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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Miss Flora Covington, coming up the way with a bouquet of narcissus and a basket of potted primroses, for me, as it turned out. We sat down for some tea and sweets and shared news.

The primrose doesn’t grow naturally in these parts. It needs colder weather. Each year I like to buy pots of the brightly colored blooms to set around or to plant. They’ll last for a short time in the yard. I’m grateful to local merchants who carry these little plants annually; otherwise, we’d never see them.

I hear that James Hugh Kyzar, a graduate of the University of Alabama, is now working for the state highway department in Tuscaloosa. His dad boasts that James Hugh is now officially “off Daddy’s payroll.” James Hugh has joined Christ Harbor Church and has already chaperoned its youth to camp, as well as adopted a chocolate Labrador named Lillie.

Cousin Jo reminded me that Jan. 11, 2011, could have been written 1-11-11.

I enjoyed a nice visit last Sunday with Lenis Head, who now resides with her daughter and son-in-law, Clarie and Charles “Charlie” Robert Brown in Heath. The Brown house is sunny, spacious and attractive.

Lenis is now a great-grandmother and as pretty as ever. Clarie is a lovely grandmother herself and a charming conversationalist.

Clarie spoke of her brother, Jimmy, who lives in Virginia. Clarie and Charlie moved here from Virginia themselves. There, they had a home in the mountains and saw deer and bear regularly, roaming about their Virginia house.

We discussed gardening, problems with building a new house and sweet potatoes. Clarie had won first prize at the county fair with one of her sweet potatoes.

Congratulations to Genia Dorman for identifying the mystery person last week – Judge Lex Short.

This week’s person is short, cute, a member of the Church of Christ, energetic, family-centered, the mother of two daughters and an excellent cook, famous for her potato salad.

Roy and Audrey (Thomasson) Wilson were honored for their 60th wedding anniversary by their son Chris and his wife Mary (Adams) from Dallas, Texas, on Sat., Jan. 15, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Cedar Grove Church of Christ.

The honorees were actually married January 19 by Herman Register in his home. Mr. Register was a long-time minister in the Church of Christ.

A registration table featured a bouquet of spring flowers.

A table, topped with pictures of the couple through the years, was centered with white roses, sent by Alice Jernigan, a friend, dear to Mrs. Wilson.

The room was filled with circular tables, skirted with white cloths, where guests sat and enjoyed the time.

A festive punch in a crystal-silver urn as well as coffee was served.

Mary Wilson, as hostess, offered “bride’s cake,” “groom’s chocolate cake,” sweet-and-sour meatballs, cocktail sausages, an assortment of cheeses and crackers and mixed nuts.

Among the guests were Chris and Mary’s daughter, Rene Wilson of Opelika, the head athletic trainer for Auburn High School; their son, Matt Wilson of Wichita Falls, Texas, the minister to youth at Faith Village Church of Christ in Wichita Falls; his wife, Stacey, a registered nurse; and their little son, Corbin Christopher Wilson, Roy and Audrey’s first great-grandchild.

Special birthdays this past week were those of Benjamin Franklin, American statesman; Gen. Robert Edward Lee, Confederate general in the War Between the States; Edgar Allan Poe, American poet and storywriter; Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate general; George Gordon, Lord Byron, English poet; and Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, known for his essays.

Franklin could be called the “grandfather of our country.” What a loss we suffered when he died before completing his autobiography. What he did finish is a classic in itself.

Last week also held the anniversary of the end of the Revolutionary War and St. Agnes’s Eve, both on January 20.

It is said that girls who go through certain ceremonies on the eve of St. Agnes will dream of their future husbands. If you are interested, check your computer or an old-fashioned encyclopedia.

Georgia seceded from the Union Jan. 19, 1861, joining South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. This year commemorates the l50th anniversary (sesquicentennial) of those events. Other events that happened 150 years ago this past week were the taking of Ft. Massachusetts in the Mississippi River by Mississippi troops, the emotional, farewell address of Jefferson Davis in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., and the declaration by Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist, that he was glad to see the slave states secede.

I wonder what would have happened if Phillips’s attitude had won the day and the South could have left the Union peacefully, as many, both in the North and in the South, had hoped.

In commemoration of the Sesquicentennial the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery has planned to present two “world premieres” of plays written especially for the 150th anniversary. One is The Flagmaker of Market Street by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder and concerns the conscience of a secret Unionist in Montgomery. Market Street is the old name for Dexter Avenue. It starts February 4.

The other is Blood Divided by Jeffry L.Chastang and concerns a young secessionist. It starts February 18.

