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

Published 1:57 am Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw in the gloaming my first lightning bug of the year. I stepped out onto the porch to look for more and noted then the mimosa with its delicate, light, dainty blooms, each one like a little ballerina. I took in the intoxicatingly sweet scent that filled the night. The perfume of the mimosa reminded me of childhood when I collected lightning bugs in canning jars to use as lanterns.

Congratulations and thanks to the volunteers, known as the “Covington Crusaders,” who raised money to find a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) through donations and a walk in Mobile last Saturday to honor friends and family, suffering from the disease. A total of $5,870 was raised, the largest amount from any team participating.

The Covington Crusaders included Steven and Jill Prevett and their children, Peyton and Lane; Jeremy and Nancy Wilson and their son Jack from Niceville, Fla.; Jimmy and Patricia Blanton (parents of Jill and Nancy); Wayne and Nikki Bodie from DeFuniak Springs; and Kenny and Tira Shiver and their daughter, Sarah Kate.

Lauren Powell, a “sweet-girl graduate” from Andalusia High School, was honored Sunday afternoon, May 16, with a “Chillin’ and Grillin’” senior party, hosted by Kelley Faulkner, Lisa Locklier, Darlene Hogg, Suzanne Boyington, and Dawn Thompson at the Faulkner Farm in the Straughn Community. Jim Locklier was the grillin’ chef who prepared hamburgers and hotdogs that were enjoyed with all the picnic-style side dishes. The seniors dined on the expansive, barn porch, finishing with brownies and Dairy Queen ice cream. Allison Vuyovich, Allyn Powell (Lauren’s sister), and Anna Locklier helped with games – egg toss, “forbidden fruit” and, a new game, “yarn and key.”

Youth Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, May 16, honored graduating seniors, Evan Brooks, Lauren Powell and Tally Morrow. The day for the seniors began with a tea, sponsored by the Presbyterian Women prior to morning worship. Joined by their parents, the seniors were greeted by members of the congregation. Judy Scott and Gayle Mitchell oversaw the tea table.

At the beginning of morning worship, Barbara McCommons, representing the Presbyterian Women, presented the three seniors with Bibles and made remarks about having taught them in Sunday School. (The practice of presenting Bibles to graduating seniors is a local church tradition of more than 60 years.)

The morning service was prepared and led by the youth, thus Youth Sunday, which is traditionally conducted the Sunday prior to high-school graduation. Responsibilities included music, ushering, and lay reading, duties performed by Ava May, David May, John David Thompson, Jackson Thompson, Bradley Browder, Sam Fairley, Savannah Ricks, Maggie Jones, Stephen Caton, Hope Caton, Abbie Young and Allyn Powell.

Allyn, this year’s valedictorian at A.H.S., was selected to present the morning message, “Under Construction.”

At the conclusion of the service Pastor Dale Sallans presented the youth to be confirmed and welcomed them into the full membership of the Church. These included Sam Fairley, Abbie Young, Hope Caton and David May.

Wednesday, a week ago, May 19, the fourth annual Presbyterian “Senior Roast” was attended in F.P.C. by some 80 “well-wishers.”

A barbecue dinner, organized by Kelley Faulkner and Lisa Locklier, preceded the “roast,” which made public the embarrassing moments of A.H.S. seniors, Tally Morrow, Lauren Powell and Evan Brooks.

Ronda Ricks supervised the youth in decorating, which included poster-sized caricatures of each senior by Savannah Ricks.

The theme of the “roast” was a “trial,” presided over by “Judge Seymour Justice” (Roger Powell, father of Lauren) and his bailiff, “Rocky Rhodes” (Ralph Ricks).

After the entire crowd was “sworn in,” the “defendant” seniors were called to the stand, one at a time, to be confronted with their misdeeds. Testimony, greatly exaggerated, was heard from a number of surprise witnesses (a surprise to the defendants as well as to the witnesses) from the audience.

Much fun and frivolity were had at the expense of “the three.”

A highlight of the evening was a video presentation, prepared by Cathy Powell, featuring each senior’s life.

