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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I caught sight of Clay Clyde Clump, across the way, raking leaves for the Covingtons. He had amassed a pile when suddenly he disappeared. Stepping out on my porch, I stretched my eyes for him.

“Clydie!” I called. “Clydie!”

His head popped out of the pile of leaves.

“What are you doing?” I yelled.

He had buried himself in the pile like a child at play.

“Just livin’!” he replied. “Just livin’!”

I turned around and went back into my house, stopping to admire the Christmas wreath on my door. My mind was on Christmas. I was busy with shopping lists, baking lists, menus, preparing cards to mail, listening to Christmas music and putting up decorations.

“I’d better add Clydie to my list,” I thought.

Then I smiled, “It is better to give than to receive.”

I would like to recommend to the public a tape of Christmas music, the best that I’ve found – Sleighride. It includes the title song, “Carol of the Bells,” “Skaters’ Waltz,” pieces from The Nutcracker, about a dozen carols, half a dozen secular songs, the “March” from Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland, and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” If you own only one Christmas tape, this should be it.

Allow me to offer a suggestion to new parents. Keep a memory book for each of your children in which you jot down Christmas memories, especially the gifts that each child receives each Christmas, and from whom. Give this book to each child at his graduation from high school or upon his marriage. For all, I have this suggestion. Keep a Christmas book with the following divisions: Christmas books to buy and read and pass on to others in your family, Christmas songs to sing, tree ornaments and their origins (for example, something handmade, or passed down from a grandparent), the source of other Christmas decorations, Christmas activities, ideas for stocking stuffers, gifts given and received each Christmas, an annual shopping list, summaries of each Christmas, menus and an ideal Christmas Eve and Day.

The Portly Gentleman passed John Hill in the halls of First Baptist Sunday. Patting his stomach, the Portly One said to the trim Mr. Hill, “My trousers are sagging. I may have to start wearing suspenders.” Quipped the clever Mr. Hill, “Better get heavy-duty.”

Seen at C.J.’s Grille for Sunday lunch were Wayne and Lenora Johnson, Bill and Maria Thigpen, the witty Bobby Scott and his wife Judy, Robbie and Susan (Powell) Theus, and their three children, Jordan (17), Emily (l3) and Gage (7).

Since young Alex Short’s accident, many of his dad’s friends, recalling Lex’s own, youthful accident, have teased Lex with “like father, like son.” By the way, Alex, all wish you a speedy and complete recovery.

The mystery person for the last two weeks has been Alex’s mother, Susan (Jones) Short. She was identified by Lenora Johnson, whose intelligent husband, Wayne, pointed out that the first clue in the cluegraph was the word short, a giveaway.

The new cluegraph for the new, mystery person follows: a lovely, Christian lady, pianist, businesswoman and “frustrated perfectionist.”

Seen at the Huddle House for supper were Johnny and Nelda Godwin and their friend, Pete Owens.

Miss Priscilla Primme, the English teacher, said the other day, “I feel sorry for children who are growing up, exposed to the sinful themes and vile language on TV, thinking that noise is music, confusing entertainment with worship, expecting applause for anything and everything. I feel sorry for parents who know better, having to rear their children in such a difficult environment.”

Miss Primme then shared her complaint about computer “addresses,” saying that she is appalled that capital letters are not used and that words are run together.

“It’s setting language back a hundred years,” she stormed.

The Portly Gentleman, not to be out-complained, jawed that he cannot find razors for one or two blades anymore. Every razor is made for at least three blades.

“A man also needs the one-or-two-blade razor for fine shaving under the nose,” he explained.

“This world is going backwards!” the Portly One sighed.

I ran into Heenan Spurlin at Steamboat for lunch last week. I teased him that he was not at his son’s restaurant. (Bill’s David’s Catfish is closed Mondays.) Heenan nobly said that he and his family often eat at other restaurants and wish success to all Andalusians in the eatery business. What a good attitude.

Watching an old movie, The Girl from Jones Beach (I think), with Ronald Reagan and Virginia Mayo, I heard Mr. Reagan state that the vice-president of the Confederacy was Judah Benjamin. I was rather surprised at this error. The vice-president of the C.S.A. was Alexander Stephens of Georgia. Priscilla, Betty Greene’s daughter, lives in Washington, Ga., where Stephens attended church. Washington is not far from the preserved home of Alexander Stephens. It is now part of a state park.

By the way, the 150th (sesquicentennial) anniversary of the War Between the States begins this month and should last about five years.

Miss Purdie Birdie said the other day, “We spend the first half of our lives, accumulating; the last half, maintaining.”

On a cold, grey, windy November day last week, I ran into Jane (Register) Graddy at the P.O. We had a good talk. Some of my best visits are at the P.O. and grocery stores. When I was young and someone said that he was “going to the store,” I knew automatically that he meant the “grocery store,” no other kind of store. Was it that way with you?

