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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw that the sweet autumn clematis was beginning to bloom on the trellis that arches over the entry to my little yard, right at my little, white gate.

Across the way at Covington Hall I could see white lilies a-bloom in Miss Flora’s gardens.

Ruthie Dunn called me from Boston the other day. She and her husband, Joe, were stopping there with Ruthie’s brother and his wife, on their way to Nova Scotia, all on vacation. They’d been walking the Freedom Trail that day, stopping to eat at the Oyster House and at Legal’s Seafood. There is a family here in the capital of Covington County that likes the seafood at Legal’s so much that several times a year they will call in an order to Boston and have some of the food flown here for a meal. That’s living!

Ruthie is known for her delightful personality and her ability to make even the guards at Buckingham Palace break into grins. I had met her and her best friend, Carol McInnis, on a tour of New England. Although the ladies are not really sisters, each calls the other “Sister.” I call them “the Sisters.” Both teach school in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville likes to say, “If you can’t make other people jealous, what’s the use of living?”

Our own Benny Gay, who grew up in Donalsonville, Georgia, told me that he knows the family of Roger Spooner in Iron City near Donalsonville. Benny went to school with the youngest Spooner son. That’s the family that was in the news recently because of a speech, only partially heard and reported by reporters, made at an NAACP banquet in Georgia by Shirley Sherrod, director of rural development in Georgia, a member of the Agriculture Department. Sherrod was fired, unjustly. When her whole speech, a heart-warming confession of a changed heart, was heard, though, those who had condemned her had “to eat crow.” Those apologizing included the NAACP, Bill O’Reilly, and the President. Here is a good reminder that one should not jump to conclusions.

Colonel Covington, speaking at the Andalusia Lyceum last week, mentioned that a trend in worship is to meet in small groups in homes. These worship groups have been called house churches, home churches, organic churches, and simple church. With all the changes in worship styles of late, this trend may prove popular among Christians who find certain changes unacceptable. This meeting in small groups seems to echo the worship style of early Christians.

Seen at Chen’s for the Sunday buffet were Dr. and Mrs. Wayne Johnson and their guest, Araceli “Shelly” Gill, a senior industrial engineer, originally from Mexico, who now works in Troy.

This week saw the anniversary of the birth of George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, the most famous writer of plays since Shakespeare. Shaw’s best-loved play is Pygmalion, later made into the musical, My Fair Lady.

Miss Priscilla Primme, the English teacher, gave me a list recently of the lengths of time that certain items take to biodegrade. Paper takes two – five months; orange peels, six months; cigarette butts, one – l2 years; plastic bags, l0 – 20 years; tin cans, 50 – l00 years; aluminum cans, 80 – l00 years; plastic, six-pack, holder rings, 450 years; glass bottles, one million years; and plastic bottles, forever. Cigarette butts are just, plain ugly. When I see them all over Andalusia, I feel disgust. Now that I know they can last up to a dozen years, I feel sorry for businesses, such as our post office, that have to clean up after those who throw their butts onto the parking lot.

“Miss Betty” Mitchell, bless her heart, has provided me a write-up of her bus, tour group’s trip to Branson, Missouri. The travelers departed “the Dimple of Dixie” June 6.

I shall stand back as “Miss Betty” speaks.

“We had lunch in Pelham at the Cracker Barrel, where we picked up Lana Cucarola, a former Florala girl and a good friend of Doris Hutcheson.

“We arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, around 4:l5 and checked into our hotel, the Hyatt, before going to dinner.

“We arrived at the Four Way Restaurant, the eatery I had read about in a feature article on Memphis in The Taste of the South. The restaurant stayed open just for us; and we were treated to catfish, fried chicken, turkey and dressing, and several side items, sweet-potato yams, being one of their specialty items. Mr. Willie, the owner, came around and dished us out some on our plates. We had peach cobbler for dessert.

“After dessert, Mr. Willie gave us the history of the restaurant, which opened in l946. Such people as Dr. Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley, and B.B. King have dined on the wonderful ‘soul food,’ the best in town.

“Monday we were up and ready to arrive in Branson.

“We had lunch, en route, and arrived in Branson around 3:30. The Barrington Hotel rolled out the red carpet for us, our home for four nights.

“We ‘freshed up’ and departed for dinner at McFarlands. They have tables that rise up while you’re eating. Most people don’t notice till their tables are up to their chins. My husband Zolly, Betty Sheffield, Bobby and Alice Sewell, and I were privileged ones.

“After dinner and some shopping, we went to the Mickey Gilley Show. Mickey fell, helping someone move a sofa for an elderly neighbor back last June, and has been paralyzed; but with a lot of therapy, he can walk some. He can’t play the piano yet, but says he will. He had a wonderful show, which included Joey Riley, a comedian. We had a great time.

