Mrs. Grundy hears, tells all

Published 10:31 pm Saturday, January 1, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Clydie Clump, waving and yelling from across the street, “Happy New Year! Happy New Year!”

Clydie was dragging the Covingtons’ Christmas tree out to the curb.

I was a bit sleepy, having sat up with the girls, Miss Cora, Miss Dora, Miss Flora, Miss Birdie Purdie, Miss Priscilla Primme and Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville, to welcome the New Year to the “Dimple of Dixie.” We had enjoyed ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, potato salad, deviled eggs, ambrosia, eggnog, wassail, hot chocolate and Lane cake (made from a recipe 100 years old). At midnight, we had sung “Auld Lang Syne,” as Miss Dora played. Mrs. Gotrocks spent the night at Covington Hall rather than drive back to Greenville.

We had passed around Jo Mosdell’s book, published in November, A Soft and Quiet Look at Andalusia, which is mainly a picture book of flowers with quotations, both from Jo and others. It is a thought-provoking, lovely, little treasure.

I told the girls of Clydie’s coming by Boxing Day (Dec. 26) to collect what he could from me. The girls said he’d been by their houses, too, except Mrs. Gotrocks. He wasn’t about to walk to Greenville with his box.

Later today, I’m to join Colonel Covington and his other guests for a New Year’s luncheon with black-eyed peas and greens. You know, the more one eats of peas and greens on New Year’s Day, the more he will earn during the coming year.

During the Christmas holidays, I ate at Gary’s Cafe in River Falls and ran into Tommy Thompson and his son, Rick, Lamar Foley and Cheyney Robinson. Rick was home for the holidays from his studies in Auburn.

Also enjoying the cooking at Gary’s were Sidney and Polly Waits, who hope sometime soon to visit the country of Panama again. The Waitses lived in Panama for a time, and it is special to them.

At Hook’s the other day I enjoyed a conversation with Ben and Bonnie (Jordan) May. Ben has been the preacher at Stanley Avenue Church of Christ for the last 13 years or so. The Mays had their son, Clint, with them. Clint, home for Christmas, plays the guitar in the Martin McDaniel Band in Nashville. The Mays’ other son lives in Union Springs, where Ben was born and reared.

I also had a nice conversation with Buddy Harper and Diane, who were dining.

The mystery person last week was Barbara (Watson) Posey, identified by Margaret Eiland. Congratulations!

This week’s person is thin, wiry, one who eats ever so slowly, plays a guitar and sings, a pretty good actor and a former mayor.

The Portly Gentleman told me that he had the shingles in November. A friend of his, Mark Chandler of North Carolina, heard about the case of shingles and wrote in his Christmas card to the Portly One, “hoping your shingles are back on the roof!”

Wayne and Lenora Johnson had as their dinner guests the other day, Bill and Maria Thigpen, Maria’s nephew, Sammy, from the country of Columbia, and me.

Johnson Hall was decorated for Christmas and looked like a page out of Southern Living, complete with living tree, lights and chic ornaments.

Dinner was served in courses, beginning with hot wassail in Christmas mugs, and followed by chicken-and-wild-rice soup with miniature club crackers, Christmas goblets and red, cloth napkins.

Changing tables to a more formal setting with gold chargers, guests were served with Spode, Christmas-tree china. They enjoyed Waldorf salad, ham-and-egg pie, Sister Schubert’s rolls, pineapple-cheese casserole, peas and butter beans.

For dessert, Coca-Cola cake and coffee enticed the palate.

The last December birthdays I wish to share are those of Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of our country, and Rudyard Kipling, English novelist, short-story writer, and poet. I think his remarkable poetry is his best work. Kipling lived in America for a time. A poem of his everyone should know is “If.”

Don Lingle, former minister of music at First Baptist here for 28 years, wrote me in his Christmas card that he has completed one year of the history of the music program at First Baptist during his tenure. The chairman of the history committee at First Baptist has been begging Don for years to update the history of the music program, which ends with his arrival. That precious Louise (Bozeman) Barrow, one-time piano teacher and organist-accompanist at First Baptist for some 60 years, completed, among her many good deeds in life, a history of the music program at First Baptist from its earliest years, up to Don’s arrival.

Work is progressing on the restoration of Hotel Talisi in Tallassee, famous for its buffet. A fire severely damaged the hotel in 2009.

Danielle, daughter of Dan and Scarlett (Bryan) Hardy, captain of the Golden Girl Dance Team at Louisiana State University, has been invited to be among those going to Hong Kong to march in a New Year’s parade in January.

Seen at C.J.’s Grille were Frances Ptomey and James Summerlin.

I want to preserve some memories of the funeral of Margaret (Copeland) Prestwood, who died at 96 the first day of winter, Dec. 21, and was buried Dec. 27 from Keahey Funeral Home Chapel in Andalusia at 2 p.m.

There was an open casket, topped with a spring bouquet and flanked by floral tributes.

Mrs. Prestwood’s person had been dressed in a long-sleeved, white blouse with flowers embroidered on its collars, a sweater vest with floral design and a floral skirt. Pearl earrings had been placed.

Martha (James) Givhan, organist at First Baptist, played the piano.

Kay (Weaver) Ingram, soloist, sang “In the Garden” as Mrs. Givhan accompanied.

Joe Wingard, a friend of Mrs. Prestwood, worded the eulogy, saying, “She was dear to us because of what she held dear.”

Mrs. Prestwood’s pastor, Dr. Fred Karthaus of First Baptist, Andalusia, shared scripture, prayer, and words of praise and comfort.