At the conclusion of the “trial” judgment was passed; and Ralph Ricks presented each senior with a sealed, carved, wooden box. In a sentimental and emotional moment, he stated that each box had been in the sanctuary for the past year, open, and in an area near the pulpit. The boxes, to take to college, contained the air of all those who had prayed, led in worship and preached, as well as all the music that had been sung. Each also contained a drop of wax from the Advent candles, a flower from the Easter cross, and a flower from the Youth Sunday arrangement, symbols for the youth to know that their church family were always with them. Thus, a new tradition was born.

John and Amy (Pitts) Dugger hosted at their home Tues., May 4, the A.H.S. graduating seniors who attend First Baptist Church.

Each senior was allowed to invite his parents and seven classmates; so there was quite a turnout, with most of the senior class attending.

The honored seniors were given gifts and prayer.

Friday, May 14, John Tillman, a senior at A.H.S., and Emily Clem, a senior at Straughn High School, were honored with a pool luau, given by Bill Tillman, Wesley Laird, Bill Spurlin and David Williams. It was a splash!

Senior Will Hart was honored May 15 with a party at the Harpers’ lake house. Tubing and knee boarding led the fun activities.

Fri., May 21, A.H.S. seniors assembled for Awards Day. Lauren Powell received the first Kathy Nall Memorial Scholarship. Marcus Ingram received the first Chris Holley Memorial Scholarship.

Seniors congregated at First Baptist to practice for baccalaureate after the awards program ended.

Following practice, the seniors attended Kaitlin Holley’s graduation party at the Country Club pool. Lynne McCord, Tammy Holley and Lisa McNeill sponsored the party, which included swimming, pool volleyball and water guns. Chicken tenders, fruit and brownies were served.

Haley Dorman was treated to a luau party by her grandparents, Earl and Genia Dorman. A DJ played music popular with the seniors. Dancing, swimming and hula-hoop competitions abounded. Tally Morrow won the hula hooping. Aaron Norris won the hula-dance contest with his grass skirt and coconut brassiere. Evan Brooks, class president, proved to be a sore loser; so it was said. He denies all.

After baccalaureate exercises for the A.H.S. seniors last Sunday, the seniors went swimming at another graduation party honoring Will Hart. Barbecue was on the menu.

Demetrius Reed, Teneshia Reed and Morgan Leslie, all A.H.S. seniors, threw a party together at the Shaw Recreation Center. Music, dancing and laughter filled the large room.

Miss Prissy Primme, the English teacher, commented the other day, “With the oil situation in the Gulf of Mexico, I bet the environmentalists are crying, ‘I told you so! I told you so!’”

The Children’s Bible Drill at First Baptist was attended Wed., April 7, during prayer meeting. Participants were Jeremy Boyd, Garrett Davis and Marie Josey. Each scored high enough to advance to the associational drill April 18. Garrett, because of his youthful age, has to wait for advanced drills; but Jeremy and Marie passed the associational drill and qualified for the district/state drill April 22 in Evergreen. Marie was unable to attend, but Jeremy went on to become a state winner.

Sponsor of the local team is Mrs. James Mitchell, nee Joan Hill.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville tells me that the famous Hotel Talisi, devastated by fire last Nov. 30, is to be restored as a centerpiece for downtown Tallassee, Lord willing. Many all over Alabama have enjoyed dining at this popular spot.

Jo Driggers and her cousin, Willie (Mrs. Hugh Wingard), have returned from a weekend in Tryon, N.C., at a cousin’s mountain cabin.

On my way home from Montgomery, I dined in Greenville at the Cracker Barrel. I was joined by Mrs. Gotrocks. Harold Collins of Mobile stopped by our table. Mr. Collins, principal for 18 years at Goshen and a former superintendent of Pike County, was on his way to a class reunion.

As I passed through Georgiana, I noted that the new sidewalk, leading to the new Butler County Magnet School, is completed.

In Montgomery last week I found that the intersection of I-65 and I-85 is still far from complete.

I had a letter (you young folks can ask grandma what that is) this week from my cousin, Lesa (Merrell) Wiggins. She and Mark still live in Cordova, next to Memphis. Lesa said they are “just getting older.”

Their daughter, Whitney, and her Ben, only 10 minutes away, are anticipating the arrival of Mary Collins Tolbert on August 1. Mary Collins is the maiden name of Lesa’s mother, who is now living in Birmingham near Lesa’s sister, Kathy, and her husband Buck. Lesa and Kathy’s sister Connie and her daughter Vanessa are making a home in Cordova.

