This week, it’s pizza, paintings and graduation

Published 12:00am Saturday, June 8, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I viewed a mimosa across at Covington Hall. Even though indoors, I could almost smell the sweet perfume of the delicate blossoms, each like a ballerina dressed in pink.

Charles and Audie Mae Thomasson enjoyed their son Rocky, his wife, Kim, and daughter, Cassie, during a recent visit.

Westgate Plaza in Andalusia has a new tenant, 2 Guys Pies, located where Mama T’s was once housed. The two “guys” are Casey and Cavelle Jones. The pies are pizzas. The menu offers a variety of Italian dishes. I tried a pizza and found it freshly made and tasty. The service is excellent. The dining room is neat, attractive, bright with cleanliness and vivid colors. Each table is spread with a covering that looks like a black-and-white page of newspaper advertisements. The take-out customers seem to match the eat-in customers.

The senior adults of West Highland Assembly of God, known as the Young at Heart, gathered for their quarterly luncheon May 30 in their Fellowship Hall. Each attendee contributed a covered dish, ate, and stayed to hear a speech by Walt Merrell, district attorney of Covington County.

Joel Calhoun, the pastor, worded the blessing.

Tables were appointed by Gail Worley and Donna Worley with red-white-and-blue cloths, flowers, flags, and candles in honor of Memorial Day.

Betty Mitchell, president of the Young at Heart, presided.

Merrell began his program with prayer and talked about criminal cases in our county.

He said that drugs are the biggest problem in county crime, adding that every violence-related crime for the last five years has been traced to drugs.

His comments addressed the importance of positive male influences, Christianity, the presence of wickedness all about us, and health problems.

Merrell shared his testimony as a Christian witness for Christ.

Arriving at City Hall this past week, I found some city workers, planting beautiful flowerbeds. Among those working were Ginger Hassell, Stanley Woods, Willie Jones and Tabitha Linzy.

The Murals Committee met May 30 in City Hall. Attending were Elaine Manning, David Fuqua, Nancy Robbins and Joe Wingard.

The Tourism and Relocation Committee of the City of Andalusia is selling a new, hardback cookbook with local recipes and the stories behind them for $20 at City Hall by Sept. l. After that the price goes up to $25. Ask for Heart and Soul.

The Covington Historical Society met for its 384th time May 30 in the Dixon Memorial.

Bill Blocker, president, presided.

Bill Law’s invocation was followed by the pledge and the singing of the state song, “Alabama,” accompanied at the piano by Sue (Bass) Wilson, vice-president.

Nancy Robbins, secretary, provided copies of the minutes.

Harmon Proctor, treasurer, provided copies of the financial statement.

The program emphasized the lives of two U.S.A. soldiers, the first casualties from Andalusia in World War I, Otis Battle and James Malcomb, for whom Post 345 is named.

Battle went down with the USS Cyclops.

The program was given by both Sue Wilson and Jan White, whom Mrs. Wilson described as “a blessing to so many people.”

Mrs. Wilson spoke, too, of the women in Andalusia who were associated with World War I.

Mrs. Wilson played “Over There,” a popular song from World War I, as the audience sang along.

Guests included Charlie Cope, Linda Castleberry’s granddaughters, Laken Steele and Taylor Lawson, Herb Jasper, Annette Reeves, Margaret Holmes, Bonnie Aughtman and Jo Driggers, Joe Wingard’s cousin from Lexington, S.C., here as a houseguest of Zolly and Betty Mitchell, prior to a bus tour to Chicago.

Refreshments were provided by Johnnie and Wanda Davis, Curtis Thomasson, Linda Castleberry and Larry Shaw.

The Andalusia High School graduation exercises, the l09th, dating from the estimated first Class of 1904-1905, were staged Fri., May 24, in the high-school auditorium at 7 p.m. Graduation has been staged there since 1964.

A bouquet of white carnations arranged in the silver urn, given by the Class of 1979, centered the stage. Greenery in flanking urns sat atop plant stands given by the Class of 2012.

Behind the flowers was the lectern, given by the Class of 1984, modeled upon one made by Comer B. Shehan and used from 1979 through 1983.

