GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Milton Halverson has sent the same birthday card to his longtime pal Arleen Carlson for 50 years.

And she sends it right back.

Mended over the years by strips of transparent tape now yellow and brittle, the card is the kind that could put a greeting card company out of business.

Known as a ''thrifty card,'' it features a piece of glazed paper on which the giver writes his or her name in pencil. The idea is explained in a Scottish verse inside that ends, ''Ye can just wash off my name, write in your own ye see. Then when my birthday comes around, ye can send it back tae me.''

''And that's what we've been doing for the past 50 years,'' said Halverson, who on Monday mailed the card for the 100th time.

Carlson, who turns 72 on Saturday, has been friends with Halverson since the two grew up together in Amery, Wis., where Carlson still lives.

She remembers buying the card in an Amery drugstore for 5 cents, and mailing it for 2 cents. Halverson first received the card when he was 10.

''I even received this (in Germany) when I was in the Army,'' the 59-year- old telephone repairman said. ''And I'd fire it right back.''

They'll keep firing away, too.

''I wouldn't want a new card. That would take all the fun out of it,'' Halverson said.

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - Last-minute Christmas shoppers, if you're looking to splurge there's something big on the market: two entire villages.

New Hanover and Arnsberg, replicas of 19th-century European villages built in the Black Forest in southeastern Missouri, are for sale.

The villages, which are unincorporated and uninhabited, were built by the late Burton Gerhardt as a tribute to the early German settlement of the area.

In September, they were sold for $493,500 to East Perry Lumber Co., along with the 1,041-acre forest. Company officials don't want the 29 quaint buildings, the covered bridge or the 600 feet of railroad track. They only want the trees.

''We don't want to get into the tourist business and it is too nice just to sit idle,'' said Sonny Lueders, East Perry's secretary-treasurer.

The company has received about 10 inquiries but no offers since the towns went up for sale. Lueders isn't revealing the asking price.

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WEST HOMESTEAD, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's 69-year-old entry in this spring's Ms. Senior America Pageant has her racy routine down pat. It's from all the practice at nursing homes.

Dorothy Hileman said audiences seem to like her delicate shimmy to ''Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.''

So far, the West Homestead woman has performed the dance at about 35 nursing homes.

''I'm very careful,'' she said Monday. ''Dignity is a very important criterion in the pageant.''

She won her state title two months ago, entering as Ms. Senior Steel Valley under the sponsorship of a company that operates senior citizen centers in southwestern Pennsylvania. Forty-four friends traveled to the pageant and rang cowbells in support.

The former ninth-grade science teacher begins her dance in a blue gown. She then pops behind a screen and comes out modestly wrapped in a yellow towel. When daintily dropped, a fringed black and gold polka dot outfit is revealed.

She never undresses to a ''itsy bitsy'' bikini, however. Underneath she wears a full-length beige leotard.

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DALLAS (AP) - A manufacturing mistake has struck a sour note with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The producer of compact discs for the Pro Arts record company mislabeled up to 1,000 compact discs, according to the orchestra's music administrator, Victor Marshall.

''I found out about it when members of the orchestra bought the recording of Gustav Holst's 'The Planets' to see how they sounded and discovered that they had bought a Christian rock group album,'' said Marshall.

Many of the discs have been recalled, but Marshall said he still has 50 of them.

''I don't even know who the rock group is, but I don't really want to throw the discs away,'' Marshall said. ''I may string them on a wire and turn them into a mobile for my office.''