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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted the grey sky so associated with November and thought of William Cullen Bryant’s famous line from “The Death of the Flowers,” “The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year.” Bryant’s birthday, by the by, was November 3.

Bob Albritton, once a local attorney and gentleman, liked to quote Bryant’s line this time of the year as he walked out, wearing his cane. Mr. Albritton said that one “wears” a cane; he does not carry a cane. That’s class.

Seen at Tabby D.’s were Mr. and Mrs. James Jones, Mr. and Mrs. James Davis and the former Bass sisters, Sally and Julie.

Seen at the Huddle House were Brian and Jennifer Earnest and their two sons, Hunter and Taylor, as well as Randy Wahl and his son Todd.

I asked Jack Perry to tell me a bit more about Perry’s Restaurant, which closed in September with the illness and then death of Agnes (Goodson) Perry.

Perry’s was a popular restaurant, especially for Friday and Saturday seafood buffets and a Sunday buffet of country cooking.

Jack said that his brother, W. L. “Buddy” Perry, Agnes’s husband, began Perry’s. Buddy and Agnes ran it until they sold it to their younger son, Travis. While Travis ran Perry’s, he opened a branch by the same name in Enterprise. Travis was in a band; and when his interest in music outweighed his interest in the restaurant, he closed Perry’s in Enterprise and sold the one at Perry’s Store Community (Kinston area) back to Agnes, who ran it till her death.

Travis, today, is still in a band and has invented the “Chord Buddy,” a device that fits onto a guitar and simplifies learning to play a guitar.

There is a fine obituary about Agnes Perry in the October 26 issue of The Star-News.

Miss Dora Covington got me to watch Oprah last week. The 45th anniversary of The Sound of Music was featured. Guests included Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and all seven of the “children” from the movie. Also, actual Von Trapp descendants sang. The show glowed with sentiment and happy memories. People wept throughout the hour. It was one of the nicest programs ever aired on television.

Seen at Tabby D.’s were Elmer and Myrtis Davis, Randy Wahl and his son Todd, Judge “Trippy” McGuire, Bill and Frances Rabren and their handsome grandson Campbell, and Larry DeFilippi.

If Andalusia ever changed its name, it might be called Activityville or Sportsopolis.

Congratulations to Lucy Martin, who identified last week’s mystery person – Mary “The Belle of Excel” Hill.

This week’s mystery person is respected and admired, dependable to the nth degree, shapely, professional, trim, attractive, likes to laugh but means business, sets a Christian example and is a devoted mother and grandmother.

Miss Cora Covington asked me to remind you, gentle reader, that the Oleander Club’s annual tasting fair is set for November 21, noon – 2:30 at the Adult Activity Center. Miss Cora thinks it’s one of the best meals of the year. I do, too.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville showed me an article in The Montgomery Advertiser about her hometown’s big day last week, part of Alabama’s “Year of Small Towns and Downtowns.” (Ours is coming up.) I found out that Greenville, “the Camellia City,” adopted that soubriquet in 1938 and worked to get the camellia named Alabama’s state flower in 1959. Our native goldenrod was put on the back burner. Poor goldenrod! Shoved aside! It still riles Miss Flora Covington and me. Camellia City, indeed!

I ran into Mike Tyler the other day, and he entertained me with many an animated tale. What a character!

A. G. Palmore and I had an interesting conversation recently.

Young Coleman Thompson professed his faith in Christ, publicly, last Sunday at First Baptist, Andalusia. His parents, Casey and Kim (Kennedy), and Coleman’s siblings, Stinson, Kennedy and Everett, stood at the altar in a receiving line with Coleman after morning worship to receive words of encouragement from fellow Christians.

Tonight is the time to “fall back” an hour before bedtime.

Two nice articles have already appeared in The Star-News about the reception Oct. 28, sponsored by the paper to celebrate its newest publication, South Alabama Living; but I shall add my two-cents’ worth.

The setting was sophistication itself in the attractive Lower Alabama Arts Center on East Three-Notch. The walls were covered with all styles and subjects of local art. A gigantic, central floral arrangement by Alan Cotton took the eye. Two tables of refreshments tempted guests from their conversations over and over. Roxanne, owner of the new Japanese restaurant, Samurai, presented a miniature “ship” of sushi, which appealed to the eye as well as the taste buds. Tommy Gerlach, semi-retired chef, offered a roasted garlic spread on French bread, kabobs of grilled shrimp and pineapple, chicken salad in puffed pastry, toy tomatoes stuffed with smoked salmon, pepper jelly and cream cheese on crackers and Stilton blue cheese spread with figs.

