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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted the narrow-leafed sunflowers all along the roadside, mixed with other yellow wildflowers I do not know, and crowns of goldenrod. Hasn’t the weather been idyllic – mild, sunny, pleasant days, cool morns and nights, and, as Helen Hunt Jackson wrote in her “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” “late aftermaths a-growing?”

The Covingtons invited me to a boiled-peanut “social” this week. We sat about on bales of hay and ate boiled green peanuts to the heart’s content.

Sarah Palin talks faster than I can listen. She’s like a music director who leads faster than I can sing or a pianist who plays faster than I can follow. I’m still in the first “paragraph” while she’s at the last measure. I had a piano teacher like that. She played for First Baptist, Montgomery. If the director didn’t lead a piece as fast as she liked, she’d run away with her fingers and force the choir to follow, director as well.

Seen at C. J.’s Grille for dinner (the evening meal) October 13 were Brian and Anna (Bohn) Ward, celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary. Their Hayden (8) and Tucker (4) were “farmed out” so the parents could spend some quiet time on the special occasion.

Also seen at C.J.’s were Larry and Vicki Popwell, Mary Evers, Robert Evers, Laura (Popwell) Wells, and her little Grover Jay Wells, the apple of his grandparents’ and great-grandmother’s eyes!

Don Cotton, the independent candidate for our House District 92, called me since my last column and asked me to make sure, gentle reader, that you understand that when I wrote “he favors increasing the tax base” that he meant he favors expanding, not increasing, the tax base by providing more jobs WITHOUT increasing taxes. Don also asked me to make clear that his suggestion to charge toll for certain new highways refers only to new super highways, and only if absolutely needed in order to have new super highways. I am glad of the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding.

Miss Priscilla Primme tells me that Barbara Billingsley died at 94 last Saturday. Miss Billingsley, an actress, played June Cleaver in the 1950s “sit-com,” Leave It to Beaver. My generation grew up with the Cleavers and were all the better for it. I think the younger generations would be better off, growing up with the Cleavers, too.

Last week’s mystery person is Michele Gerlach, editor and publisher of The Star-News, identified by Caroline (Cumbie) Picking. This week’s mystery person is feisty, short with snowy hair, worked for an insurance company, spent her 60th birthday in Switzerland, has broken an array of bones, once rode a bull, called her boss “an old goat,” says she hasn’t missed much and added, “I don’t date.”

Irene (Davis) Butler entertained in her country home October 18 on the occasion of Myrtle (Brooks) Boyette’s 93rd birthday. Mrs. Boyette, known as “Aunt Mutt” to her inner circle, is a first cousin to Mrs. Butler’s late husband, the gentle and soft-spoken Ray Butler, and was Mrs. Butler’s guest of honor.

Also attending lunch was another 93-year-old, Margaret Eiland. The remaining guests included Edwin and Margaret Patterson, Robert Lee Holley, Joe Wingard and Sharon (Taylor) Bush, who is caregiver for “Aunt Mutt.”

Mrs. Butler’s house sat in a shawl of golden, October sunshine, against a background of cotton fields and a pecan orchard, skirted with roses, periwinkles, bachelor buttons, petunias, sunflowers, and zinnias. I thought again of Mrs. Jackson’s poem, “October’s Bright Blue Weather.”

Mrs. Butler’s menu included barbecued pork ribs, chicken and dressing, cranberry sauce, ham, creamed corn, butter beans, field peas, Watergate salad, meatloaf (Ann Chapman’s recipe), tea, rice and pork, pineapple-cheese casserole and biscuits, made by Holley.

The birthday cake was Italian cream, prepared by Miss Irene.

Mrs. Eiland amused all when she spoke of the time that she and her son John were accidentally locked in the new jail in Dothan. John had been in charge of its construction. I believe he was also in charge of the construction of the new jail in Covington County.

I became interested in Sharon Bush’s connection to Dr. Kenneth “Ken” Wayne Bush, pastor of First Baptist in Eufaula for several decades now and my best friend from college days at Samford in Birmingham. Sharon went to school with Ken at Sanford (only one letter away) near Andalusia, grades 1 – 8. Sharon’s husband, Harry Bush, was Ken’s first cousin. Their fathers were brothers. Ken’s dad was Pete Bush, a painter; Harry’s was A.J. or Arthur Bush.

Sharon added that her mother, Ila Short, was a first cousin to the late Waco Taylor, who with his wife Nina spent a lifetime beautifying “the Dimple of Dixie,” and was also a first cousin to the late Charles short, whose son is Ed, in charge of the Covington Electric Co-op, and whose grandson is Ed’s son Lex, the notable and popular judge. Another of Ila’s first cousins is Charlotte Hawkins, president of the Pilot Club.

Notable birthdays since last Saturday are those of the following: Christopher Wren, the English architect, buried in his masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the English poet who wrote “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; and Franz Liszt, the Hungarian composer/pianist whose piece, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, may be the most brilliant piece of instrumental music in history.

Wren said that if anyone wished to see his tomb, that person might simply look about him; Wren was buried in St. Paul’s. He considered the whole cathedral his tomb.

Coleridge’s “Rime…” contains the famous quotation, “Water, water, everywhere/ And all the boards did shrink./ Water, water, everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.”

Over at the Andalusia High School for homecoming I noted some changes and improvements. A math-science wing (circa 200l) has replaced the Old Gym. A new library, a volleyball court, and a new suite for counselors are in this new wing as well as many classrooms. Much better use has been made of the space by removing the Old Gym, though there are sentimental regrets. The old library was in Old Main (the main building built in 1939 – 1940), upstairs, facing the front campus (now a classroom). The counselors’ suite was located in the Old Gym, which doubled as an auditorium. The new band building is dedicated to the late Jim Nettles, long-time band director. The Annex was demolished last year. A new art-agriculture building has replaced the old buildings used for that purpose. A Heritage Room, created and supplied by Joseph Cecil Wingard and financed by the Class of 1948, exists in Room 1 of Old Main. All over the walls of Old Main are reproductions of famous art, so that students may be exposed to famous works and artists by simply passing them day after day.

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