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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 27, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted the line of blooming sasanquas along one of the fences over on the Covingtons’ property. The sansanqua seems to be the especial flower of November as the goldenrod is of October.

I noted, too, the roses in brilliant reds and the tea olive with its fall perfume.

I delight in these November days, the lamb-like clouds in bright, blue skies, filled with a kaleidoscope of falling leaves, the landscape of bare branches, cotton fields, running over like a bowl of just popped corn, hay bales, fields of broom straw where children can lie, hidden in a game of hide and seek, lonesome, dirt roads, winding into mysterious woods, ready for walking one by one or two by two, and rustling sounds made by squirrels, rabbits, and birds.

I can breathe more easily. There is little fear of snakes or redbugs, and I can wander at will. The world seems at rest.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville tells me that the junction of I-65 and I-85 at Montgomery seems about finished. She drove up the other day and merged smoothly onto the Atlanta Highway. She also reports that there is a new Dollar General “out in the middle of nowhere,” along the Crum Foshee Highway.

“The Dimple of Dixie” is looking mighty pretty of late, getting all dressed up for Christmas! At night the streets are lighted by electric snowflakes on the lamp posts, Santa and his reindeer on the Golden Square with its great Christmas tree, the “outline lights” on the tops of the buildings around the Square, and the large, electric wreaths on City Hall.

Seen at Tabby D.’s, enjoying lunch, were Marvin and Jeanette Britt, Kim Ralls and her little Bella Ralls, and Tavia Scott Fischer and her little Annaleigh. What a pretty ensemble!

I want to mention two birthdays this week, that of George Eliot, the English novelist, and John Harvard, for whom our oldest American college is named.

George Eliot, by the way, was a woman, not a man, who used the pseudonym because men’s books sold better than women’s in her day. Her name was Mary Ann Evans; and she authored that famous novel, Silas Marner, which almost everyone used to read in school. If you read it, gentle reader, you may recall the comical line, “Eppie in the coal hole!” One of my landladies in years past, Mrs. W. M. Thweatt, quoted that line immediately when I mentioned Silas Marner. Although there was half a century in our ages, we had that fine, old book in common, an argument that favors a canon of common knowledge that is passed on from one generation to the next.

The senior adults of First Baptist, East Three-Notch, enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal and guest speaker Nov. 16 in their Fellowship Hall.

Trudy Vickers, assisted by Betty Bass, beautifully decorated the hall with a tallowberry tree, Thanksgiving napkins, and centerpieces of turkeys, corn, pumpkins, scarecrows, leaves, cornucopias, gourds, berries, and zinnias. The zinnias were left from the meal, served Betty Greene’s family the day of her funeral. They were also used to decorate for homecoming at First Baptist.

Seen in a corner, playing dominoes before the meal, were Dr. Morgan Moore, Robert Linder, Gillis Jones, and Joe Wingard. Bill Law was looking on. Moore and Jones were the victors.

The “main-yew,” as Grace Ellis Larson used to intone, was turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet-potato casserole, fried bread and rolls, green beans, lemon cake, and tea, catered by Diane Green.

Guest speaker was Margaret A. Faulkner, an FBI agent from Montgomery, secured by Irene (Davis) Butler for the program. Miss Faulkner spoke on cyberbullying, sexting, texting, morality, and consequences of social networking, mainly crimes against children.

A Christian, Miss Faulkner once served with the City of Montgomery Police Force, worked in Honolulu, and has been with the FBI since l988.

In chatting with her, I found that she knows a childhood friend of mine, the late Pat Mitchell of Montgomery, who was also an FBI agent.

Congratulations to the Oleander Club for their successful fundraiser last Sunday at the Adult Activity Center. Their 21st Tasting Fair raised money for their annual dinner for senior adults and a variety of scholarships.

The ladies were assisted by Oleander 2, a junior group of younger ladies who helped serve samples of good home cooking, spread on a dozen or so circular tables, covered in cloths.

Guests paid $10 each to roam from table to table, trying a cornucopia of fine dishes.

Oleander President Addie Simpson and her members, as hostesses, wore red and white.

O-2 President Shirley Trawick and her members wore red and black.

The O-2 sold chances on “collegiate baskets” for a back-to-school “bash” and for gift baskets for those in the nursing home.

John Dugger proclaimed, “The banana pudding was outstanding!”

I especially enjoyed the punch served by Emma Locke. If there is a better punch in the world, I’d like to know it!

The afternoon was delightful with folks in their Sunday best, eating Sunday’s best food, and enjoying a good, Christian fellowship.

The Oleander dinner for senior citizens, by the way, is set for Dec. 11, at 5 p.m. in the Coleman Center.

