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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Miss Cora Covington, coming up my walk with a basket of freshly picked pears. She stayed long enough for me to make a pear cobbler; then, we sat down and ate some while we talked over the news. (Somebody told me that news is an acronym, made from the initial letters of north, east, west, and south; but those who are smarter than I say it’s not true.)

Miss Cora and I spoke of sweet autumn clematis, the visiting hummingbirds, zinnias, verbena, bitterweed, lantana, petunias, the harvest of grapes, the heat and phlox.

Seen at Tabby D.’s for the lunch buffet were Wynne Straughn, her daughter Jana Short, and Jana’s precious, little daughter, Kinsley Short, just l9 months old. The occasion was Jana’s birthday.

Also seen at Tabby D.’s were Gertrude Nelson, Gail Weaver and Mr. and Mrs. Wade Rogers.

Walker’s has prettied up its entrance with two jardinieres of pink mandevilla.

Seen at Country Folks in Florala Tuesday night for the shrimp buffet were four generations of Thomassons – Esker and Ann, their daughter Kathy Futrell, visiting from Midland, Texas; Kathy’s daughter, Ashlee Hill; and Ashlee’s beautiful baby, Lillee Hill. All were beautiful – except for Esker. He was just handsome.

Also seen at Country Folks that night were Bill Martin, Charles Jeffcoat, James and Eula Davis and Robert Lee Holley.

I ran into Sueanna Howard this week, and we had a good time, catching up on family and friends.

Clydie Clump tells me that, while he was getting his hair cut by Randy Cornelius, he had a long talk with another customer, Don Carter. Don had read what I had to say about Curtis Thomasson last week and approved, adding that he and Curtis had begun school together at Carolina. Both are now 70.

Randy’s barbershop seems to be a center for hunters and hunting talk. Several men dropped by while Clydie was “getting his ears lowered” to examine bows and praise bow hunting.

Miss Marion “Bumpy” Bumpers, a retired teacher, now living in her hometown of Grove Hill, called me this week to talk over a mini reunion she had recently with former colleagues in education. We also spoke of Christy (Thomasson) Clanton, who teaches in Grove Hill and is expecting her second child, a boy. Our own Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, another retired teacher, used to work with “Bumpy” and is a great admirer of this widely respected educator.

Colonel Covington said the following in his latest speech at the Andalusia Lyceum:

“When I grew up, the American ‘norm’ was that ‘the majority rules.’ Now, thanks to lawsuits, federal judges and ‘spoiler organizations,’ almost every minority of any sort rules. The majority has been cowed by the minority through legal fear-mongering – amazing! The majority seems too stupid to defend itself, though it’s bigger. It is as though a bratty kid brother has kicked his older, football-toughened brother in the shin, laughed about it, and feels safe, hiding behind the coattails of his federal momma.”

The Colonel went on to say, “One rotten reality in the USA now is that one, unelected, federal judge can negate the will of the people, over-ruling the people’s laws and removing the people’s elected officials.”

Four persons represented Andalusia at the funeral of “Jake” Boatwright Fri., Aug 20, at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla., – Lucy Martin, Gordon and Trudy Vickers and Irene (Davis) Butler.

Jesse Tolbert Boatwright, 88, died Sat., Aug. l4. Formerly a citizen of Andalusia, “Jake” and Nell had moved to Birmingham for assistance.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Nell; two sons, Bud and Doug; two daughters, Vickie Boatwright and Suzette Jannett; eight grandchildren, Kyle, Todd, Richard Jannett, Wes, Mary Jannett, Margaret Jannett, Maggie Smith and Amy Rodriquez; and six great-grandchildren, Gavin, Spencer, Lexi, Caleb, Austin and Avery.

“Jake” served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Enterprise during World War II and until he retired in April 1960. He then became an agent with Liberty National Life Insurance Company, retiring from New York Life Insurance in 1981.

He was a faithful member of the Baraca Class, First Baptist Church.

He was a long-time Mason of Lodge # 434, a kind and loving man.

“Jake” was born November l3, l92l.

A friend of the family tells me that her last memory of Jake and Nell is their handing out Christmas cash to employees of a local grocery.

Flowers, decorating First Baptist last Sunday, were placed in memory of Michael Couch by his Uncle Alan and Aunt Janice.