The second annual Celebration of Caregivers was attended Friday night, January 14, in the Florala First Baptist Church, sponsored by Comfort Care Hospice, Florala Health and Rehabilitation, the Florala Hospital and Clinic, and Florala Pharmacy and Pharm-a-Care.

Despite a bitterly cold night, Christians from all over our area crowded (standing room only) into the sanctuary of First Baptist to witness an awards ceremony, followed by a concert of music of some three and a half hours, given by Janet Paschal and Ivan Parker, Christian singing entertainers, recognized from their appearances on Bill Gaither’s homecoming programs on TV. They were like ambassadors from the Gaither show.

It was my first time in First Baptist, Florala; and I was impressed by the beauty of the building with its old-fashioned design, pipe organ and stainedglass windows.

Charlie Lennard, pastor of First Baptist, Florala, prayed the invocation and acted as host, assisted by Vickie C. Wacaster of Comfort Care Hospice.

Awards were presented to the sheriff’s wife for community service, to Glenda White for the Monica Chambers Compassionate Service Award, to Sara Goolsby for commitment to clinical excellence and to Florala Pharmacy and Pharm-a-Care for partnership in caring.

Among those I saw were Charles and Marie Hinson from DeFuniak Springs, Fla. Charles was choral director for the Andalusia High School once-upon-a-time. They told me that Ann Robinson’s only daughter had been buried the day before. Ann Robinson, a leading citizen in DeFuniak, headed up one of the Chautauquas in DeFuniak last year. Sadly, her old fashioned Chautauqua has been cancelled this year. There will be another Chautaqua, organized by a different group, the end of January; but it will not be the one I have loved in the past.

A bus, sponsored by First Baptist in Andalusia, driven by Kim Dyess, carried church members and friends to Florala around five for a meal at Country Folks, followed by the concert.

Driving down were Jerry and Sally Hall, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Bill Law, Ziba and Pennye Anderson with Pennye’s mother, Dorris Norred, Jim and Sherry (Frazier) Wingate, Betty Bass, Cynthia Shaw, Lucy Martin, Mary Hill, Larry and Genia Cummings, Dennis and Charlotte Johnson, Herb Jasper, Bea Miller, Joe and Jackie McDanal, Kim Keahey, Joe Wingard, Irene Butler, Larry Shaw, Robert Lee Holley, Kim and Eleanor Dyess, Howard and Cassie Battey, Billy and Dot Treadaway, Sue Wilson, Norma Gavras, Maxwell and Elaine Moody, Joyce Williams, Shirley Stokes, Kevin Price and Zelmer Jones.

The senior adults of First Baptist, Andalusia, met Tues., Jan. 18, in Fellowship Hall for their monthly luncheon.

Judge Jerry Stokes delivered a program on the interpretation of the Constitution by liberals and conservatives, comparing decisions in Iowa and Alabama.

He pointed out that three judges on the Iowa Supreme Court were voted out by the people because the people did not agree with the judges’ decision on same-sex “marriage.” This appalled the liberals.

Judge Stokes explained the difference in interpreting the Constitution strictly and loosely.

He said that the traditional interpretation of the Constitution has been to judge by the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

He declared that the people rather than the judges should sway the interpretation. The judges should avoid interpretation based on their own research into scientific and social facts.

In the audience were relatives of Judge Stokes, his sister-in-law, Shirley Stokes; his niece, Suzanne Stokes; his sisters and their husbands, Jenelle and James Kelsoe and Tina and Joe Richardson.

The blessing was worded by Herb Carlisle; the dismissal prayer by Gordon Vickers, who presided and who directs the senior-adult activities at First Baptist.

Tables were festively decorated by Trudy Vickers and Betty Bass with snowmen napkins and with centerpieces of snowmen, circled with holly and “snow.” A toy band played jingle tunes prior to lunch.

Green’s catered the lunch of fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, butter beans, cornbread patties, tea, and banana pudding.

The gallant John Givhan, retired attorney and Vietnam veteran, commented at our table that Southern women are the most beautiful in the world. Looking about, one could only agree.

Judge Stokes, a member of First Baptist, Andalusia, by the way, was circuit judge of our county 1989-2001, graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and New York University School of Law, practiced law in Birmingham, and then practiced law in Covington County, 1974-1988.

Dr. Rex Butler and his mother, Irene (Davis) Butler, motored to Montgomery last Sunday afternoon to attend a reception with refreshments for the new lieutenant governor, Kay Ivey, in the Archives and History Building across from the state Capitol. After greeting hundreds, Mrs. Ivey spoke.

Each attendee was given a small, engraved, boxed flashlight with a gold, engraved seal upon it.