I ran into Jo Mosdell, the new author, at the pharmacy and discussed those who want to substitute “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.” We were both incensed. I pointed out that a holiday is a holy day and that we should ask the “Holidayers” to which holy day they are referring. Too, some of the “holidays” are only for certain groups; they are exclusive. Christmas, on the other hand, is for everyone, just as Christ died for everyone, not a specific group only.

Seen at Tabby D.’s for lunch on that last, dark, rainy, cold day of November were Greg and Jan White, bringing a little sunshine into a dreary world.

Didn’t Wal-Mart used to spell its name with a hyphen? I bet Sam Walton would turn over in his grave at some of the changes being made in Walmart. You know, I bet Walt Disney would roll over, too, because of some changes in his world.

I received my first Christmas card this year on November 29 from Billy and Betsy Coplin of Demopolis.

Some have asked how to pronounce my name. It rhymes with Monday.

I shared an enjoyable supper with Misty Moore and Martha (Rodgers) Cordell recently at the Huddle House.

I hear tell that every unit at Open Pond was occupied by campers during the Thanksgiving holidays.

Seen at Hook’s Barbecue was Lee Williams, the semi-retired, youthful grandfather of two. We talked about his continued connection with WAAO, his lovely wife, and his three children, all of whom live here in “the Dimple of Dixie.”

Bill Spurlin, owner of David’s Catfish House, tells me that he has been opening on Sundays, but Dec. 19 will be his last Sunday to open. He and his crew want more time to spend with their families. Who can blame them? He’ll still be open, of course, Tuesday – Saturday.

Since last I wrote you, gentle reader, there have been five famous birthdays I want to mention – William Blake, Louisa May Alcott, John Bunyan, Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) and Sir Winston Churchill.

Blake was an English poet, artist, and mystic, whose poetry is often confusing.

Miss Alcott, an American author, who grew up in Concord with Hawthorne, Emerson and Thoreau, and is buried there, is best known for Little Women. Her house still stands. The lady who runs the Alcott home today and often performs as Louisa is a dear friend of mine, Jan Turnquist, whom I met at the Chautauqua in DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

John Bunyan, an English preacher and author, wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, which pioneers used to carry west with their Bibles and Shakespeare. It is the first book every Christian should read, after the Bible itself.

Mark Twain, the American humorist and writer, gave us The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (a book every boy should read), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and many others. Just this year his uncensored autobiography has been released in full for the first time. (The things he says!)

Churchill, the prime minister of England, may have been the greatest man of the twentieth century. Some credit him with saving England from the Germans. He, almost alone, warned his people of their error in trusting Germany and the danger of invasion. People thought he was crazy, but he turned out to be right. The people flocked to him for salvation when England was attacked. After World War II ended in victory for the Allies, Churchill was turned out of office, despite his “saving the country.” Is there a better example of human nature? Gratitude is the shortest-lived flower in the garden of virtues. There’s a story only Shakespeare could do justice.

I see that the purple heart is a-bloom with its small, pink blossoms.

Miss Cora, Miss Flora and Miss Dora asked me the other day if I’d like to go out of town with them to visit friends. I asked where they were going.

“River Falls,” they answered.

Have you noticed, gentle reader, how beautiful the colors of the crepe myrtle are, come fall?

Passing through Georgiana recently, I turned off to Oakwood Cemetery and placed some poinsettias at the grave of Miss Ellen Barrow. She once taught English at the Andalusia High School. She sang in the Methodist choir. She taught me the poem, “October’s Bright Blue Weather.” She was my friend.

Meeting Mrs. Gotrocks in Greenville during the Thanksgiving holidays, I suggested we sit at the Hopalong Cassidy table in Cracker Barrel. We did.

Rogerl Reeves sang “In the Cross” in the Baraca Sunday School assembly last Sunday at First Baptist.

The Baraca Class teacher, Richard Pass, a minister of the gospel, stated that if his listeners would give the Lord a chance, He would help them overcome the Devil. Brother Pass added that Satan knows our weaknesses and will attack us through our weaknesses. (I am grateful for men like Brother Pass, who follow the Lord.)

In morning worship at First Baptist, the group of lovely ladies, known as One Accord, sang a joy medley. Dressed in a variety of black-and-white outfits, the singers were Linda Fallin, Sharon (recently married) Bulger, Frances Rabren, Janet Brantley, Beverly Farrington, Betty Gay and Teresa Nelson.

Heard amid the congregational chorus was the fine, melodious voice of Jerry Hall.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, minister at First Baptist, preached a fine sermon, “The Gift That No One Wants for Christmas.” (That’s suffering.) He quoted II Corinthians l2: 7 – l0, describing the human condition as often weak, empty and drained.

The highly talented pianist, John David Thompson, a Presbyterian and a student at A.H.S., the son of John and Dawn (Jackson) Thompson, played triumphantly “Majesty” on the grand piano for the offertory near the end of the morning service.

Mary Wimberly, who works for Samford University, bless her heart, checked on me when I was ill and unable to attend Samford’s homecoming this year. Thank you, Mary!

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