Oh, and many happy returns

Are you one of those shoppers who complain that greeting cards just don't say what you want them to anymore? Then perhaps you and the person for whom you're buying should follow the lead of the Culberson brothers, Darryl and Dan. Since 1973, they've been exchanging salutations on each other's birthday. But always with one card they know will express exactly the right sentiment. The tradition began when Darryl, a Colorado Springs resident, and Dan, who lives about 100 miles away near Boulder, Colo., decided to stop exchanging gifts – both of them admitting that they're – um – tight with a buck. Darryl, however, decided he couldn't just let the occasion go unobserved. So he bought this card. It featured a masked motorcycle rider and the inscription: "Here it is! Just another card for your birthday. The Phantom Cheapo strikes again!" Dan was amused and decided to return the gesture. When Darryl's day rolled around the following January, he crossed out his brother's signature, inked his own name on the card, and mailed it back. And so it has gone down through the years, even though the card eventually became yellowed and frayed and now is held together with tape. In time, the brothers added short messages to their signatures, so, as you can imagine, there's virtually no space left. The Culbersons say they "kid each other about what [they're] going to do" when they finally run out of room to write. That could mean one of them may have to break down and go shopping for a new card ... and perhaps join the ranks of those who can't find what they're looking for.

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