Terry Grundmann, of Kenner, says, "Reading your column on various instructions, I was amazed when I bought a new car to find instructions on how to fasten a seatbelt.

"But on second thought, I guess it is needed — because many still seem not to have mastered this difficult process."

Good point, Terry. My Jeep's manual also contains instructions on how to use turn signals. But evidently manufacturers of other vehicles don't include this information in their instruction booklets.

Just take a short drive pretty much anywhere in Louisiana and you'll see what I mean…    

Tweet no more 

Speaking of instructions on various products, Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, wonders how certain safety warnings came about:

"I recently had my deceased ovens replaced. I’m one of those people who reads instruction manuals, due to an early career as a medical technologist.

"The owner’s manual began, 'Odors and smoke are normal when the oven is used for the first time, or when it is heavily soiled. Important: The health of some birds is extremely sensitive to the fumes given off. Exposure to the fumes may result in death to certain birds…'

"My son agreed he had never seen a notice like that, but he is not a coal miner with a canary partner.

"I always wish I could hear the stories that preceded the decision to include these warnings in a handbook. And I myself moved to a well-ventilated room."

War and grasshoppers

Martin St. Romain, of Raceland, says, "My great-uncle Edward Morris, who lived in Raceland, was an eight-year Army veteran, fighting in the Spanish-American War in Cuba and the Philippines, and also serving during the Boxer Rebellion in China. This account is in his own words:" (Edited for length)

"In May, 1898, we left Florida with an expedition to invade Cuba, landing on June 21, 1898. As we landed, we were engaged in battle.

"When my enlistment expired, I reenlisted and went to the Philippines. I stayed in Asia four years, including 18 months in China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, and was promoted to sergeant.

"After we captured Tien-Sien (Tianjin), we waited a month before marching on to Peking (Beijing). The American Legation in Peking was cut off from Washington. So President McKinley ordered General Adna Chaffee to send a volunteer courier for news. I volunteered.

"It took me six nights to reach the legation, and five nights to come back. I took no food with me, and on the fourth day out, I really felt pains of hunger.

"I ran into some French missionaries who provided food — fried grasshoppers, but they really tasted good. I stayed two days with them, then continued on."

Remembering Bobby

Warren Perrin, of Lafayette, says, "My friend, attorney Charles Sonnier, is putting together a documentary on Bobby Charles’ life (he is the executor of Charles’ estate)."

He is looking for stories and photos about the Abbeville singer/songwriter. There's a trailer out about the documentary. For more information, go to csonnier@sonnierlaw.com.

Bobby Charles, born Robert Charles Guidry, wrote some of the biggest hits for other performers: "See You Later, Alligator" (Bill Haley & His Comets), "Walking to New Orleans" (Fats Domino), and "I Don't Know Why But I Do" (Clarence "Frogman" Henry), among many others.    

Special People Dept.

— Lucy Kadair, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 99th birthday Sunday, Jan. 10. She is a native of Algiers.

— Harold Mann, of Covington, celebrates his 90th birthday Sunday, Jan. 10. He is a New Orleans native.

— Herman and June Carbo, of Harvey, celebrate their 56th anniversary Saturday, Jan. 9.

— Ruston and Theresa "Terri" Zeller, of Gonzales, celebrate their 55th anniversary Friday, Jan. 8.

Sister knows best

Jim Pitchford, of Baton Rouge, says, "Remembering things kids say:

"When I was about 12 years old, my mom was scolding me about misbehaving, saying, 'Your daddy in heaven has to be disappointed in you.'

"I replied, 'Daddy could not see what I did, because Sister Carmela said there is no sadness in heaven, only perfect happiness.'

"Mom had no comeback!"

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.