone in their hands, busily texting.

I hesitate to start a conversation with them, as it seems impolite to interrupt.

With the abbreviations they use, I hope they can remember how to spell.

Take a day off

Dear Smiley: The Postal Service has been putting out notices that they may not deliver mail on Saturdays anymore.

They have their reasons for doing this, and I want to let it be known that I am behind them all the way.

Most of the mail I receive falls into three major categories:

Pay me what you owe me.

Buy something else and owe me more.

Or just plain give me.

I think six days of this type of mail is at least one day too much.

J.P. MORGAN

Geismar

Dear J.P.: But in election season that would be one day less to get those colorful, informative campaign flyers. Do you really want THAT?

It's called Elderhiking

Dear Smiley: Just read Ben Duke's comments (about collecting a dollar for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for every fan in Tiger Stadium).

I agree with his suggestion, but I doubt that any cash will be forthcoming from the LSU Athletic Department.

Based on its decision to make old people pay $45 or walk up to a mile or more to attend a few hours of tailgating, I do not believe the department has a heart for anything but how many bucks it can rake in.

JACK COFFEE

Sunset

Idle hands...

Dear Smiley: Since I've retired I'm very busy volunteering.

I recently worked very hard on a very successful event.

Before the program started a 92-year-old lady approached me and said, "You must have nothing to do and time on your hands."

She continued, "I always see you in Smiley, and only a person with time on their hands would write to him."

Aren't you glad that there are a few of us with time on our hands?

FAYE HOFFMAN TALBOT

Jackson

Dear Faye: You bet I am. Without all you idlers, I'd have to get a real job!

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