Last week’s mystery person has not yet been correctly identified, so here’s the cluegraph again: “short, pretty, brave, blonde, appearing more like a sibling than a mother to her three children, calm, steadfast, inquisitive, full of wonder and wearing a determined smile.”

The Baraca Class last Sunday heard all the traditional Thanksgiving music during their assembly. Joe Wingard, music director, led in “We Gather Together” and “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” accompanied by Martha Givhan, pianist.

Guest pianist, Mary Clyde Merrill, played an arrangement of “Let All Things Now Living” and “Bless This House.” Larry Shaw, Baraca president, sang as a solo part of “We Gather Together” and “Bless This House.” The lesson was delivered by Graham Tucker.

In “big church” the traditional cornucopia, prepared by Alan Cotton, florist, spread its abundance across the church altar.

In the absence of Dr. Karthaus, pastor, and Judson Blackstock, associate pastor, Michael Rodriquez, minister to students, preached an impassioned sermon on “Saved from What?” Rodriquez answered his question with “the wrath to come from a Holy God” Who cannot abide sin. He detailed the evils that beset mankind – humanism (man makes all his decisions), materialism (the love of money), and illicit sex (perversion and abandonment to the flesh).

Martha Givhan, church organist, played a variety of Thanksgiving music; and Dwight Crigger, minister of music, led the choir and congregation in more.

Tambry Nix and Jason Jewell sang two duets as Tambry accompanied them with her guitar.

That night Steve Barlow, a layman, spoke of his mission trip.

Sue (Bass) Wilson – “Miss Sue! She runs this town; she do!” – is to be congratulated for her just-published (20l0) book, Historical Riding Tour Through Andalusia, Alabama, circulated for our town’s homecoming in November. Buy a copy if you get the chance. It’s a keepsake and a treasure! The book is dedicated to Sue’s mother, Marjorie (Brunson) Bass (1923 – 2006), and Sue’s aunt, Carolyn (Brunson) Caton (1918 – 1998), sisters.

The book contains l28 beautiful, colored pictures of Andalusia sites. Each picture is accompanied by a detailed write-up.

Where Miss Sue found the time to do this and everything else she does I don’t know! I told her that when the homecoming was over, she was entitled to a breakdown.

Also, “Miss Sue,” working with her long-time friend and fellow graduate of the influential Class of l965 of the Andalusia High School, Paula Sue Duebelt, worked endless hours to prepare Andalusia in Revue, a two-and-a-half-hour program of prose and music, detailing the history of our county’s capital, and presented one night in the Dixon Center on the campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College during Andalusia’s homecoming weekend. Those attending were given an eight-page program and a souvenir booklet about the history of Andalusia – some dozen pages. All this Sue and Paula Sue researched, wrote, and organized. Amazing! Amazing!

Well, I approach the next paragraphs with fear and trembling because I shall try to mention everyone who participated in the big “Two-Sue Revue,” prepared by “Miss Sue” and “Miss Paula Sue.” I know I’ll leave someone out or include someone on the program who was not there, for which, I apologize in advance.

The revue began with Indians, directed by Vanessa Nelson and Becky Garner. These cute, little “Indians” were Rosemary Bass, Conner Dalton, Sam Dalton, Ingram Dugger, Joseph Gambril, Charles Steadman Glenn, Emory Garner, Peyton Garner, Haden Jackson, Colin Marcum, Stuart Nelson, Sydney Ray, Brynne Spurlin, Lindsey Stephens, John Allen Wise, and Olivia Lane Wise.

Next appeared “Hernando de Soto” as played by Ty Hunter, handsome and colorful in Spanish costume, flanked by our own twins, in alphabetical order, Madison and Robert Copeland, also in costume as Spanish soldiers.

Then came Angela Sanders, who sang “Habernara.” One would have thought he was at the Metropolitan Opera! As Angela sang dramatically and gloriously, Miss Ander Helms performed a Spanish dance.

Narrators for the event were Roger LeCompte, Curtis Simpson, Sue (Bass) Wilson herself, and Joe Wingard. All wore old-timey clothing and sat in rocking chairs throughout, as if on a front porch. Their narration was historical and tied the acts together.

The Andalusia High School Chorus sang our state song, “Alabama.” This must have meant much especially to Miss Sue because she had gone to the state legislature in costume as the song’s author, Julia Tutwiler, to help save the song when it was threatened with replacement last year. The song was saved, with thanks to Miss Sue. Also, when our local choral program was in danger this year of being “dumped” because of financial reasons, a portion of it was saved, thanks to Paula Sue’s stepping in, coming out of retirement as a former choral director, and, assisted by her l965 classmate, Miss Sue, keeping the program alive. Again, the two, ol’ friends of the influential Class of l965, Sue, assisting Paula Sue, have come to the rescue! That’s school spirit! That’s the spirit of “The Singing City of the South,” old Andalusia! The two were able to use the high-school chorus throughout the revue, remarkable since there easily may not have been a chorus this year.