The Adult Choir of First Baptist motored to Brewton last Sunday evening to present a dozen anthems in concert for the First Baptist Church there. Dwight Crigger, minister of music at F.B.C., Andalusia, directed. Jason Tucker and Jeanice Kirkland accompanied. At the end of the much-appreciated concert, all joined to sing “When We All Get to Heaven,” as Jason Tucker tickled the ivories.

The Andalusia High School “Bulldog” football team were guests of First Baptist last Sunday. Cheerleaders and coaches also attended. A luncheon in Fellowship Hall was provided the guests, following the morning sermon by Dr. Fred Karthaus. Bibles were given by the church to all the students present.

I wonder where the President will vacation this week.

On Aug. 23, Sally Patton-Hall was the guest author/illustrator at Luverne Library’s monthly reading program, headed up by Kathryn Tomlin. There was a touch of magic in the air as the children filed in to be read Sally’s first published story, “The Cat Who Could Tell Time.” Some 45 children crowded in to listen.

Appropriately enough, another listener was the library director’s 13-year-old cat, Samson, who settled under Sally’s chair and drew pats from the crowd.

One little girl liked the bling-bling of Sally’s watch so much that Sally took it off and handed it to the child.

Said Sally, “The magic was they got the underlying message. They interacted. You could see it happening on their faces! What a joy! I’m constantly reminded children can multi-task and still take the meat of the message in.”

Following Sally’s reading, the children made cute cat-hats and decorated cat-faced cookies.

Sally said, “I was impressed with Kathryn Tomlin and her abilities. Luverne is fortunate to have such a successful reading program.”

Patton-Hall plans to release her third children’s book (another cat story) soon. All her books are based on the simple lessons of life.

I asked Gwen Bonner recently to share some of her memories with me. They follow.

“For those of us who were born and reared in Andalusia, there are many memories of early childhood school days at East Three Notch and teenage entertainment where we could find it.

“One memorable occasion for us in second grade at East Three Notch was as follows: We had a wonderful teacher named Miss Margaret Copland, whom we all loved and adored. In the middle of the school year she came in one day and told us she was getting married to a man named James Prestwood and that she could no longer be our teacher. What?!! It seems back then the city system would not allow teachers to be married. Needless to say, we did not like this Mr. Prestwood for stealing our teacher away!

“Later, a favorite ‘hangout’ was the old, original Idle House, located then on Sanford Road. We sat out in our cars, ordering hamburgers and malts that were brought to our car windows on an attachable tray (early Sonic style). There was a jukebox out in back (in a small house) where we put a nickel in the slot and played our favorite tunes.

“Another exciting thing to do was to go down to Open Pond and climb the high tower. We even did this at night! Don’t know if the tower is still in existence. Our parents knew nothing of some of these escapades! Oh, well….”

Thank you, Gwen. Anyone who has special memories is welcome to take them in writing to the newspaper office and leave them for me to use in this column.

I was rather shocked by the front-page story in the August 19 issue of The Alabama Baptist. If I read correctly, some of the wireless-microphone sets used in church services became illegal June 12. The Federal Communications Commission ordered this. As I understand, certain frequencies between 698 and 806 megahertz are now reserved for emergencies and other uses. It seems the wireless microphone in the 700 MHz band could interfere with an emergency broadcast.

The fines for not complying are imprisonment or more than $100,000, which will apply to ministers of the church, rather than congregations.

Birthdays celebrated this past week included that of Edgar Lee Masters, an American attorney known for his book of poetry, Spoon River Anthology, in which each poem is a brief biography by someone buried in the Spoon River cemetery.

Today is the birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who is to Germany what Shakespeare is to England – its greatest poet, and Count Tolstoy, the Russian who wrote War and Peace, which some consider the greatest novel in the world.

Goethe’s masterpiece is Faust, a two-part poem about a man who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for the glories of life. This poem was later made into an opera of the same name by Charles Gounod, a Frenchman. By the way, I think Faust, the opera, is to be presented at Samford University later this year, Lord willing. I saw a production of the opera at Troy University years ago; it was a grand thing!

Tomorrow is the birthday of Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of those famous New-England poets, along with Longfellow, Whittier and Russell. Holmes, a doctor, taught at Harvard and wrote essays as well as poetry. It was his sentimental poem, “Old Ironsides” that saved the USS Constitution, which still floats upon the Charles River at Boston and Cambridge. Dr. Holmes’s son of the same name became famous on the Supreme Court. I have stood in the snow at Dr. Holmes’s grave in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, and thought of his wonderful life. I’m always moved by his poem, “The Last Leaf.”

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