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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind this week, I thought of my father’s people who landed in Charleston Jan. 25, 1753, aboard the good ship Elizabeth. In our family, we call it Founders’ Day and celebrate our arrival in America in different ways – toasts, dinners, donations, ceremonies. It is a good feeling to know one’s heritage; but one always wants to know more, for some reason. I would like to know the names and stories of all my ancestors, but they tend to get lost through the years. Bless those in families who keep the records and try to hold families together, like Curtis Hampton Thomasson, our great, local genealogist and columnist for this paper.

In one of her recent essays, Jan White, award-winning columnist for our newspaper, made me aware that 2011 is the year to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. How will you celebrate?

The Covington Schools Federal Credit Union assembled for its annual meeting Wednesday afternoon Jan. 19 in the auditorium of the Covington County Board of Education.

Clayton Norris, president of the credit union, presided over a business session, followed by the awarding of door prizes, deposits to accounts. Brenda Mooney won a $l00 deposit; 15 others won deposits of $50 each. Refreshments were served by Angie Cotton, assisted by Paula Sue Duebelt.

No one identified the mystery person last week, so here’s the “cluegraph” again – 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.

I enjoyed lunch Sunday in the hospital cafeteria with Danny and Kathy (Chesser) Gantt. We talked of Miss Patricia Seymour, one-time teacher of English and journalism at the Andalusia High School; Danny’s A.H.S. Class of l968; his mother, Helon Gantt, who worked for the late attorney, James Prestwood, some 49 years; dialects of Southerners and Northerners; Margaret Prestwood, James’s widow, who died recently at 96; and the history of the Gantt family, some of it linked to the royalty of England and Geoffrey Chaucer, the great writer.

Seen at CJ’s Grille last week were Jimmy and Tammy Cox, eating supper with Tim and Ashley Jones.

I understand that CJ’s closed yesterday, to be relocated somewhere else. The building has been sold to attorneys for their law practice. It belonged to Richard Murray of DeFuniak Springs, who ran a restaurant, Murray’s, in the building on East Three-Notch prior to C.J.’s. Murray had to close shop here and return to DeFuniak to help his dad run the original Murray’s there.

The Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the War Between the States continues. This week, 150 years ago Louisiana seceded, joining South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Also, Kansas, torn between slavery and anti-slavery, became the 34th state to join the Union.

Seen at David’s Catfish Thursday night were Wayne and Angie (Baker) Sasser and Judy Armstrong. Talk included changes in the schools in Montgomery, especially Lanier and Lee, the two great high schools of yesteryear. There is talk of building a new Lee High and of changing Lanier to magnet schools.

Birthdays last week included those of John Hancock, who signed his name on the “Declaration of Independence” first and largest so that the King of England would have no trouble reading it (today we speak of one’s signature as his John Hancock); Robert Burns, beloved Scottish poet (best known for his “Auld Lang Syne,” sung at midnight each New Year’s Eve); Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer and pianist; and Thomas Paine, American patriot whose essays, such as those in Common Sense, moved his fellow Americans to rebel against the English in the Revolutionary War.

A team of missionaries from First Baptist, Andalusia, journeyed to Haiti last week – Pastor Fred Karthaus, Amy (Pitts) Dugger, Jerome and Anne Mallory and Natasha Mallory.

Jennifer (Smith) Dansby spoke in her highly entertaining and humorous way to the congregation of First Baptist last Sunday night about her missionary trip to Ethiopia. Dressed in native garb, Mrs. Dansby spoke of how the people rushed her for toothbrushes and begged for Bibles. She finished her report by singing, a cappella, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Last Sunday morning at First Baptist, Callie-Marie Crigger, president of the A.H.S. Class of 2011, sang a solo in the anthem, “Not Guilty,” while her father, Dwight Crigger, minister of music, directed the choir, her mother, Sonia, who teaches music in Greenville and serves as church pianist, accompanied at the grand piano, and Callie-Marie’s younger brother, Carl, manned the drums on the podium.

The Covington Rifles, Camp 1586, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans celebrated the birthdays of Gen. Robert Edward Lee and Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson Thursday night, Jan. 20, in the large meeting room of the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

Lee’s birthday was Jan. 19; Jackson’s was Jan. 21. Note that the meeting was sandwiched between both.

The men of the SCV were joined by the ladies of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and guests.

SCV Commander Sir Francis McGowin presided.

Chaplain John Allen Gantt led in prayer.

Jimmy Barlow led in pledges to the American, Alabama and Confederate flags.

Songster Larry Shaw led in “Dixie” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag.”

Tammie Evans, president of the local UDC, presented the cross of military service to Sir Francis for his service in Vietnam.

Tony Wells was welcomed as a new member in the SCV.

McGowin presented biographical highlights in the lives of Lee and Jackson.

Following the recognition of guests, refreshments were served in the lobby.

The meeting room was decorated with flags, including the flag of the 16th Alabama Regiment (made for this area during the War) and portraits of Lee and Jackson.

Did you hear about the Yankee who thought sweet gum balls were porcupine eggs?

That sets me to thinking about Yankee dimes. Those are kisses that are not worth much, as in “It wasn’t worth a Yankee dime.”

I want to remind you, gentle reader, about the two plays, written for the Sesquicentennial, The Flagmaker of Market Street and Blood Divided, beginning in February at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery.

Now, I shall turn over my column to the Portly Gentleman to continue an account of his journey to a meeting in South Carolina. So far, he has been to see Eva Maloy in Auburn, stayed the night in Callaway Gardens, and visited the graves of poets of the Old South in Augusta.

“It was a long but easy drive from Augusta to Lexington, a small city just outside the bounds of Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. My cousin, Jo Driggers, lives in Lexington, the place where our ancestors settled in the pre-Revolutionary War days.

“After my arrival at Jo’s, I had nothing to do but take a nap in Pap’s chair beneath the ceiling fan. Pap was Jo’s dad.

“Jo had prepared a fine supper for me of ham, cauliflower, carrots, butter peas, yeast rolls, tomatoes and tea. All I had to do was sit down and say the blessing.

“Jo’s dining table was beautifully set with silver candlesticks, a silver bowl for a centerpiece, cloth napkins, salt shakers, bread plates and butter knives.

“After supper we went riding to visit Pap, Aunt Nannie and Aunt Jennie in the graveyard at Providence Lutheran Church, which boasted a new steeple. Aunt Nannie and Aunt Jennie were sisters and old-maid aunts who lived into ripe old ages. Our ancestors were Lutherans who came to America for religious freedom, among other motives.

“We next visited St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church ‘up town.’ This edifice is large and made of stone – rather fancy. It lies next to an extensive graveyard with dozens of cousins in it. We particularly sought out the grave of Mary Ann Hite, a cousin dear to both of us. She and her husband had run Hite’s Restaurant for years. It’s the first place I ever ate in Lexington and was known for liver nips, among other dishes.

“Back at Jo’s, we ate a dessert of apple pie and watched TV before I left for the nearby cabin Pap had built by Lake Murray. Jo and her brother Ted inherited the cabin and use it for guests and family get-togethers. I settled down for the night in the quietness of pines and waters.”

Thank you, Portly Gentleman. Perhaps, next week, Lord willing, you will finally reach your destination and tell us about that special meeting.

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