Overheard, out and about, Mrs. Grundy sees all, tells all

Published 8:26 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

The other turned out to be a jar of dewberry nectar.  That’s the juice made by boiling dewberries with sugar and then draining the juice from the berries. A little bit of the nectar goes a long way. I like to mix a bit of the thick juice with Sprite or some other clear soda pop for a refreshing drink.
It’s time to pick your own dewberries, gentle reader.
Miss Cora and I sat down to talk over the “latest” – educational firings, problems among some of the schoolgirls, retirements, parents who want teachers to change their child’s grades, hostile comments from church visitor, and the effects on education from a lack of money.
We fell to talking, too, of leadership.
Said Miss Cora, “When a person comes into a position of authority, he should avoid immediate changes. People, by nature, do not like change, unless it is of their own making. Change by an outside force causes people to feel insecure, not in charge of their own lives. Changes by Johnny-Come-Latelies are particularly stinging. Changes should be gradual so that folks can become used to them. One should build on what has gone before – improve, rather than replace. One should respect and appreciate what others have done. Everyone matters. Everyone is important. Tradition is a reality. A person in authority should not have the attitude of ‘It’s my way or the highway!’ The egomaniac tries to remake the world in his image with himself as its god. That person is ‘aching for a breaking.’ He’s ‘cruising for a bruising.’”
The Confederate jasmine is in fragrant bloom this week; there is a lush cascade of it over a fence at the Keaheys.’
Congratulations to one of our local authors – and illustrators – Sally Patton-Hall, for her new children’s book, “Everything Got Bigger,” geared to youngsters, 7 – l0.
Sally first wrote – and illustrated – “The Cat Who Could Tell Time.”
The new story line considers a little girl on a summer visit to her Nana.  The girl’s heart grows as she witnesses Nana’s good deeds and enjoys a summer of hummingbirds, pretending and a very special gift.
Besides the books, the author is introducing note-card sets with eight cat scenes from her first book.
Both books, by the way, can be purchased locally at Alan Cotton’s Florist, the Christian Book Store, Darby’s Village Pharmacy, and MaryAnn’s on the square.
A book signing is set for the Sun Dog in Seaside, Fla., June 19.  Other book signings are yet to be scheduled.
The last meeting for this academic year of District 24 (Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties) of the Alabama Education Association was attended Monday, May 10, at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen.
District president Jimmy Ponds, librarian at Straughn Elementary and president of AEA members in Covington County, presided.  He has one more year in his two-year term.
Others attending from our county were Emma Locke, Ethel M. Robertson and Joe Wingard, district secretary.
A workshop for AEA members was set for July 22; and the first meeting for the new academic year, Sept. 13.
Margie (Jacques) Thomasson, our town’s first director of the Andalusia Public Kindergarten, was honored by the Covington County AEA teachers with a retirement party after school early in May.
Mrs. Thomasson, who directed our kindergarten three years, later worked in Red Level School, and then finished her career of 26 years in Alabama schools by teaching sixth grade in Pleasant Home School, was given a pin and flowers by County President Jimmy Ponds.  On hand were friends and Mrs. Thomasson’s husband, Curtis, a retired educator himself and genealogical columnist for The Star-News.
Refreshments were served.
Mrs. Thomasson gave up teaching for many years to rear her three children, Curt, Christy and Clay. Today the Thomassons have three grandchildren.
The early kindergarten program, by the way, was one of only four “pilot programs” in our state when Mrs. Thomasson took charge under the hand of superintendent Oscar Monroe Zeanah. She had first taught a year in her native Arkansas.
The talented Jennifer (Smith) Dansby, retired teacher, sang “The Gift of Our Mothers,” a Mother’s Day song written by Dan Shehan and Joe Wingard in honor of their mothers, in the distinguished Baraca Class last Sunday. Mrs. Dansby was accompanied by Martha Givhan at the Ann Martin Memorial Piano.
In honor of their mothers some men and women at First Baptist wore white (for deceased mothers) or red flowers (for living mothers).
All mothers present in worship at First Baptist that morning were asked to stand. Each was presented with a red carnation as Mrs. Givhan, organist, played “God, Give Us Christian Homes.”
