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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed in one of the fields around Covington Hall an abundance of coreopsis, primroses, and verbena. At the edge of the fields – in bloom – were magnolias and catalpa. Cascading over the rustic fences were honeysuckle and wild roses. Yucca (the Spanish sword) bloomed in the dry spots. Wet areas supported elderberries. Nearer the great house bloomed hydrangea, amaryllis, petunias and gardenias (Cape Jasmine).

In light of the latest political news, I am tempted to ask, “Tea, anyone?”

Seen at Country Folks in Florala for the Tuesday night buffet were Charles Jeffcoat, Thersa Theriot, and her daughter, Kaitlyn. Thersa’s brother is James Fallin, husband to Cynthia Fallin, who teaches in the Andalusia City Schools. Also seen were James and Eula Davis, Robert Lee Holley, and Donald and Judy Knox.

The traditional senior parties continue to honor graduating seniors of the Andalusia High School.

Two such parties spotlighted young Lee Enzor.

The first was at the home of Kendall and Patsy Taylor on Waterford Road, Sat., March 27, at 6 p.m. with co-hostesses, Doty Henderson, Darlene Hogg, Jenny Pitts, Debbie Posey, Phyllis Reynolds, and Jenny Rogers. The seniors played games like “Guess Who?,” the object of which is to answer questions in order to identify fellow classmates. Lasagna was served, and a good time was had by all!

Lee’s second party was Sunday afternoon, April l8, in the Valley of Shiloh at the home of Jerry and Katie Eiland on Lake Gantt. The seniors enjoyed boating, skiing, volleyball, fishing and swimming before sitting down to grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.

Buddy and Beth Wilkes offered the hospitality of their home to John Tillman and his guests. The seniors played minute-to-win-it games and Ping-Pong.

Kristen Finley’s party on Sun., May 2, was filled with food and fun. Brent and Beth Maddox hosted this party and served crawfish, shrimp, and other seafood delights. Cupcakes and other treats were served for dessert.

On May 3, the seniors had a wonderful time at their traditional Senior Class Night, attended in the First Methodist Church, which has been the traditional site for Class Night since long before any of the current seniors were born. Seniors took covered dishes and enjoyed pictures of happy memories. Class poet, Kaitlin Holley, shared her poem, remembering good and bad times together. Class historian, Jessica Smith, spoke of growing up together from kindergarten till now.

Changing from high-school seniors to senior adults, I hear tell that some 18 senior adults from First Baptist enjoyed a supper, a la carte, up at Hilltop Seafood Restaurant Thursday afternoon, May 13. Many selected the steak special. The steak, according to the Portly Gentleman, was superb! Attentive service and cheerful hospitality pleased Bill Law, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Gillis “the Combman” and Laura Ann Jones, Vivian Hickey, A. G. Palmore, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Margaret Smyly, Betty Bass, Lucy Martin, Margaret Eiland, Kim and Eleanor Dyess, Frank and Tina Moore and Joe Wingard. Mrs. Green, the matriarch of the Green family, and Jo Florence, her faithful helper, made an appearance as the group headed back to the “Dimple of Dixie.”

In a speech made by Colonel Covington in the Andalusia Lyceum last week, the Colonel pointed out that, if Elena Kagan is approved for the Supreme Court, then there will be six of the Catholic faith and three of the Jewish faith on the court and “not a Baptist in sight!”

The prestigious Study Club, called to order by President Sue Taylor, met the afternoon of May 12 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library.

Hostesses Lenora Johnson, Maria Thigpen, and Janet Beste had decorated the memorial with white cloths over round tables, centerpieces of three-tiered servers, topped with greenery and blooms, and napkins, wound like diplomas and tied with red ribbons.

From a separate table were served plum tea and coffee.

Georgia-Cracker pie awaited each member at her seat.

On the tiered plates, for selection, were petit fours, cheese straws, open-faced, cucumber sandwiches and trimmed, chicken-salad sandwiches, a perfect assortment for a proper tea.

The program was provided by Joseph Cecil Wingard, retired teacher of English, who spoke on “The Halls of Ivy,” a history of graduation ceremonies at the Andalusia High School from l905 to the present.

