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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I stared at the flag, flying over at Covington Hall, and thought of Betsy Ross, born January 1, famous for making the first Old Glory. Something happens to me when I see that flag, especially when “The Star-spangled Banner” is played at the same time.

While I’m mentioning birthdays, there were three others this week that caught my attention – those of William Lyon Phelps, Cicero and Jacob Grimm.

Phelps was a professor of English at Yale University, famous for popularizing literature. His massive autobiography is a treasure.

Cicero was a powerful, Roman senator and orator. In the days when Latin was taught in public school, Cicero’s name was better known.

Jacob Grimm and his brother, Wilhelm, were German collectors of fairy tales, such as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “Rumpelstiltskien,” “The Elves and the Shoemaker” and “Snow White.”

Jan. 6 was the Twelfth Night of Christmas, also the Twelfth Day, also Epiphany. In Europe it is known as “Little Christmas.” Shakespeare made use of Twelfth Night as a title of one of his plays. Twelfth Night can also be the eve of Epiphany (a sudden realization), the day that commemorates the arrival of the Magi (wise men) to see the Christ Child, another way of saying that Christ came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Each year, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Andalusia sponsors an Epiphany tea. This year’s celebration is set for tomorrow, Jan. 9, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the church. The public is invited. An evensong service is set to follow at 4 p.m.

Seen last Sunday, having lunch at the hospital cafeteria, were A.G. and Pat Palmore, John and Nancy Smith and their son Parker, Hazel Griffin, Ed and Judy Buck, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Betty Bass, Janette Carroll, Rayford and Carolyn Davis and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Perry.

Virginia Frasher identified, correctly, Benny Barrow as the mystery person last Saturday. Congratulations, Virginia. There were quite a few who identified Mayor Barrow, but Virginia happened to be first to me. This week’s mystery person is homegrown, a Baptist, a local historian, portly, aged and an author.

Mr. Topper Propper pointed out to me that January 1, 2011, was 1-1-11.

Jean (Carter) Fuqua read my mention of Miss Marion Bumpers, the retired educator, last Saturday, and shared that her son, John Fuqua, was enrolled at Bear Elementary in Montgomery when Miss Bumpers was principal there.

It seems that more and more people are coming forward to speak of “Bumpy” Bumpers, a remarkable personality and educator.

Eating the Friday buffet at Country Folks in Florala, I spoke with Dwight and Barbara Day, the owners. I learned from Dwight that he also once ran the Little Kitchen in Andalusia (circa 1999 – 2001). He had to give up the Little Kitchen because running two restaurants at the same time became too much. Others ran the Little Kitchen thereafter, but it was closed at last and then burned by the fire department as a controlled burn.

I ran into Phil and Linda Tisdale at the Piggly Wiggly recently and enjoyed a conversation about their two children and their grandchildren. I learned that Phil and Linda hope to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary in May, Lord willing.

This year a sesquicentennial (150th) celebration of the War Between the States is underway. This past week on Jan. 3, 1861, Georgia took over Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River. The Portly Gentleman visited this fort as part of his celebration of Robert E. Lee’s bicentennial because Lee was an engineer at Pulaski. The fort today is in excellent condition, open to tourists, and only a short distance from Savannah. On Jan. 5, 1861, Alabama seized Forts Morgan and Gaines to defend Mobile.

I was a guest in the home of Jimmy and Sue (Bass) Wilson recently and enjoyed “breakfast” for supper – sausages, pancakes and syrup, cheese grits, stewed apples and orange juice.

The Wilson Victorian house, Avalon, in the Woodlands was decorated for Christmas and was a cross between Santa’s workshop and Toyland.

We enjoyed hot chocolate in the cozy kitchen. Any minute I expected Mrs. Claus or one of the elves to pop in.

Other guests were Wynne (Wilson) Glenn and her husband Shannon.

Sonja James entertained New Year’s Day with an afternoon buffet in her stylish home, decorated for Christmas.

Her guests were her mother, Betty Scott, Janette Keith, Jean (Carter) Fuqua, Margie Elmore, Barbara Bradley, Joe Wingard, Bill Thigpen and Bill’s houseguest, Sammy Tang, his wife’s nephew from the country of Columbia.

Mrs. James served roast with gravy and carrots, mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins, sweet-potato casserole with pineapple and cranberries, pickled asparagus and cucumbers, chicken divan, fried fatback, the traditional black-eyed peas, tea and a chocolate pie.

Mrs. Keith contributed collards for tradition’s sake, and Mrs. Fuqua added a pecan pie.

I want to preserve some notes about the funeral of Luther Taylor Jr.

The body was laid in an open casket, overlaid with an American flag because of Mr. Taylor’s military service.

Visitation was from 12:30 – 1:30 in Foreman’s Funeral Home just prior to burial. A procession followed with burial, set for 2 p.m., in Magnolia Cemetery and a graveside service by Dr. Fred Karthaus, Mr. Taylor’s pastor at First Baptist Church.

Dr. Karthaus spoke of the body as being a tent that eventually serves its purpose. He spoke of Mr. Taylor’s dedication as a Christian, of his faithful service to First Baptist through the years, of his upbeat attitude and greetings, always with a smile. Dr. Karthaus included scripture and prayer.

