Mrs. Grundy tells tales of ‘Sons of Confederacy’

Published 12:00am Saturday, June 15, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I wondered again at all the white blooms of June – the white crepe myrtle, magnolia, gardenia, yucca, the elderberry, and daisy fleabane. White, the color of purity, seems appropriate for June because of “sweet girl graduates” and June brides, who traditionally wear white at graduations and weddings.

Though it doesn’t feel like it, spring is still here. The first official day of summer is yet to be – June 2l – and the longest daylight of the year.

Seen at David’s for supper were Jimmy and Tammy Cox.

Seen at Tabby D’s for lunch were Allan and Nell Wiggle, Chase Parker and Hunter Grimes (not that one, the other one).

Seen at the Corner Market were Frances Ptomey, James Summerlin and Raymond Worley.

Cyndy Shaw had as houseguests her son, Joshua, and his wife, Samantha. The younger Shaws had been on vacation – watching the Braves play in Atlanta, visiting the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, checking out Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and attending the Highland Games in Glasgow, Ky.

A number of locals enjoyed a singing at Red Oak Baptist May 31.

The Covington Rifles Camp #1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans assembled for their monthly meeting June 6 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Sir Francis McGowin, commander, presided.

“Hank” Roberts, chaplain, worded both invocation and benediction.

Derick Davis, adjutant, led the pledges.

Larry Shaw led “Dixie.”

An election for new officers resulted in the following: Curtis Hampton Thomasson, commander; Vaughn Bowers, first lieutenant; Larry Shaw, second lieutenant, and Derick Davis, adjutant. All were elected unanimously.

Following business, a film by Ken Burns, on the War Between the States in 1863 (150 years ago), was shown, courtesy of Jimmy Cobb.

Attending were Derick Davis, Larry Shaw, Joe Wingard, Ken Reeves, Sir Francis McGowin, Curtis Thomasson, Jimmy Cobb, “Hank” Roberts, John Allen Gantt and Randy “R” Kelley.

The next meeting and installation of officers was set for July 11.

The Portly Gentleman will now tell us of his trip to Foley.

“As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I attended the SCV Reunion (annual convention) in Foley, Alabama, June 7–8.

“Taking 29-3l south I drove through Brewton, Flomaton, Atmore, Bay Minette, Stapleton (turning left onto 59), Loxley, Robertsdale, Summerdale and Foley with its beautiful downtown of quaint buildings and public gardens.

“In America’s Best Inn Mack Lott of the SCV in the Enterprise area was checking in at the same time as I.

“Just down the street from our motel was the Tanger Outlets, a large group of discount shops, and Lambert’s, the famous restaurant known for being the home of the ‘throwed roll,’ one of three locations.

“Never having eaten at Lambert’s, I drove down the street for a late lunch there. Although it was not lunch or supper hours, the place was crowded. The front porch of the large, rustic building had a waiting line ‘a mile long.’ I signed the waiting list and prepared to wait; but, to my surprise, when I was found to be alone, I was admitted immediately and sent to the head of the line and given a seat at a table that could have held four.

“Every inch of the walls of Lambert’s is decorated – car tags, framed pictures, balloons, ceiling flags, birdhouses and rustic what-nots.

“The interiors of three dining rooms are dark with wooden floors and wooden booths.

“I was told by a waiter that the restaurant can hold 450 at a time.

“It was founded in 1942.

“Waiters and waitresses were dressed in blue shirts with red bowties and red suspenders. Some carried pots of food around all the time, going from table to table and asking customers if they wanted this or that, such as peas or potatoes. This extra food was free, to be added to what one already had ordered.

“Too, a waiter would pass by with some of those famous ‘throwed rolls,’ big, hot, soft, steaming rolls that were meals unto themselves. Yes, the waiter would toss a roll across the room to waiting hands.

“Periodically, someone would announce a birthday, or anniversary, or high-school graduation; then everyone else would cheer and applaud.

“The food is abundant and simple. I had greens, carrots, steak, and an Arnold Palmer, which is half tea and half lemonade, said to be Palmer’s favorite drink. Everywhere I ate the next three days I ordered an Arnold Palmer.

“That night I attended a reception for the new state SCV commander, Gary Carlyle, whom I had met at last year’s ‘reunion’ in North Alabama. Gary and his wife Kathy had at that time also been celebrating their wedding anniversary. Their children had given Gary and Kathy a weekend at the nearby bed and breakfast at Gorham’s Bluff. I had been the only other guest at Gorham’s Bluff that weekend. The Carlyles and I had met at breakfast. Ann Cushing had recommended Gorham’s Bluff to me.