Jimmy and Sue (Bass) Wilson spent Mother’s Day at Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile and enjoyed dinner at Morrison’s, the famous Mobile restaurant, once a wide-spread “chain.”

The Glory Singers, the senior-adult choir at First Baptist, attended their annual outing at “The Shack” April 28. Lucille Foley, the owner, graciously allows the group to spend the day once a year at her get-away just outside of Opp.

The singers enjoyed catfish filets, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, hushpuppies, French fries, banana pudding, pound cake, Dwight’s Alabama caviar, Margaret Smyly’s cheese straws and Lucille Foley’s homemade lemonade, as well as tea and coffee. The meal was catered by Charles and Laurette Blair. Attending were Dr. Morgan and Wilma Moore, R. E. and Edwyna Ivey, Dennis and Charlotte Johnson, Dallas and Boncile Merritt, Martha Givhan (the accompanist for the group), Kim Dyess, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Dwight Crigger (minister of music and director of the group), Nancy Edwards, Nancy Robbins, Bertie Smith, Ovvie Martin, June Moore, Betty Lawson, Margaret Smyly, Sarah Gene Clark, and Martha Griffin. Guests included Dr. Fred Karthaus (pastor, F.B.C.), Judson Blackstock (assistant pastor, F.B.C.), John Givhan, and Mary Nell Johnson (former member).

Gordon Vickers reported that the fish in the pond were either on strike or on vacation as Fred, Dwight, and he did not hurt the population!

After the meal, the seniors enjoyed a brown-bag-white-elephant gift swap, a kind of “Dirty Santa.” Some lost their choices several times; some got their original gifts back. The loss and gain made for much fun!

Last Sunday at First Baptist, during Sunday-School assembly, Sunny Moody, a home-schooled student, sang in his pleasing bass voice a solo in the distinguished Baraca Class. His piano teacher, Martha Givhan, accompanied him at the Ann Martin Memorial Piano.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist, pointed out the dash between 1929 and 1999, the life dates on his father’s grave. He said that life is lived in that dash. He also commented, “We live in a world where Christianity is despised.”

Sun., May 16, was Mary Clyde Merrill Day at First Baptist, organized to honor the beloved “M.C.” on the 25th anniversary of her being official church pianist.

Miss Mims of Clanton, who came to Andalusia in l951 to teach music in the school system, was married to Jake Merrill in 1953 and went on to have three children, Susan, Fran and Johnny, and to teach piano privately to this day.

Special guests for the big day were Susan, Susan’s daughter Joy and her husband, Jeremy Lewis, and Fran, who were recognized in morning worship.

Don and Dot Lingle got up at five in the morning to drive down for M.C.’s day. M.C. accompanied the adult choir for years, especially while Don was minister of music at F.B.C. for 28 years.

The Lingles are expecting their second grandchild, by the way. They drove on down to Florida for a mini-vacation, following a lunch given in honor of M.C. by the adult choir after the morning-worship service.

During worship M.C. and Jeanice Kirkland, church organist, also celebrating 25 years of service, played a four-hand piece, “My Heart Rings a Melody,” at the grand piano for the prelude.

The ladies later played a piano-organ piece, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” for the offertory. Both pieces were applauded by the congregation.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music, presented M.C. to the congregation, handing her an armful of spring flowers and a gift of money from the choir and Sunday School classes. The congregation rose to its feet and applauded and applauded.

M.C. shed many tears during the day; but, as many smiles and witty comments and laughs. It was a cheerful-tearful day!

The Adult Choir sang “He Keeps Me Singing” as the call to worship, in tribute to M.C.. Jason Tucker, pianist, accompanied. For the anthem the choir sang “Trust His Heart,” M.C.’s favorite.

Dr. Karthaus recognized M.C. with a check from the church.

A receiving line for M.C. and her family formed at the church altar after worship.

Two silver urns flanking the auditorium podium were filled with pink and white stock, delphinium, daisies, mums, strawflowers, and Queen Anne’s lace in a bed or ferns, given in M.C.’s honor by an admirer.