“Tuesday morning we went to the Brett Family Show – a very talented family.

“After the show we went downtown to Old Branson where the only 5-and-l0 store is still operating. After lunch and some good ice cream, some shopped and some rode on the ‘ducks.’

“Rex and Shirley Helms and Gordon and Martha Helms were privileged to have lunch with Rex and Gordon’s cousin whose wife operates a tea room in downtown Old Branson.

“After ‘freshing up’ some, we had dinner at the Lawrence Welk Resort Center. Then we were off to the Magnificent Variety Show, a fast-paced, colorful show with singers and dancers, performing to music from the 30’s to the 70’s.

“Wednesday we were up and ready for a very exciting day. Our first show was the Red, Hot, and Blue, another fast-paced, singing and dancing show with music from the 50’s to the 80’s. They had over l50 costume changes.

“Then we were privileged to have lunch with a country star, Barbara Fairchild, at her diner. The food was outstanding. Our bus driver, Jim Hyde, who was great, told us about Barbara and her husband, Roy, who is from Uriah near Monroeville, Alabama. Roy came on the bus and greeted us, and Barbara welcomed us as we entered the diner. After lunch she did a show just for us. Then she had Bobbie Lambert, Dot Simpler, Martha Helms, Joyce Adams, and Red Hallford come on stage and sing old, gospel hymns. This was a high for our trip. Everyone had a great time, and we were made to feel so welcome. Barbara was very popular back in the 60’s and 70’s for the song, ‘Teddy Bear,’ plus many more. After all the excitement some went back to the hotel to rest while others went to Sonya’s and Branson Mall for a little shopping.

“Then for dinner we ate at the largest Golden Corral in the world with entertainment by Allen Edwards. One of the hostesses came and picked out Jimmy Prestwood and Red Hallford, carried them out of the room, and brought them back, dressed in prison suits with ‘Jailbird’ on each one. Then they got to perform ‘Jail House Rock’ with Allen. Jimmy could really ‘get down.’ Mr. Allen told me that if I could go home and find two to top these two, then he wanted me to bring them to Branson.

“Then we were off to Noah, the Musical at the Sight and Sound Theatre. There is only one other theatre like this – in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“Thursday we were off to see the Twelve Irish Tenors. They were great, performing all types of music and, ‘easy on the eyes.’

“After the show we went to the Branson Landing for lunch and shopping time. Zolly, Jean Carr, Judy Burchfield, and I ate at the Irish Pub where we had some delicious Irish stew. Several found some great shopping deals.

“Then we were off to the Branson Bell, located on Table Rock Lake, where we had dinner and saw two great performances.

“Then, to wind down our time in Branson, we were entertained with some great comedy and music at the first theatre, the Baldknobbers.

“Friday morning we were up and heading toward home with a stop at Ferguson’s in St. Joe, Arkansas, home of some great cinnamon rolls. Then it was on to Memphis, where some went to Graceland, Elvis’s home and grave. This August Elvis will have been deceased 33 years.

“Saturday morning we stopped and toured Elvis’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. They have done so much since I was there in l992. They have made a park, which includes the home, chapel, car, museum, church, fountain, and a great gift shop. Next year they are adding a theatre. This is a great place to visit.

“Then we had lunch and headed on home with a stop at Durbin Farms in Clanton for peaches and ice cream.

“Arriving back in Andalusia and Opp safely, everyone said, ‘It was a great trip.’”

Thank you, “Miss Betty,” for a good report.

Below is a list of those who went to Branson: Joyce Adams, Wade Adams, Ed Bennett, Patsy Bennett, Judy Burchfield, Bea Kelley, Donald Kelley, Dorothy Waldrop, Faye Carroll from Bonifay, Betty Hall from Freeport, Faye Meeks, Virgania Merritt, Eloise Roberts, James Simmons, Joy Simmons, Barbara Cantaline, Jean Carr, Joyce Eller, Thelma Glisson, Joyce Grimes, Thermon Grimes, Jackie Hallford, Red Hallford, Linda Hammett, Rex Helms, Shirley Helms, Gordon Helms, Martha Helms, Bill Helms, Doris Hutcheson, Betty Knowles, Bobbie Lambert, Byram Lambert, Gladys Norris, Crystell Prestwood, Jimmy Prestwood, Frances Ptomey, Jo Ray, Jettie Shell, Betty Sheffield, Dot Simpler, Fred Simpler, Barbara Teel, Alice Sewell and Bobby Sewell of Montgomery, Lana Cucarola of Guntersville, and Zolly and Betty Mitchell.

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