“At the reception I ran into others I know – Sir Francis McGowin, commander of the local SCV camp here in Andalusia; Joe Clark, brigade commander of the local camps in this area of Alabama; Philip and Rose Mary Davis from the Montgomery area; and Mike and Angie Williams. Mike is state adjutant. He finished at Straughn School in 1974.

“The reception, mainly a time of eating and greeting, was housed in the Gift Horse, an excellent restaurant in Foley, which provided a swanky buffet. The local camp, named Ft. Blakeley Camp #l864, hosted the whole weekend. The local camp meets monthly at the Gift Horse. The meeting includes a meal provided by the Gift Horse. (Must be nice!)

“Coat and tie was the order of the day.

“The ‘reunion’ continued all day Saturday, meeting in the great room of the Foley City Hall, draped with flags of the Confederacy, with centerpieces of cotton and little flags on round tables and with chairs for ceremonies, business, and eating, and an area for vendors, where hundreds of items were for sale.

“The group was welcomed by the commander of the Ft. Blakeley Camp, Tommy Rhodes, a friend of John Givhan.

“Jerry Rowley, the local SCV chaplain, offered prayer.

“Colors were posted, pledges spoken, ‘the Charge’ not to forget was repeated, greetings shared by dignitaries, instructions given, and ‘Dixie’ sung.

“A business session lasted till noon.

“Officers made reports.

“Dr. Charles Baker, the state chaplain, read Psalm l33 and worded prayer. He is a fine, ol’ gentleman.

“Some 24 of 61 camps were represented. Some 103 new members have joined since last year, for a total of l802.

“Joe Clark joined other brigade leaders to share accomplishments since last year.

“I was shocked to learn that Leonard Wilson, a former state commander, had died in April. Dr. Baker preached his funeral and highly praised Wilson. The library of Confederate books at the Confederate Park in Alabama was assembled by Wilson. A resolution was passed to name the boardroom at the park in memory of Wilson.

“Another resolution thanked a long-time vendor, Connie Morgan, who is retiring.

“Amendments were passed.

“The next reunion was set for May 2-3, 2014, in Athens.

“A lunch buffet of sandwiches and salads, catered by the Gift Horse, was enjoyed in the great room.

“That afternoon about 50 traveled to the Confederate Rest Cemetery at Point Clear near the Grand Hotel to honor the Confederate dead buried there. Many had been hurt in Vicksburg and had died at the Grand when it doubled as a hospital during the War. I was impressed with Commander Carlyle, who has a nice voice, plays the guitar, and led us in singing ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken?’ Of course, we sang ‘Dixie,’ too.

“I rode over and back with David Eubanks of Mississippi, whom I had met in Hot Springs, Arkansas, at an earlier national reunion.

“That night we had an awards banquet, catered again by the Gift Horse with an abundant and swanky buffet. The program included a talk on the scarcity of salt during the War, awards, winners of a silent auction, greetings from Mrs. Joe Clark (state president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy), and ‘Dixie.’

“Heavy rains fell Sunday and Monday, and I was more or less trapped in my motel room. I did get out to eat, of course. I had lunch at the Shrimp Basket across the street and supper at IHOP next door. Again, being alone paid off. At the Shrimp Basket, I was let up immediately to the head of the line and seated. On the menu cover I counted 17 locations for the Shrimp Basket.

“Monday, after the rains slacked, I drove down to Tanger Outlets to visit my cousin, Brad Cobb, who manages the Corningware shop; then, over to his mother’s at the golf/lakeside subdivision. Aunt Dolores is still beautiful. She reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor. For three hours we talked family and Hank Williams. Her late husband, my Uncle Winston Cobb, played the drums in Hank’s band at one time.

“Taking 98 west, I drove to Point Clear, Fairhope, Daphne, and Spanish Fort, where I visited Mary Gayle Cole, a friend.

“Its being so late, I took a room in Spanish Fort, enjoyed a meal at Olive Garden, and settled in for a rest. The manager of the LaQuinta turned out to be Patrick Patel, a good friend of our own Greg White.

“The next day, returning to ‘the Dimple of Dixie,’ I stopped in Atmore for a three-hour visit with my cousin-in-law, Margaret (Garrett) Banks, now 90, whom I took to lunch.”

Thank you, Portly One.

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.

A memorable battle was fought between cavalry forces of Southern Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and Northern Gen. Alfred Pleasonton at Brandy Station, Va. Southern General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia headed north into Maryland and Pennsylvania with many accompanying Southern victories.

For those who collect stamps, consider those associated with the War of l8l2 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 John Howard Payne, American actor and playwright, who wrote “Home, Sweet Home” in an opera; Charles Kingsley, English minister, novelist, and poet of “Old and Young”; William Butler Yeats, Irish poet; and the “Magna Carta,” early English document of freedom, leading eventually to American documents of freedom.

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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