The luncheon after church was attended mainly by choir members, present and past, as well as the Lingles, in Fellowship Hall.

The circular tables, covered in white, were laid with black-and-white placemats, featuring a keyboard, M.C.’s name, and “Celebrating 25 years of great music.”

Centerpieces were vases filled with amaryllis, roses, red carnations, and hydrangeas, from the gardens of Morgan and Wilma Moore. The Moores and Gordon and Trudy Vickers had decorated the room. Gordon had even painted a toy piano as part of the decor.

Following a covered-dish buffet with food to spare, M.C. was presented a silver frame, to be engraved with her name and the event, a scrapbook for the many cards written to her, cash, travel books, and testimonials. For every comical story told about “the Peach of Chilton County,” M.C. with her ready wit had a comeback. Oh, the laughs and, oh, the tears!!

A highlight of the afternoon was an original, three-page poem about M.C.’s life, written by a fellow soprano, Jennifer (Smith) Dansby, ending, “Her symphony of life, never proud, never preachy,/Just proves, once for all, she was Clanton’s best peachy!”

It was as near a perfect day as one could wish!

Today is the birth date of Arthur Conan Doyle, the Scottish creator of the detective, Sherlock Holmes, and writer of The Lost World, which inspired so many of our modern movies about dinosaurs.

Also this past week was the birthday of Alexander Pope, an English poet known for his rhymed couplets, said to be more quoted than any other poet save Shakespeare. Elvis Presley used to sing “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” just one of Pope’s famous lines.

Last Sun., May 16, at 2 p.m. in the Mark Saxon Wise Scout Hut along East Three-Notch Street, Stephen Todd Caton Jr., exemplary Scout, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Todd Caton Sr., received the rare and honorable Eagle Scout Badge, joining the ranks of a select few.

With a dignified and quiet welcome, Josh Atkinson, a member of Troop 46 and sophomore at the Andalusia High School, asked all to stand as Scout Chad Gatlin, eighth-grader, presented the colors and led in the pledge of allegiance.

Dale Sallans, Stephen’s pastor at First Presbyterian Church, worded the invocation.

The amusing and witty Gary Buck, one of Stephen’s Scoutmasters, acted as master of ceremonies for the afternoon, leading first the members of Troop 46 to light the 15 candles symbolizing the principles of scouting.

John Croft, a Scoutmaster, as “the Voice of the Eagle,” read next in his sonorous tone, the accomplishments of a Scout, seeking the highest honor.

Then came testimonials about Stephen’s life by four Scoutmasters, Dr. Mark Gable, Chris Jackson, Jay V. DuBose, and Gary Buck, who spoke in praise of Stephen, adding some good-natured ribbing.

Chris Jackson said, “Nobody works harder than Stephen.”

Jay V. DuBose presented the “Eagle Scout Charge” to Stephen.

All Eagle Scouts present gathered behind Stephen as Dr. Gable worded the Eagle Scout Promise.

Then Stephen himself was pinned with the Eagle Scout medal by his mother and presented a certificate by his father. Stephen, in turn, pinned both his parents.

There were many tears, especially from Stephen’s mother and sister.

Stephen presented three mentor pins, to Gary Buck, to Jay V. DuBose, and to his beloved grandmother, Patricia Caton.

Stephen ended his part on program with his Eagle Scout Address, one filled with gratitude and emotion.

Pastor Sallans worded the benediction.

Chad Gatlin announced the retiring of the colors; and Jackson Thompson, seventh grader, played “Taps.”

The Scout hall was decorated with blooms and leaves of magnolias and Confederate jasmine.

Upcoming dates to remember include the following: baccalaureate for A.H.S., tomorrow afternoon at First Baptist; graduation at A.H.S., May 28; and Jasmine Hill Gardens, now through June 27, weekends only.

The weekend of April 23 Bill and Jeff Moore, brothers, embarked on a trip to the Nashville area. They were off to visit the sites of the battles of Franklin and Murfreesboro, famous in the War Between the States. Their great-great-grandfather, G.F.C. Moore, fought at Franklin Nov. 30, l864, as well as at Murfreesboro, December 4-5, and the Battle of Nashville, December 15-16. Due to inclement weather, they were able to visit only the Franklin site. They were successful, however, in achieving another objective, to attend the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night, April 24.