The prelude, “Trumpet Voluntary,” was played by John A. Beasley at the grand piano, and Lorren Shaffer, a trumpeter and junior.

Angelia B. Sasser, senior-class sponsor, sang the traditional “Gaudeamus Igitur” for vespers. The English lyrics to this song were penned by Joseph C. Wingard, long-time grand marshal at A.H.S.

Mr. Beasley played the processional, “Pomp and Circumstance,” as the audience stood and the seniors, in their crimson gowns and mortarboards, marched down two aisles and onto the stage, set with rows of chairs.

The processional by Elgar has been used since 1946. Its title comes from a play by Shakespeare, Othello.

The pledge was led by Anna Elizabeth Bowden, class president.

Mrs. Sasser led in “The Star-spangled Banner.”

Miss Bowden greeted those present and announced the class gift, a painting of Old Main (the main building on campus, built circa 1939).

Candace Noel Cravey, salutatorian, presented her salutatory, “Rearview Mirror.”

Mrs. Sasser, for her fifteenth time, sang the sentimental “The Halls of Ivy.” Mrs. Sasser is a member of the Class of l972 and a science teacher at A.H.S..

Cory Alexander Evans, valedictorian, presented his valedictory, “Awakening.”

Superintendent of Education Ted Watson, in his third year, commented briefly.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal in his eleventh year, assisted by Bennie Shellhouse, assistant principal, presented diplomas to 108 students.

Mrs. Sasser then led all in the “Alma Mater,” written 85 years ago for the Class of 1928 and their sponsor, Miss Mildred Striplin.

The seniors exited as Mr. Beasley played the “Grand March” from Verdi’s Aida, used for the last 44 years.

“Caps” and gowns, by the way, have been used in our country since 1908 and at A.H.S., beginning with the Class of 1926.

Ushers for commencement were Morgan Stephens, Kennedy Thompson, Caitlin Carpenter, Shelby Nixon, Tamara Hall, Shandricka Thompkins, Emily Kelley, Megan Kelley, Karlee Shirey and Gabrielle Purdue.

Coming out of retirement to operate the sound system, bless him, was Sam Shakespeare, custodian and brother to the principal. Sam retired Jan. 9, 2013, with 24 years and 11 months.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. One of the seniors was Mason Levi Wishum, a third-generation graduate. His dad, Jerry, was in the Class of 1971. Jerry’s dad, Levi, was in the Class of 1928, the class for whom the “Alma Mater” was written. Levi probably heard it as it was first performed in what is now the auditorium of the City Hall (then, the high school). Levi was only 17 at his graduation and would have been in another class. Count the years between grandfather, son and grandson, gentle reader, and see that the years are about the same between each of the Wishum graduates.

I noticed on the program two fourth-generation “grads,” Ernest Tucker Foshee and John David Thompson.

Congratulations!

Misspelled last week was Dr. Louise Anderson. I’m sorry, Louise.

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 continues.

Again, I ask that citizens of Andalusia join the Covington Historical Society and pay its annual dues of $25 to help preserve the history of our county, whether you attend meetings or not. Mail to CHS, P.O. Box 1582, Andalusia, AL 36420. Include your e-mail address if you wish to be reminded of up-coming meetings.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us return to this week 150 years ago.

Southern General Lee left the Fredericksburg area in Virginia with an eye on invading the North. (Turnabout is fair play.) This decision would culminate in the Battle of Gettysburg. Southern Gen. A.P. Hill, part of Lee’s forces, remained in the Fredericksburg area to protect the South.

The siege of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River continued. Some Federal troops burned the Brierfield Plantation in Mississippi – the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

At Vicksburg General Grant shelled the city for 24 hours, sending residents to hide in houses and caves. The siege would last into July.

For those who collect stamps, consider those associated with the War of 1812 and the Sesquicentennial of “the War.”

This week’s mysterian was the first male member of our library board.

Birthdays this week are those of Edward Elgar, English composer of “Pomp and Circumstance,” a march used widely in commencement exercises, perhaps the most used of all commencement pieces; Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet; Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the Confederate States of America; and Robert Schumann, German composer.

Now, gentle reader, allow me to encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing.

Fare thee well.

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