As for Mark and Lesa’s daughter Lindsay and her Chris, they are planning on a second child come October. Their “little Texan, Cohen,” is going on 2 (in November).

The pupils of Martha Givhan performed in two piano recitals the afternoon of May 22 (4:30 and 5:45) in the chapel of First Baptist.

Mrs. Givhan played five duets with pupils.

Performing in the first recital were Riley Grace Lowery, Stephen Caton (recently made an Eagle Scout), Hope Caton (Stephen’s sister), Ali Brown, Katherine Finley, C. J. Capps, Katie Lambert, Bronwyn Smith, Megan Kelley, Emory Garner, Susie Watson, Michael Kelley, Sunny Moody (Mrs. Givhan’s first pupil) and John David Thompson.

Unable to participate was Anna Bay McCord, listed to play the “Sabre Dance.”

Sunny Moody played “Umbra” (Latin for “shadow”), a piece that he composed himself. Moody played like a symphony with rapid, dramatic, and innovative talent.

John David Thompson was brilliant in his performance. He has the talent to be a professional performer.

Performing again in the second recital were Michael Kelley (whose “Georgia on My Mind” was a crowd-pleaser), John David Thompson, and Sunny Moody.

New faces in the second recital were Abigayle Mancil, Hannah Lawless (who performed one number, “Skip to My Lou,” with her mother, Deidra Burleson), Ellis Mount, Mary Faith Mitchell, Laura Gatlin (whose Brahms’s “Lullaby” brought tears to many eyes), Laura Lea Blatz, Loni Blatz, Charlie Brock, Caroline Andrews, Anna Beth Bowden, Hayden Willis, Jonathan Bryant (who played by heart), Lauren Hutcheson and Sung Mo.

Charlie Brock, I learned, played Dill this year in the Monroeville production of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Katherine Finley presented “Miss Martha” with flowers to wear on her dress.

Mrs. Givhan’s family, John (husband), John (son), John (grandson), and Endsley (daughter) presented an arm bouquet of spring flowers at the end of the second recital.

Also decorating the chapel were a spring arrangement at the entrance table, a spring bouquet behind the Ann Martin Memorial Piano used by the pupils, and a spring bouquet in an old-fashioned, white, wicker basket, a well-wish from a friend.

Greg Caton flew to Las Vegas recently. While there he attended the Miss Universe Pageant, sitting only seats away from the parents of the runner-up.

Colonel Covington said at the Andalusia Lyceum last week that he defines political correctness as “avoiding any word or action that comes within a thousand miles of hurting someone’s feelings.” Poor, ol’ King George III!

The Colonel also said, “A nation that loses its belief in God loses the touchstone of its character; and the nation that loses its character loses everything.”

Clay Clyde Clump tells me that oysters will soon be called “oilsters.”

Jason Thomasson of Texas, a son of Roddy Thomasson, has been in “the Dimple of Dixie” to visit his paternal grandparents, Esker and Ann. Among his treats was a trip to Country Folks in Florala for the Tuesday buffet.

Gentle reader, have you ever turned off the main road, heading south to Florala, and motored through little Lockhart? There are some lovely homes and a surprising number of grand, old live oaks to be seen.

Seen at the hospital cafeteria last Sunday for lunch were Dr. Beverly McAnulty, Benny (the Donalsonville boy) and Betty (with her bubblish personality) Gay, Danny and Kathy (Chesser) Gantt, Gillis (the “Combman”) and Laura Ann Jones, A.G. and Pat (“Miss Murals”) Palmore, John and Nancy Smith and their son Parker and their daughter Karen with her husband Tim Jones and their son Price, Herb (the “Barbecue King”) and Sue Carlisle, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Rayford and Carolyn Davis and Jack and Marcia Reichert.

Arthur Johnson, after 32 years, is retiring as custodian for First Baptist. Congratulations!

Thanks go out to Gordon and Trudy Vickers for his eighth year as director of senior adults at First Baptist. Here’s an instance of where the congregation got “two for the price of one.”

Miss Purdie Birdie reminds me that Jasmine Hill Gardens, between Montgomery and Wetumpka, is still open through June 27, but only on the weekends. Miss Cora, Miss Dora, and Miss Flora are planning to go for the day and take a picnic lunch.