Central to all was the new, first-ever magazine with eye-catching photography and interest-arresting stories of locals, by the locals, and for the locals.

Once in awhile I’m invited over to Covington Hall for an evening of music. Most recently Miss Dora played Sullivan’s “Lost Chord” for us, followed by “Ave Maria” by Bach-Gounod and “Ave Maria” by Schubert, Franck’s “Panis Angelicus,” and Adams-Weatherly’s “The Holy City.”

I didn’t know till then that Schubert’s version of “Ave Maria” was set to an excerpt from Sir Walter Scott’s poem, The Lady of the Lake.

I also learned that Stephen Adams, who composed “The Holy City,” was really a pseudonym for the English baritone and composer, Michael Maybrick, who sang his own compositions.

Today, by the way, is the birth date of John Philip Sousa, America’s most famous bandmaster. He composed what is probably the most popular march of all times, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Today is also the birthday of James Arthur Wilson, ‘Mr. Andalusia High School,” born and reared in Andalusia, a graduate of AHS, a member of the first Bulldogs Football Team, science teacher at AHS for some 36 years, 18 of those as principal, a record to this date. It was said that college instructors could recognize Mr. Wilson’s students by their preparation. He was a faithful teacher at First Baptist. Behind his back students called him “King Arthur” and “JAW.” He was greatly respected and feared, known for his sometimes rough humor and, in old age, shaky voice, the results of an automobile accident. He retired here with great honors and lies buried in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery.

One of Mr. Wilson’s former students, Ruck Ashworth, said that one was almost afraid not to learn in his class.

I hear tell about a trip by the senior citizens of First Baptist (mainly) down to Blakeley State Park at Spanish Fort on Oct. 28.

Kim Dyess drove a busload, 49, down for the day, through some heavy rains.

Organized by the indomitable Irene (Davis) Butler, the adventurers enjoyed Irene’s chicken-salad sandwiches on the way down and her door prizes on the way home.

JoAnn Flirt, CEO of Blakeley, greeted the Andalusians at the gate of the state park and recommended Ed’s Seafood on the Causeway for lunch later.

A ranger, Stacy Gardner, boarded the bus to narrate as Dyess drove through the state park.

The group learned the following:

Blakeley State Park was founded in 1981 with Mary Grice as first director, followed by JoAnn Flirt.

South Alabama College has claimed some mounds in Blakeley are 2000 years old.

The first European arrived in Blakeley in 1814. The town of Blakeley was founded in 1819, the same year that Alabama became a state, with some 4,000 citizens. It was a port city, larger than Mobile at that time. One tree still standing is 25-feet in diameter. The first courthouse in Baldwin County was in Blakeley. Ranger Gardner said that the judge would climb a tree (still standing), sit on a branch and hold court. Judge Jerry Stokes, along for the ride, found that particularly interesting.

A two-hour cruise down the Tensaw River, cold but interesting, was part of the tour. Captain Ray Downey shared facts as all motored along.

The tour also included a video on Blakeley and displays on nature at the Gatra L. Wehle Center.

The state park includes campsites, picnic areas, a pavilion, the site of the last major battle of the War Between the States, waterfront boardwalks, observation decks, walking, bicycling, and horseback-riding trails, a cemetery, rustic shelters, grills, nature trail and the old site of the town of Blakeley.

Before heading home to the Dimple of Dixie, the travelers enjoyed a meal at Ed’s Seafood Shed, one of several popular eateries along the Causeway leading into Mobile. One couple ordered the $40 platter!

Going along for the ride were Martha Griffin, Pennye Anderson and her mother, Doris Norred of Pine Apple, Herb “the Barbecue King” and Sue Carlisle, Neal and Kittye Wyatt, Nancy Edwards, Ovie and June Martin, Margaret Smyly, Judy “Tick Tock” Buck, Mary Wilson, Katherine Wyatt, Birtie Smith, Betty Bass, Mary “the Belle of Excel” Hill, Tera Jones, Gillis “the Combman” and Laura Ann Jones, Gordon and Trudie Vickers, Kenneth and Helon Johnson, Nancy Robbins, Mayor Jerry and Linda Andrews, Robert Lee Holley, Wayne Caylor, Buddy Shiver, Norma King, Judge Jerry Stokes, Norma Jean Gavras, Wanda Davis and her granddaughter, Raymond and Joann Pearce of Opp, Joyce Leddon, Betty Kyzar of Opp, Barbara Teel, Betty Knowles, Sadie Pettis, Lori Tyree, Imogene Stokes, Joe and Jackie McDanal, Kim Dyess, the famous joke teller, and, of course, Irene (Davis) Butler.

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