Bill is the state director of the USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine. He works and lives in Prattville. Jeff is circulation director for our own Andalusia Star-News. This month marks his tenth anniversary in that position. The subject of their journey to Franklin was George Frederick Conrad Moore, who joined the Confederate Army in October of l862 as a member of the 24th Alabama Infantry. In April of l864 he was transferred to the lst Florida Infantry, where his brother, Robert, served. He survived the horrific battle at Franklin and later settled here in Andalusia in December of l88l. It is for him that Moore Road is named. He planted the huge, old oak tree that one can see on the corner of Moore Road and Astor Drive. This oak is the last of a row of oaks that lined the drive to his house.

Fri., April 23 in Nashville, was as close to perfect weather as could be expected. Every flower was in bloom. Anyone who has ever been to the area knows how beautiful Tennessee is during springtime. The brothers started their day at the Carnton House and Plantation in Franklin. This home served as a field hospital for John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army during the battle and for weeks to follow. On the day of the battle there were over 300 men in the house at any given time. There are still blood stains on the floor where the surgeons did their work. Carnton Plantation was owned by John and Carrie McGavock. She assisted the doctors and tended to the wounded, using all of the family’s clothes and linens for bandages. John later established the nation’s largest, private, Confederate cemetery on the plantation grounds, not far from the house.

The actual battle took place at the farm of Fountain Branch Carter, which the Union Army had taken for their headquarters. Carter and 12 of his family members and neighbors rode out the battle in the basement of the home. What he didn’t know was that his youngest son, Tod, was there in the Confederate ranks. Tod was unfortunate enough to have fought in battles all over Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, just to be mortally wounded in his own back yard. He actually died in his family dining room, across the hall from the room in which he had been born 24 years earlier. The rest of the family survived. After the battle the Carter House, just like the Carnton House, was used as a hospital. Carter’s 11-year-old granddaughter was even pressed into service, assisting the surgeons by holding a lantern for those who worked late into the night. She carried that nightmarish memory with her the rest of her long life.

The Carter House tour and walking the grounds were interesting to the brothers. They both found irony in how beautiful and peaceful the grounds were in contrast to how they must have appeared to their ancestor. It was probably the most terrifying five hours of his life. After all, the Battle of Franklin has been called the bloodiest five hours of the War. The tour had taken up most of the day, but the Moores still found time to hike up to the Federal Fort Granger, high above the Harpeth River. Murfreesboro would have to wait!

Then the rains came. Saturday, the boys were forced to stay indoors. This gave them a chance to visit Ernest Tubbs’s Record Shop. There they toured Ernest Tubbs’s tour bus and met a gentleman named Charlie Rogers, a musician from Seale, Alabama, and a good friend of Kitty Wells, one of country music’s first great, female stars. He also had the distinction of being one of only two musicians invited to sing at the farewell performance of Kitty and her husband, Johnny Wright, in 2002. Jeff also spied a plaque that had the names of Ernest Tubbs’s Original Texas Troubadour Band. The first on the plaque was Chester Stoddard, the uncle of Jeff’s wife Beverly. It’s a small world, after all!

Later that evening, the pair attended and enjoyed the Grand Ole Opry. Bill especially enjoyed Loretta Lynn’s performance. Little did the boys know that in only a week a tremendous flood would cover middle Tennessee, swamping the Opry House and the Opryland Hotel, as well as other attractions around Nashville. It was the equivalent of a hundred-year flood in two successive days. The entire area of middle Tennessee, from Memphis to Nashville, was devastated.

Sunday, before going home, the Moore boys revisited Ernest Tubbs’s Record Shop, quickly ducked into a Cowboy Church Service, and took a tour of the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson. Jeff wondered, “With a set-up like this, why would he ever want to go to Washington, D.C.?”

Thank you, Jeff, for the excellent coverage of your trip.

Now, gentle readers, let me encourage each of us to be in his place of worship tomorrow. Fare thee well!