Anniversaries to remember this week include the following: South Carolina became our eighth state in l788; Queen Victoria of England was born in l8l9, the same year that Alabama became a state (it was said during her reign that “The sun never sets on the British Empire”); Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet, was born (he penned “the shot heard ‘round the world”); Thomas Moore, an Irish poet, was born; Patrick Henry, an American patriot who said, “As for me, give me liberty or give me death!” was born; and Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an English poet, was born.

Mr. Moore wrote several poems, which became famous as songs, “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” “The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls” (the same Tara that lent its name to the home of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind), and “The Last Rose of Summer.”

The poem, “Believe Me…,” includes these words, “The heart that has truly loved never forgets but as truly loves on to the close.” I can hardly hear that poem, spoken or sung, without dissolving in tears. That song provides one of life’s most precious moments.

Speaking of precious moments, I attended the funeral May 25 at Foreman’s Chapel for Greg McCord, who died May 22. The closed casket was covered with an American flag. Greg, a local journalist, was in the A.H.S. Class of 1974, the largest in Andalusia history.

John Schmidt of Prattville, the minister to Greg’s daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Chris Amos, presided.

He spoke to an audience of standing room only, reading scripture, sharing biographical facts and prayers.

Greg’s son Jay told of his dad’s being a soldier, spoke of the happy times they fished together, and how memories of his dad would help him through the snags of life in the future. He called Greg, “my guide, my dad.” He also shared some humorous moments about Greg’s baldness and his tendency to explain in great detail.

“You’d ask for the time,” Jay said, “and he’d tell you how to make a watch. He knew a little bit about everything.”

Greg’s younger daughter, Anna Bay, soon to be a senior at the Andalusia High School, told amid tears how her dad loved journalism and writing. She spoke of his height and lanky frame, and of his stubbornness, and ended with a poem she’d written about her dad, calling him “the hero of my life.”

Clara Bass, accompanied on the guitar by her dad, Tripp, sang “Danny Boy.”

Following prayer and a short sermon by Schmidt, Tripp Bass played “Amazing Grace” on his harmonica.

At the Henderson Cemetery above Harmony Baptist the family and friends re-assembled for burial. Schmidt read scripture and prayed, leading those present in reciting in unison “Psalm 23” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Two soldiers folded the American flag from the casket and presented it to Greg’s mother, Phyllis McCord, as a third soldier played “Taps.”

At First Baptist last Sunday eight A.H.S. seniors were honored – Mitchell Clark, Tyler Dooley, Haley Dorman, Kaitlin Holley, Marcus Ingram, Nate Mack, Travis Mack and Melissa Riley.

The Irene Hines Handbell Choir played “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as the seniors marched in their robes to a place of honor, the congregation, standing.

Michael Rodriquez, minister to youth, recognized each, who received a gift from the church.

Sonia Crigger, choral director for the city schools, sang “Find Your Wings” to the seniors. During her song slides of each senior, childhood – up, were shown on the “big screen.”

The handbells rang “The Unclouded Day” for the seniors to exit at the end of the service.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor, preached on “How to Graduate” and offered prayer for the graduates.

The Adult Choir sang “My Life Is in Your Hands.”

Flowers from Martha Givhan’s piano recital decorated the altar. Mrs. Givhan played as organist; Jason Tucker, as pianist.

A traditional luncheon was given to the seniors and their families in the Fellowship Hall, following morning worship.

Sponsors were the 30-Something Class, Farrington Class, Harry/Seale Class, High-School and Middle-School Teachers, Jewell Curry Class, Griffin Class, Beverly Moore Class, Searcy Class, Stroud Class, and Avery Class.

The menu included chicken tenders, vegetables, salads, bread and desserts (Jerri Stroud’s caramel-coconut pie) on a buffet.

Each senior was given a gold dollar by the Avery Class.

Michael Rodriguez prayed the blessing.

Round tables were spread with white cloths and stainless-steel utensils.

Centerpieces, prepared by Jerri Stroud, were bouquets of white roses (class flower), one red carnation (for the senior), baby’s breath, white lilies of Peru and asparagus fern.

Helping were Larry and Mary Avery, Sandra Davis, Judy Armstrong, Jean Jones, Ann Mallory, Gloria Collier, Eric and Jennie Searcy, Steve Dendy, John Collier, Jeanne Bozeman and Jerri Stroud.

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