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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I could see purple patches, made of henbit, over in the Covingtons’ fields and by the sides of the road. Here and there dandelions brightened all with their yellow blooms, and the Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate sweetened the air. I thought of Shelley’s line, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Seen at the Piggly-Wiggly “deli” for the lunch buffet were A.G. and Pat Palmore, Nancy Smith and Joe and Sandra Davis.

Gentle reader, have you thought of a way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible this year?

Seen at Chen’s for the supper buffet Tuesday were 15 of the senior adults from First Baptist here in the “Dimple of Dixie” – Bill Law, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Gillis “the Comb Man” and Laura Ann Jones, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, June Smith, Ann Hammonds, Betty Lucas, Betty Bass, Bea Miller, Kim and Eleanor Dyess and Joe Wingard.

Mary Clyde “M.C.” Merrill, the Peach of Chilton County, had her two daughters, Susan and Fran, as houseguests last weekend. The girls – all three – joined M.C.’s son, Johnny Merrill, and his family for Johnny’s 50th birthday at McQuire’s Irish-style restaurant in Pensacola; and, as the old editors used to write, “A good time was had by all!”

The Covington Rifles, Camp 1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, met for business Feb. 3 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Sir Francis McGowin presided. Joe Wingard worded the invocation. Jimmy Barlow led in pledges to the American, Alabama, and Confederate flags. Larry Shaw led all, standing, in “Dixie.”

Business included discussion of a monument to the memory of soldiers from Covington County who fought for the Confederacy; this, to be erected during the Sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the War Between the States. Vaughn Bowers is chairman of the Monument Committee.

Also discussed were a banner for the camp, the reenactment of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis in Montgomery mid-February, and a Sesquicentennial dinner.

Attending were Jimmy Cobb, Larry Shaw, Derrick Davis, Morris Mullen, Jimmy Barlow, Joe Wingard, Sir Francis McGowin, Curtis Thomasson and Vaughn Bowers.

This past week I took lunch one day in the 1903 Rawls Hotel along the main street of Enterprise. The hotel’s restaurant is set up in the old lobby. The lunch menu is mainly salads and sandwiches. I had a Reuben with a side of home-fried chips and a pot of coffee. The setting, food, and service were “classy.” I felt as if I were on vacation at some fancy resort.

The Rawls is an architectural gem in the Spanish style, beautifully restored, two-to-three stories tall, with a little courtyard with flower beds and a fountain on one side, a covered porch with wicker furniture for warmer weather, artistic columns and pilasters and arches for doorways. The town’s depot/museum is just a few feet from the rail-side entrance. The whole effect is charming and inviting. Besides the restaurant, there are four rooms for a bed-and-breakfast, a banquet hall (being restored) and business offices.

The restaurant is open Tuesday–Friday for lunch and Wednesday–Saturday nights for dinner.

Entering Enterprise, I noticed words on a church sign – “Try our Sundays. They’re better than Baskin-Robbins.”

Cedar Grove Church of Christ honored its preacher, David A. Paher (pronounced “pear”), last Sunday evening with a fellowship buffet and plaque of appreciation.

Paher has served the Church at Cedar Grove eight years, along with his wife Philena and daughter, Neleah. Paher plans to preach his final sermon at Cedar Grove tomorrow morning and then leave for his new congregation up North.

Among those at his fellowship was his mother, Carol Rice of Texas, an author of short stories and children’s books.

Cedar Grove is divided into four fellowship groups who take turns organizing monthly fellowships. Group I was in charge of last Sunday’s farewell buffet.

Congratulations to Irene (Davis) Butler for identifying last week’s mystery person – Martha (James) Givhan, “the Steel Camellia.”

This week’s mystery person is athletic, especially fond of tennis, retired, mustached, a traveller with his lovely wife, a military man.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association met on a cold and grey Groundhog’s Day at Chen’s for its monthly meeting.

Janice Charlesworth of Montgomery, executive secretary for the Alabama ERA, spoke.

Allen Miller of Opp, CCERA president, presided. Geraldine Boothe presented a devotional. Secretary Gayle Weeks and Treasurer Harriet Scofield made reports.

Canned food was collected as part of a statewide project.

The CCERA voted to give $500 to help support Opportunity House.

Dean Jones won a $25 door prize.

Some members remained after the meeting to enjoy lunch at Chen’s.

Among those attending were Kim Dyess, Peggy Mobley, Joe Wingard, Sharon Dye, Bernard and Pat Stewart, Elaine Chavers, Fred Winkler, Gayle Weeks, Tubby Hall, Evelyn Larrigan, Harriet Scofield, Rickie Aaron, Geraldine Boothe, Earl and Dot Jones, Dean Morris, Dean Jones, Allen and Marlene Miller and Jerri Stroud.

The Alabama ERA annual convention is set for Birmingham March 29.

Congratulations to Annette (Davis) Smith for being named teacher of the year in Santa Rosa County.

The commemoration of the Sesquicentennial anniversary of the War Between the States continues.

On Feb. 8, 1861, the provisional government of the Confederacy, meeting in Montgomery, adopted a provisional constitution, similar to the Constitution of the United States.

February 9, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was unanimously elected president of the provisional government, and Alexander Stephens of Georgia was elected vice-president. Davis was taken by surprise at this unsought honor at his plantation, Brierfield, in Mississippi. As Davis headed for Montgomery to be inaugurated, Abraham Lincoln headed for Washington, D.C., to be inaugurated.