The service ended with Mrs. Ingram’s beautifully singing, a cappella, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Mourners adjourned to Andalusia Memorial Cemetery, where Dr. Karthaus, under a sunny, but cold sky, offered scripture and prayer once again, followed by a piper, Charles Simon, playing “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes.

Now I want to turn my column over to Betty Mitchell, who organizes and directs bus tours, for her to tell in her own words about a trip to Nashville, Sept. 13-17.

“We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Pelham for lunch (aren’t you surprised!). We played movies on the bus, and I had a trivia game on Nashville’s country-music artists as we made our way into Nashville.

“We arrived at the Alexis Inn and Suites for our four-night home. We freshened up and went to dinner at Caney Fork Fish Camp, the former home of the Grand Palace where Randy Travis made his mark in the music business. A former bus driver for Grayline, Paul Duncan, came over to the restaurant to visit us.

“After dinner we went over to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop for a tour of his bus and to browse around the shop for records (I should have said C.D.’s for our new generation.) Then we loaded up for our hotel and a good night’s rest.

“Tuesday morning we were up and ready for a great breakfast and a tour of Nashville.

“We picked up our tour guide, Walter; and he began by telling us how the recent flood had affected business and how they were grateful for our coming.

“He carried us all over Nashville – the Capitol, park, the Ryman, Tootsie’s, Opry house and Opry Land Hotel (to be open by Christmas). Our tour ended at the Parthenon.

“The Parthenon was created for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of l897. It is located in Central Park and is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, as it looked upon its completion in 438 B.C. It includes a re-creation of the Athens Parthenon statue, which stands 41-feet, 10 inches tall.

“After dropping off our guide, we departed for the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, our seventh president. We had lunch at the Garden Cafe.

“Then we saw a 15-minute film on Jackson’s life and toured galleries, exhibits, museum, gardens, Jackson’s tomb and the home he loved so much. They had a great gift shop with a good selection of presidential material.

“We departed and headed out to dinner at Ryan’s Family Steakhouse. The food was great!

“Then we departed for the Grand Ole Opry at its original home, the Ryman. When we arrived, a new ‘Minnie Pearl’ was outside to greet us with ‘Howdy!’ She made pictures with several and answered questions. We saw Diamond Rio, Jack Green, new star, Emily West, John Conlee, Joe Diffie, Bill Anderson and a fairly new group, Dailey and Vincent, whom the crowd loved. They received a standing ovation. It was a great night!

“Then it was back to our hotel for a good night’s rest.

“Wednesday, following breakfast, we were off to the Country Music Hall of Fame. They had a great, new exhibit on Tammy Wynette, an Alabama girl. Also, the Hank Williams exhibit was very good. While looking at the articles about Hank, we met a cousin of his from Arkansas who had friends from our area that some of our people knew.

“After the Hall of Fame, we were off to lunch at the Wild Horse Saloon where a guy from the group, Black Hawk, entertained us. Then we had lessons to learn line dancing. (Oh, did some have a great time! Just ask Bea Miller and Jo Ray! I have proof!)

“Thelma Glisson’s niece and her daughter and new baby joined us. We had a wonderful time. Then we went to our hotel to freshen up for our dinner party at the Radisson Hotel.

“We had a great meal with super entertainment, the Dave and Daphne Show. Dave was Barbara Mandrell’s lead guitar player and bandleader. He plays for the Opry and for several recording companies.

“Daphne is from Albany, Ga., and had been with the Gaithers. She has a beautiful voice. She sang ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Hope’ for us. They were fantastic!!

“Back we went to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

“Thursday morning, after breakfast, we were off to Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen for lunch; and, oh, did we get some good, Southern cooking – some of the best turnip greens and fried chicken you ever ate!

“Loretta owns the town of Hurricane Mills, Tenn. They even have a post office.

“We were greeted by our tour guides as we set off to tour the ranch, plantation home (which is supposed to be haunted), simulated coal mines, the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum and the Western town.

“As we were arriving, Loretta was on her bus, leaving for a tour. So, we waved ‘hello’ to them. This year Loretta is celebrating 50 years in the music business.

“Next, we were off to the Nightlife Dinner Theater on Music Valley Drive for some good food and entertainment, the Best of Country show.

“The bandleader and his wife, plus his sister, Donna, and her husband have all played for Tammy Wynette for over 20 years. One of the girls in the show is in a movie, coming out in December with Tim McGraw. They were all great entertainers.

“Friday morning, after breakfast, we loaded up and headed home. Our driver, Robert Norman with Grayline, had asked me if we would like to go by and see the home of George Jones. We all said ‘yes.’

“It was a beautiful home. We also went across the bridge where he had his serious car accident, which was a turning point in his life.

“We had lunch at Cracker Barrel (surprise! surprise!) in Gardendale, where some just had to buy a few more items.

“Then our last stop was at Durbin Farms in Clanton for some ice cream and peaches.

“The trip was great and enjoyed by all.”

I want to thank Miss Betty for her delightful account and invite her to share more of her adventures.

Participating in the tour, from Opp, were Kathleen Adams, Virgania Merritt, Allen and Marlene Miller and James and Joy Simmons.

Betty Hall came from Freeport, Fla.; and Joan Cibiras and Nancy Stock hailed from DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

From Andalusia came Glyndia Baker, Clint Bass, Alice Davis, Joan Davis, Sharon Dye, Ferrolyn Elmore, Mary Evers, Janet Feagin, Thelma Glisson, Mark and Cynthia Gunter, A. C. Godwin, Jackie Hallford, Junior “Red” Hallford, Evan Merrill, Ophelia Merrill, Bea Miller, Vicki Popwell, Jo Ray, Charlotte Smith, Glinda Simmons, Gladys Trawick, Kittye Wyatt and Neal Wyatt.

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