A post on social media about boorish behavior in Washington, D.C., used the good old Southern word "tacky," and brought back some memories of my earliest days in Natchez, Mississippi.

My mother and her mother used the word a lot, never about someone who was just too poor to have nice things, but to describe people who had money but no taste:

"Did you see that tacky hat she wore to church?" or "That house of theirs is the tackiest thing I've ever seen!"

It was also used to describe behavior: "That was a tacky thing he said about her!"

It's a word that could be used often these days…

Electronic worship

Rick Marshall says, "After reading about the Pope reprimanding the congregation for raising their hands in praise holding cell phones, I believe he has no idea how many people follow the Mass using them."

Rick explains that there is "an electronic version of the Missal, with readings, Gospels, etc.

"Father Miles Walsh has informed me that Pope Francis' problem is not with them holding the phones, but with them flashing pictures with them."

What's the rush?

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, "I think Bob Downing got it slightly wrong in the Thursday column. 'Damn Sunday drivers' are the ones who drive that way on other days of the week beside Sunday.

"I have another name for them, but they won’t print that in the paper."

The wanderers

Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, says, "Your mention of the Sunday afternoon drives with your family rolled back the memories.

"We also would do that. Oftentimes we would ride the car ferry over to Brusly, ride past Momma’s childhood home there, then return to downtown via the U.S. 190 bridge.

"Sometimes we’d leave church for Middendorf's restaurant in Manchac, via U.S. 190 again, only to find the New Orleans folks had beat us there and there was a line.

"That was the only place a former military man would stand in line again."

Bridge to nowhere

Z. David Deloach, of St. Francisville, says, regarding Sunday drives, "We had the ultimate time-killing Sunday afternoon adventure when I was growing up in the New Orleans area.

"When the Causeway was being constructed and was completed almost halfway out in Lake Pontchartrain, they opened it up to a turnaround circle in the middle of the lake.

"My dad would actually pay a dollar to take us out to the middle of the lake and turn around. And of course when relatives from up north in Baton Rouge would come down, it was like going to one of the seven wonders of the world.

"But imagine the concern of a youngster when they found out that when the sun went down it went into the lake!"

That's amazing, Grace

After I confessed to falling out of bed and breaking my shoulder, several readers used the ugly word "klutz" to describe me.

Sue Conran, saying "I feel your pain," offers an alternative.

After telling about breaking her ankle while walking (twice), and once while falling down stairs; tripping in a parking lot and fracturing her elbow, and suffering multiple minor injuries from a fall on a sidewalk in Orlando, Florida, she offered this thought:

"Instead of klutz, I prefer to be called 'Grace!'"

Special People Dept.

  • Rebecca McMorris celebrates her 93rd birthday on Saturday, Dec. 2. She works out three times a week at a Baton Rouge fitness center.
  • Jewel Aucoin, of Reserve, celebrated her 90th birthday on Nov. 24. Jewel and husband E.J. celebrated their 70th anniversary on Nov. 22.
  • Elizabeth and Al Brown celebrate their 56th anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 2.
  • On Friday, Dec. 1, John and Jeanette McGurk celebrate 55 years of marriage.

Bird-counting 101

Beverly Bulligan, of Kenner, says, "I have to comment on your Tuesday column item about geese flying in a V formation.

"Your contributor, Alex Chapman, gave a very technical explanation of why they do that.

"Do you know why sometimes one side of the V is longer than the other? Here is my nontechnical explanation — that side has more birds."

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0371 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.