Mrs. Butler said that the charming Mrs. Ivey was dressed beautifully in a blue jacket. Two bodyguards stood near her.

Irene (Davis) Butler was treated by her family to a birthday supper at Hill Top on the eve of the big day. In attendance were Rhett and Lynn Butler, Dr. Rex and Billie Jo Butler, Dustin and DeAnn Butler, Lendon Ray, Lane Sirmon, Ashley and Kate Butler, Allen Butler and Rexanne Butler.

Genia Green and her waitress sang “Happy Birthday” to Mrs. Butler and presented a toy bear and some Hill Top sausage. Family gifts were opened at home.

That was only the beginning of the celebration for a memorable 85th birthday January l4.

Blaine Wilson on WAAO announced the big day. Those on the bus from First Baptist, Andalusia, heading to Florala for supper and the concert that night, sang to Irene. In Country Folks, after supper, a lovely cake, provided by Gordon and Trudy Vickers, was presented to Irene, along with “Happy Birthday.” Then, during the concert at First Baptist, Florala, the whole audience sang to Irene. Back in Andalusia, as the group left the bus, Dr. Moore led all in singing, “Good Night, Irene.” Mrs. Butler received some 87 messages of love, including those from International Pilot, State-House employees, classmates, friends, and family through Facebook, e-mails and cards.

Last week, we left the Portly Gentleman in Milledgeville, Ga., slowly making his way to a meeting in South Carolina. Let’s join him.

“Leaving Milledgeville, a charming town, the old capital of Georgia, I drove to shopworn Sparta, the seat of Hancock County.

“Next came Warrenton and its attractive courthouse for Warren County.

“Eventually I arrived in Grovetown, just below Augusta, off Highway 20, where the Southern poet, Paul Hamilton Hayne, lived out his life in poverty after the War Between the States.

“Driving to City Hall, I enjoyed a long visit with Mayor George James. We spoke of the next-door, local museum, which contains materials about Hayne. We discussed the lot where Hayne had lived. Sadly, his house, called Copse Hill, is gone. I encouraged Mayor James to make a small park of the Hayne lot and see that some historical marker is erected. We spoke, too, of the local historian, Charles Lord, and his work to preserve the memory of Hayne. I have learned much from Mr. Lord during previous visits to Grovetown.

“Before leaving Grovetown, which is growing and improving, I ate at T & L Homestyle Meals, a small restaurant with good, home cooking. I had eaten there my last visit to Grovetown and looked forward to the simple, good-tasting food again. The place is run by Teresa and named for her and her late friend, Luverne, who had been in on the planning but had died before the opening.

“It was a short drive up the road to Augusta, the second oldest city in Georgia, lying along the Savannah River. Augusta is a beautiful city, especially up and down Broad and Green streets. I drove up and down them, over and over, remembering past visits, especially those with William and Doris Thweatt, who lived just over the river in North Augusta. Doris’s son by a former marriage was elected mayor of North Augusta. William was reared in Andalusia, the eldest child of W. M. and Mattie Thweatt.

“My main reason for lingering in Augusta was to visit Magnolia Cemetery. (Which Southern town doesn’t have a Magnolia Cemetery?)

“There are three poets of the Old South whose memories I honor, lying in Magnolia, near each other.

“One is Paul Hamilton Hayne, born January 1, 1830, in Charleston, died July 6, 1886, in Grovetown, in his little house, Copse Hill. His marker in Magnolia was erected by the Hayne Circle, once a group of admirers. I stood sadly at his grave, strewn with brown magnolia leaves, ‘neath an old magnolia tree, in the soft Southern breeze.

“Buried with Hayne were his wife Mary Michel, 1831-1892, and son, William Hamilton Hayne, 1856-1929.

“In the plot is a memorial stone from a church once erected to the Glory of God and in memory of Hayne.

“It was the last day of summer.

“Next to the Hayne plot was that of Richard Henry Wilde, one of Georgia’s first poets.

“In the next block was the grave of James Ryder Randall, born in Baltimore, Md., Jan. l, l838, died in Augusta, January, l908, author of ‘My Maryland.’

“Leaving Magnolia, I drove down Green Street again, admiring the medians, little parks, really, with azalea beds, benches, monuments, trees, all flanked by lovely homes and commercial buildings. Monuments include those to the poets, Hayne, Wilde, Ryder, Ryan, and Lanier.

“I headed north on 20, crossing the Savannah River into South Carolina, passing the turn to Aiken, where once lived my cousin, ‘Punt’ Brumit, on my way to be the guest of another cousin, Jo Driggers, in Lexington, S.C.”

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