General Andrew Jackson, Ron Picking, dressed as “Old Hickory” himself, convinced me he was Jackson!

John Deveraux, Dan West, represented the “Father of Covington County,” the namesake for Deveraux (Debro) Hill.

Square dancers next brought some lively music and dance — Carolyn Easley, Ron Rawls, Paula Kelley, Paul Kelley, Audie Mikel, Randel Mikel, Pat Wilcox, and Jim Wilcox. I don’t see how those ladies could even think about sitting in those flared-out dresses!

Jason Gunter brought down the house with his beautiful, deep bass solo of “Ol’ Man River.”

The chorus returned with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Andalusia – blush, blush! – was once a wide spot in the road, “loaded” with saloons. Representing this early, wild period of local history was Ralph Ricks, who, playing a town drunk, made us laugh.

Interspersed throughout the revue were sing-a-long songs. The first songs were “Little Brown Jug” and “Eatin’ Goober Peas.” Words were printed in the program.

Sir Francis McGowan, Larry Shaw, and Vanessa Nelson presented a Confederate vignette.

Ronda Ricks entered, dressed for travel and with suitable props, singing “When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam.’ ” She was good enough to be a featurette on the Lawrence Welk Show.

Then the multi-talented Dr. Jacqueline Denson sat at the grand piano and played “Take the A Train.”

Felicia Crittenden belted out “Sunny Side of the Street.”

A quartet of Brian Capps, Jeremiah Cheshire, Jason Gunter, and Kiel Odom regaled the audience with two songs from Meredith Willson’s Music Man, “Ice Cream” and “Goodnight, Ladies.”

Being partial to quartet music, I especially enjoyed the a cappella renditions.

One of the most popular acts was the Turman Family Bluegrass Band. They made even the Baptists tap their toes! They raised the roof with “Ol’ Time Religion” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Listed on the program were Steve Boatwright, Michael Bush, Gene Griggs, Bobbie Turman, Carol Turman, Joey Turman, Larry Turman, Doreen Cumbie, and “a special guest.”

I have heard Tambry Nix and Scarlett Knox sing “The Lord’s Prayer,” a cappella, several times as a duet. Each time they’re better than the time before. The close harmony is stained glass beautiful!

Pat Wilcox came out with a group of children (not listed on the program) and taught them as we all sang “School Days.”

One of the most perfect vignettes of the evening was that of Dr. Wayne Johnson, as Dr. Wilbur Sawyer, a visiting physician to Andalusia. Dr. Johnson, wearing a bright white, medical coat, polka-dotted bowtie and a head of snowy white hair, standing in a baby spotlight, read part of an actual letter about old Andalusia, written by Sawyer to his wife. The detailed authenticity of the actual letter and Dr. Johnson’s delivery of it with appropriate humor made an almost matchless moment.

Perhaps the sweetest moment of the revue came when Dwight Crigger, playing a soldier, bent his knee to his sweetie, Sonia Crigger, as he pledged his love and headed for war. The song was “’Til We Meet Again.”

Meryane Martin-Murphy’s Andalusa Academy of Ballet drew thunderous applause as her students danced “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Goody, Goody” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” Performing were Taran Carrasco, Gabby Godwin, Olivia Jones, AnaSara Kipp, Meagan Langley, Elizabeth McCalman, Hannah McCalman, Kayla Mitchell, Mary Morgan Pierce, Sneha Bang, Erica Bernstein, Tori Bernstein, Sydney Brunson, Sam Fairley, Katie Frasher, Tori Mack, Hannah Elizabeth Miller, Sydney O’Brien, Emily Pierce, Jodie Watson, Taylor Donaldson, Ander Helms, Emily Kelley, Natalie Mathews, Mary Ashton McMillan, Cameron Morgan, Savannah Claire Morgan, Anna Payne, Lakin Thornton and Kathryn Williams.

All stood and sang Elaine Prestwood’s “Alma Mater” for A.H.S..

Cousins and descendants of the locally famous industrialist, John Scherf, Aurelia Scherf Donald and John George Scherf IV spoke briefly of their ancestor. John IV even wore a gold-topped cane that had belonged to his great-grandfather.

Sharon Hobson surprised me with her lovely, lyric voice as she sang a solo, “Look to the Rainbow.”