The American flag was folded by Norman Hobson, the funeral director, and his assisting son, Hunter, and presented to Mrs. Taylor (Mary Frances Ward).

Pallbearers were John Hill, Campbell Kyle, Dan McMullen, Mayor Earl Johnson, Dr. Jim Krudop and Guy Tadlock.

Mr. Taylor died at 88 on New Year’s Day.

I also want to preserve some notes about the funeral of Claude Keenam, who died at 82 on Dec. 31, the last day of 2010.

His funeral was attended Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, upstairs in the sanctuary. For an hour prior to that, the family received mourners downstairs in Fellowship Hall.

Outside, American flags lined the walks at FUMC, a practice begun with the funeral of Bill Ward, to honor men, like Claude Keenam, who had served in the military.

While mourners entered the sanctuary, Louisa Mann played preludes of familiar hymns at the piano.

A white pall, embroidered with gold crosses, covered the closed casket. Floral tributes flanked the coffin.

Downstairs, a display of family pictures and copies of Mr. Keenam’s books stood.

Tim Trent, Keenam’s pastor at FUMC, began with scripture.

Paula Sue Duebelt, choir director at FUMC and former colleague of Keenam at the Andalusia High School, sang, a cappella, and beautifully, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Trent spoke of the family, Keenam’s wife, Nina, a long-time columnist for this paper; the daughter, Amy, and her husband, Mike Mott; the son, Kerry Keenam; the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters and brothers-in-law.

Keenam’s granddaughter, Melissa Mott, read a wonderful essay, amid tears, that she had written about Claude and Nina a few years ago. The paper captured the essence of her grandparents remarkably.

All then stood and sang “How Great Thou Art,” accompanied by Mrs. Mann.

Jim Batchelor, a Methodist minister, influenced to enter the ministry by Keenam, and often inspired and assisted by him, paid a heart-felt tribute to his mentor.

Trent, in conclusion, presented a biographical sketch of Keenam’s life, his service in the Army, his 13 years in the ROTC unit at A.H.S., his becoming a Methodist minister, his preaching, his “retirement” in l994, his serving interim churches thereafter, his going blind and then writing four books, and his asking Nina to complete a fifth one he had almost finished.

Trent ended with prayer.

Mrs. Mann played “A Mighty Fortress” as family and friends exited.

The Portly Gentleman begins for us this week an account of a trip he made in September. I shall let him speak in his own words.

“Leaving a few days early, so as not to rush to a meeting in South Carolina, I stopped in Auburn, ‘the loveliest village of the plains,’ to visit a dear friend, Eva (Nix) Maloy, who has an apartment in Monarch Estates. Eva, who taught elementary school here in ‘the Dimple of Dixie’ for years and then retired to Auburn with her late husband Jim, gave me a ‘tour’ of her retirement home – dining room, laundry, library, chapel, game room, exercise room and lobby. Monarch is a very nice place.

“We went out to lunch, first stopping at the Auburn Library to see the quilts on display, the new children’s wing, and to

send a message to our mutual friend, Dan Shehan in Savannah, by using the library computer. Eva used to play the organ, as Dan does now; so they have that love of music in common.

“We dined at the Crepe Myrtle on College Street, a relatively new restaurant at a corner nursery. Eva selected bread and vegetable soup; I, chicken salad and stuffed squash. A group of ‘Red Hatters’ were enjoying themselves near us, decked out with red hats and purple dresses.

“Driving out to Memorial Park Cemetery, next to Auburn High School, we visited the grave of Jim. His marker reads as follows: ‘Samuel J. Maloy, Sr./ US Navy/ Apr. 5, l9l9 – Dec. 24, l995.’ The middle initial stands for James.

“We went shopping in Village Mall next, running into Carl and Mary Charles Dennis, church friends of Eva. Mary Charles directs the Bible-study class once taught by the late Johnnie Dee (Riley), wife of Senator Ted Little. Johnnie Dee was reared in Andalusia to John D. Riley and Inez Preston, daughter of Dr. A. J. Preston, one-time pastor of First Baptist here. Named for her father, Johnnie Dee was part of two socially prominent, highly educated, and refined families in Andalusia history, the Rileys and the Prestons.

“Eva and I spoke of Lakeview Baptist in Auburn, of its pastor, Al Jackson, who once served in this area, of Lynn and Evelyn Brown. Evelyn is the only daughter of Luther Cross ‘L.C.’ and Dot Mullins. Her parents and brother, Alan, are deceased and buried in Andalusia Memorial. Evelyn was reared in Andalusia with her two brothers, but reared her daughter in Auburn, where Evelyn still lives.

“Leaving Eva, I drove over Lanier’s Chattahoochee into Georgia, through the idyllic countryside to Pine Mountain, and took a room at Mountain Creek Inn for the night.

“Driving up the hill to the Country Store (restaurant and gift shop), I enjoyed supper while taking in the view of valleys and mountains. The old-fashioned Store served me lemonade in a canning jar.”

We shall leave the Portly Gentleman, asleep in Callaway Gardens, Ga., until another Saturday; then, we shall continue to follow his journey, Lord willing.

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