Seniors share humor during a happy Valentine#039;s Day meal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It was a time of &uot;fellowship, fun and food,&uot; as William Burns, minister of Union Baptist Church said last Saturday. The Honoraville church, as with many other churches throughout the area, held a Valentine Banquet for some of the congregation’s older members – and some who claimed the rules were changed just for them.

&uot;I wanted to come

– so they lowered the age minimum to 45,&uot; Regina Watkins laughed as she walked into the fellowship hall. Watkins and approximately two dozen other guests arrived at noon to the sound of romantic standards and the appetizing scent of good cooking, courtesy of the &uot;chefs du jour,&uot; Margaret Malone and Janet Weeks assisted by Tracy Duffell.

Of course, you want it to feel like the &uot;day of love,&uot; and decorator Janet Weeks supplied it with her magic touch.

The room’s white columns were wrapped with red rose garlands while the white-clothed tables glowed with rose-entwined red candles, carefully lit by the event’s young waiters and waitresses, youth who attend the church.

Tiffany Duffell was determined to keep the mood of the day just right.

&uot;Ooh, that one blew out…I’ve got to re-light it,&uot; the diminutive server said as she put the butane candle lighter to use once more.

Several of the attendees donned their own Valentine red ensembles for the day, including Cathy Darnell, Ethel Teague, Ova Killough and Joyce Sexton, while the servers put on their white aprons to take orders from their guests.

A multi-course meal was served, beginning with appetizers, including shrimp on skewers, followed by pear salad. On a cold and blustery day, a hot entr\u00E9e of hamburger steak with rice and gravy, peas and carrots and fragrant yeast rolls was pretty tasty.

During the meal, the guests were entertained by emcee/minister of music Stephanie Beverly, who performed the song, &uot;Flower in the Rain,&uot; and waitress Courtney Holliday, who sang a song giving thanks for those everyday blessings we often overlook.

Beverly, who also happens to be a teacher at Highland Home School, put the guests’ biblical knowledge to work with a crossword puzzle featuring couples from the Bible.

&uot;No helping each other, now – we are going to see how good your spelling is,&uot; Beverly cautioned to the sounds of groans and laughter as the guests took their pencils to paper.

&uot;Well, that’s it…I can’t spell,&uot; Betty Thomas said with a rueful shake of her head as she finally put her pencil down.

Pastor Burns was considered to be the shoe-in, but his defective pencil proved to be his undoing.

The first to complete her puzzle and win the prize was Jeanette Sikes, a retired English and speech teacher.

A number of door prizes were given away throughout the banquet as winning numbers were called out. Prizes with a definite Valentine’s theme were claimed by many guests – though a winless Watkins (jokingly) claimed foul play.

Once a delicious dessert of pound cake piled with strawberries and whipped cream was enjoyed and the dishes cleared away by the efficient wait staff, the featured entertainment took the stage.

Andrew J. Hall of Pelham, Ga., a.k.a. &uot;Cousin Arthur,&uot; retired Baptist minister and humorist, shared some side-splitting stories of his family’s rural upbringing in the Peach State.

Hall, clad in a distinctive outfit of well-worn overalls, a plaid jacket and hat emblazoned with all manner of pins, told tales of the cat and the castor oil, Emma Lou, the world’s plainest Waffle House waitress, Cousin Arthur and the shingles, and other amusing anecdotes.

&uot;The Bible tells us a merry heart doeth good like medicine…and doctors tell us laughter does release these chemicals that make us healthier, maybe keep us from having to go to the doctor,&uot; Hall told his audience.

Ethel Teague was practically in tears – happy ones – as she wiped her eyes after whooping it up over Arthur’s antics.

&uot;Oh, dear, it is good to laugh, isn’t it,&uot; Teague, who purchased some of Cousin Arthur’s comedy CDs, said with a grin.

&uot;This was really a good day,&uot; Jeanette Burns said with a smile.