The sing-a-long continued with “We’re in the Money” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” A group of students interspersed the two songs with A.H.S.’s ol’ fight song, “Corn, Corn.” Playing the piece were Corey Bulger, Morgan Capps, Callie Marie Crigger (president of the senior class), Sam Fairley, Stephanie French, Pierre Johnson, Anna Locklier, Ava May, David May, Maia Alicia O’Reily, Savannah Ricks, Austin Shirey, Robyn Wiggins and Casey Jones.

Darlene Hogg professionally performed “Rosie the Riveter,” dressed as a World War II female worker. She, too, deserves a spot on Lawrence Welk.

The First United Methodist Church Choir sang “I’ll Be Seeing You,” directed by Paula Sue Duebelt, who also directs the school chorus and writes revues!! That Class of ’65 again!

Group singing followed with “Mairzy Doats.”

Charlie Brock, as a newsboy, tickled us with his announcement of the combination of the Andalusia Star and Covington News.

Mayor Earl Johnson bounded forth upon the stage of destiny and sang for us a medley of songs by Hank Williams. Not only was the Mayor good; he, too, is in the influential Class of l965! He was accompanied by Tripp Bass, Marty Grey and Carroll Williams. (Tripp, by the way, is the younger brother of “Miss Sue.”)

Phillip McClung impersonated Elvis to popular applause.

Ending the first half of the program was a dance routine, using hula hoops, “Rock Around the Clock,” and direction by Wynne Glenn (daughter of “Miss Sue”). “Rocking” were Edie Alexander, C. J. Capps, Jonathan Bryant, Hampton Glenn, Ben Jackson, Allie Karthaus, Bethany Karthaus, Peyton Previtt and Anna Grace Thomas.

The second half began with “We Shall Overcome,” sung by Felicia Crittenden.

All stood next for “Woodson High School Alma Mater,” led by Helen Bradley, Ruby Miller Crittenden, Willie Denson, Lelia Horry, Hattie Sue Lawson, Emma Locke, Joseph and Shirlene Robinson and Hugh Stinson.

New Superintendent of Schools Ted Watson sang “Abraham, Martin and John.”

“Miss Sue” (lost in the sixties) and “Miss Paula Sue” relived their high-school days as they were joined by Francis Rabren, Nancy Robbins, Cheryl Watkins, Mickie (Patrick) Chapman and Marilyn Williams to sing a folksong medley. If I’m not mistaken, all are from the Class of l965! “Miss Sue” accompanied her friends, “The Singing Sisters,” with her guitar.

The A.H.S. Chorus returned to sing “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane.”

The Methodist Church Chancel Choir then sang a stirring version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” accompanied at the grand piano by Louisa Mann and John Beasley.

All next sang “God Bless America.”

Our twins, the Copeland lads, performed a clever piece, “Side by Side,” custom-made for them.

Dr. Denson then led a mass choir (Methodists, those who attended the hymnody conference, and high-school chorus) in “Guide My Feet” and “Fairest Lord, Jesus,” two heart-stirring, inspirational anthems, accompanied by Angie (Baker) Sasser, pianist, who, throughout the evening, supported so many with her talent. She, too, teaches at A.H.S. and directs a choir, that of the First Presbyterian Church.

The revue ended with “Our Town,” custom-made for Andalusia, sung by Blaine Wilson, our local WAAO personality and son of “Miss Sue.”

Jerry Wishum and his son Mason kept the lights and sound running, the ever-faithful Wishums!

Lenora Johnson provided costumes.

Katie King contributed to choreography.

Judy Armstrong, Karen Doulin, Paula Harr and a variety of choral parents helped keep everyone straight backstage.

Throughout the evening pictures to illustrate the acts were shown via Power Point by the twins and Amy Spurlin.

Methodists singing were Juanita Anauo, Gail Burnham, Sharon Hobson, Parecia Taylor, Katie King, Corrie Owens, Sandra Proctor, Ruby Roberts, Fran Davidson, Brenda Deason, Karen Doulin, Lanette Goodyear, Mary Lee Howard, Nicole Jackson, Sandi King, Patty Meyer, Aurelia Donald, Wade Cotton, Mark Gable, Sonny James, Joe Proctor, Mike Wells, Joe Bratton, John Croft, Robert Meyer, Jack Reichert and Jeff Sellers.

Joining them were Sonia Crigger, Anna Locklier, Barbara McCommons, Savannah Ricks, Maria Thigpen, Susan Underwood, Lisa Clark, Harriet Hubbard, Ava May, Darien May, Caroline Picking, Ronda Ricks, Steve Hubbard, Clyde Northrop, Emily Yehling, Dwight Crigger and Kim Sheffer.

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