Jason Tucker, pianist, professionally sang “One Little Heartbeat at a Time,” in honor of mothers, as he accompanied himself at the grand piano and was backed by the choir.
Also on Sunday morning Glynn and Kimberly Ralls presented their little daughter, Bella Lynn Ralls, for dedication to God.  Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor, prayed for the precious baby and presented a gift from the church.
A beautiful arrangement of red roses, interspersed with Queen Anne’s lace, sat upon the altar.
Dan Shehan of Savannah told me that at his church each mother was given a red rose in a keepsake vase, plus a gift certificate to eat out.
Seen at Tabby D.’s for the lunch buffet were Sid Fuller, Nick Parnell, Spence Taylor, Allen and Dorothy Cook, Merrily (Taylor) McCary, Jimmy Browder, John Jones, Sheriff and Mrs. Dennis Meeks, Donald and Judy Knox and their Scarlett, and Jimmy and Tammy Cox and their son Bryan and his wife Adrienne.
I ran into Staci (Skroback) Clark and her daughter Emily of Chipley, Fla., this week.  Staci grew up in Andalusia and was here for the funeral of Scarlett Parsons, the mother of her good friend, Kellye (Parsons) Sharpe.
I, too, was at the funeral.  It was simple and brief, as Scarlett had requested.
For an hour before the graveside service in the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery, family and friends gathered at Foreman’s.
It was Friday, May 7, with burial at 2 p.m., a sunny and warm day.
Scartlett lay, dressed in a gown of blue check, in an open casket with a floral  “blanket” of Queen Anne’s lace and blue delphinium.
After a procession to Andalusia Memorial, Josh Wilson, the young pastor at Bethany Baptist Church, spoke of Scarlett’s simple yet purposeful life, read from the Bible and prayed.
Scarlett leaves her husband, Don; her children, Jon and Kellye, their spouses, and four grandchildren as her chief mourners.
The Murals Committee met May 11 in city hall to discuss collecting essays, art and posters from students in Covington County for the contest geared to the next mural, one featuring county schools.
The deadline was yesterday.  Committee members plan to collect essays, art and posters Monday for judging.
Attending the meeting were Pat Palmore and Nancy Robbins, co-chairwomen; Mary Lee Howard, Robert Anderson, Barbara Bryant, Elaine Manning, Hazel Griffin and Joe Wingard.
Seen at lunch in the hospital cafeteria last Sunday were Roy and Sybil Weaver, Ken Floyd, Frank and Tina Moore, A.G. and Pat Palmore, Betty Bass, Betty Greene and Jeanette Carroll.
Mother’s Day last Sunday was also the birth date of James Matthew Barrie, Scottish writer of sentimental novels, plays, and his masterpiece, the ever-popular Peter Pan.
This week has also seen the birthdays of Edward Lear, the world’s best-known writer of limericks, and Sir Arthur Sullivan, the English composer who wrote the music to the still popular light operas of Sir William S. Gilbert, English librettist and poet, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado, as well as music to “The Lost Chord” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”
I hear tell that Emily Queen, the daughter of Julie (Carroll) Queen and granddaughter of Jeanette (Burke) Carroll, made 32 on her ACT. Wow!!
Speaking of Emily, she and her grandmother, Jeanette Carroll, were in London and Paris with an educational tour group during spring break in April, enjoying the sights.
Emily is a senior at Signal Mountain High School in Tennessee, a new school in which Emily is a member of its first senior class.  She plans to attend Auburn this fall.
Little Leland Anderson, the daughter of Phil and Brandy Anderson of Eufaula and granddaughter of Robert and Louise Anderson of our fair town, won, out of a field of 13, and before an audience of 500, the title of Miss Tiny Barbour County in a pageant for 5-and-6-year-olds.
Little Leland faced nine judges for an interview and competed by photo, casual dress, “dressy dress” and a stage question that asked her to select her favorite dad time. She pinpointed how she counted on him to blow out her burning marshmallows.
Phil, by the way, manages Old Springhill Plantation in Eufaula, built in l842.  It was once the home of Alabama Governor B. B. Comer.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans met May 6 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library to hear a book review of Oh, What a Loansome (sic) Time I Had, a book of letters written between William M. Moxley, a Confederate soldier in the l8th Alabama in the War, and his wife, Emily, of Coffee County.
Presented by Vaughn Bowers, the book recorded the ordinary concerns of the couple, more than battles.  People in this area might find some of their own kin mentioned in the book.
Curtis Hampton Thomasson, commander of Camp l586, here in Covington County, presided.
Larry Shaw led in “Dixie.”
Attending, too, were Jimmy Cobb, the “Coffee Man,” Derick Davis, Morris Mullen, Perry Ballard, the colorful Sir Francis McGowin, Bill Thigpen, Tony Wells, Kelly Veasey, Rick Boswell, Charlie Peavy, John A. Gantt, William Blocker, Don Nelson, A. C. Adams and Joe Wingard.
The Andalusia Association of Educators honored retiring teachers and support personnel in the Andalusia City Schools the afternoon of Thurs., May 6, in the Hickory Ridge Lodge and Inn off the Straughn School Road.
Honored were Libby Bradley, a second-grade teacher at Andalusia Elementary School with 25 years of experience; Gary Harper of the middle school, who is retiring for his second time from the system; Holly Krudop, media specialist at AES; Bobbie Lankford, paraprofessional at AES with 27 years; Mary Ann Lee, an English instructor at AMS with 29 years; Emma Locke, a paraprofessional at Andalusia High School with 17 years; Lisa Locklier, who teaches physical education at AES and has 26 years in education; Irene McClain, custodian at AES and formerly at East Three-Notch with 33 years; Carol Moore, who retired back in October from AES with 37 years; Gail Mullen, nurse at AES with 20 years; Jenny Pitts, AHS counselor with 38-and-a-half years; Vicki Riley, a physical-education teacher at AES; Addie Simpson, an AMS art teacher with 33 years; and Patsy Taylor, nurse for the city system.
Karen Pass, treasurer of the AAE for the past ten years, organized the reception, catered by George and Brenda Gantt, who own Hickory Ridge.
Mrs. Pass presided, led in prayer, and presented to each retiree a cake-cutting, stainless set, engraved with the retiree’s name and years of service.
If it weren’t for Karen Pass, the AAE would practically be non-existent. I hope its members appreciate her and tell her so, bless her heart.
Ted Watson, principal of the middle school, sang to taped music, “I Hope You Dance,” dedicating the sentimental song to the retirees and adding some humorous stories about his former teachers.
A song by Mr. Watson has become a tradition at retiree affairs.
Refreshments, centered around an arrangement of wildwood blooms and those of the pitcher-plant, included Brenda’s sausage-cheese dip, grilled-pork-tenderloin sandwiches, Mexican corn dip and chips, beefy cheese balls, deviled eggs, Brenda’s onion hushpuppies and lemonade.
All enjoyed the beauty of the rustic, wooden, clapboard lodge, resting atop a ridge of hickory trees, its wide porch with rockers and ceiling fans, an assortment of benches, tables, and chairs, the lake and its bridge down below, lawns, flowerbeds and the new bell tower.
I didn’t want to leave. George and Brenda showed the new kitchen and other additions. What a haven!
Thank you, gentle reader, for calling in the name of a local author.  Jan White, Karin Taylor of the public library, and Joe Wingard are trying to compile a master-list of local authors for the big town homecoming next Nov. 12.
Upcoming dates to remember include the following:  Awards Day at A.H.S. May 21; the combined choral and band concerts at A.H.S. May 17 at 6 p.m.; baccalaureate at A.H.S., May 23; graduation at A.H.S., May 28; Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, now through May 22; and Jasmine Hill Gardens, now through June 27, weekends only.
Jessica Smith, a sweet-girl graduate of the A.H.S. Class of 20l0, daughter of the teacher of Spanish, Maria Smith, kicked off the traditional senior parties with a scrapbooking theme. The party was catered by C.J.’s, featuring chicken tenders and cookies. This was the first official senior party, held March 23.  Seniors attending wrote memories of their school years and placed them in Jessica’s scrapbook.
News of senior parties is most welcome in this column. Please take your details in writing to the newspaper office.
Gentle reader, let me encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend.  Fare thee well!