On Groundhog Day last Wednesday, Granny’s Restaurant opened in the former Perry’s location on the knoll at Perry’s Crossroads.

The building has been nicely renovated.

Granny’s Restaurant, having had two former locations, in Lowery and in Kinston, is managed by two sisters, Nell (Creech) Herring (“Granny”) and Linda (Creech) Burkett, and leased from the Perry family.

The menu is similar to that offered by the late Agnes Perry – good, home cooking!

Granny’s is open every day for a lunch buffet. Thursday night a steak special is offered. Friday and Saturday nights a seafood buffet is prepared.

Eating at Granny’s its first Sunday opening, I ran into Gary Driver, Mary Driver, Donny Johnson, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Charlotte (Driver) and James Kilpatrick, Foyl Hudgens and Jim Perry, brother-in-law to the late Agnes Perry.

I rather sentimentally told Foyl, who for many years had dined at Perry’s with his late wife Sarah and her late sister, “I never thought to be here again.”

Every other person I met at Granny’s seemed to be a Driver. They are inheriting the earth!

Gordon and Trudy Vickers took a chair as a house gift to his daughter, Tammy Hawkes, in Moody, Ala., recently. Tammy runs the Ruby Tuesday there. Don and Dot Lingle live nearby and were invited to join the Vickerses at Tammy’s restaurant for lunch. Don was minister of music at First Baptist, Andalusia, some 28 years.

I enjoyed eating at Granny’s so much that I went back Tuesday for the lunch buffet, running into Kem (Pierce) Jackson of Auburn and her sister, Pam (Pierce) Sumblin of Opp. Kem and Pam had been cleaning out their late mother’s house. Kem is the wife of Al Jackson, pastor of Lakeview Baptist in Auburn. He once pastored the Baptist church at Carolina Community. Their son Josh is married to our Laura Maddox. Among Al’s congregation is Eva (Nix) Maloy.

A beautiful, memorial bouquet of red roses was placed on the altar of First Baptist last Sunday by the family of the late Roy Weaver III (1959 – 2004).

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist, Jerome and Anne Mallory, Natasha Mallory and Amy Dugger presented Sunday afternoon a heart-warming report of their mission to Haiti. Dr. Karthaus sported some mustaches and a beard that came back with him.

The Irene Hines Handbell Choir, directed by Dwight Crigger, rang three special numbers last Sunday morning in worship at First Baptist, Andalusia.

I’ve heard much lately of “sliders” or “slyders.” I think they are mini-burgers. I read one place that they were invented by White Castle, the first hamburger chain, born in Wichita in 1921. A similar chain in the South is called Krystal, born in Chattanooga in l932. There was a similar eatery in Montgomery, the Dutch House, when I was young. I presume “slider” refers to sliding a spatula under a burger to turn it. Gentle reader, if you know any better, please correct me.

Special birthdays since last Saturday include those of Christopher Marlowe, English playwright, whom some thought to be the “real” Shakespeare; Charles Dickens, the English novelist, perhaps the greatest in our language; Thomas More, the English statesman who gave up his life and was beheaded by King Henry VIII rather than turn against his religious beliefs; Charles Lamb, the English essayist; and Thomas Edison, the great American inventor of the electric company, phonographs and the movies, who defined genius as “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

Marlowe’s best-known play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, contains the famous lines about Helen of Troy, “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!”

Dickens thought his best novel was David Copperfield. If Dickens is the greatest novelist in our language, then Copperfield is the greatest novel in our language.

I admire Thomas More tremendously. There is a fine play and movie about him, called A Man for All Seasons.

I received in the mail this week a book, 104 More Rosie the Riveter Stories, stories of working women from World War II, from Lucy Lewis. Each entry tells of one woman’s experience as a “Rosie,” and pictures her then and now.

I shall turn my column over to the Portly Gentleman now, so that he can continue his report of his trip to the Simms Society meeting in Columbia, S.C.

“I awoke in the Inn at USC and soon took my breakfast with Dr. James Kibler, the Simms scholar, in the dining room of the motel.

“Cousin Jo drove over from her home in Lexington; and we walked over to the Thomas Cooper Library where we heard, during the day, nine, scholarly papers read about Simms.

“In our walks, to and from the library, we admired the landscaping and the ante-bellum buildings of the University of South Carolina.

“For lunch we dined on campus in the Russell House with its various eateries; we chose Preston’s upstairs, with a mixture of students and faculty.

“The Simms papers we heard, morning and afternoon, were read in the Graniteville Room of the Cooper Library, which once housed special collections. During the conference the Graniteville Room was set with displays on Simms and rare books for sale.

“I noticed one rare book on Francis Marion, the ‘Swamp Fox’ of the Revolutionary War. I later told Judge ‘Trippy’ McGuire about this book because he’s a fan of Francis Marion.

“In the hallways of the Cooper Library, I found and admired on the walls some original prints by Howard Pyle, the American artist.

“One fact I learned about Simms that fascinated me was that he once visited the University of Alabama and spoke. I’d enjoy details of that visit to our state.

“In crossing the campus, Jo and I came upon a camellia garden dedicated to the memory of Havilah and Alice Babcock. Havilah once taught at USC and was known as an avid sportsman and writer about sports. I believe that Sir Francis McGowin is a fan of his.

“That evening Jo and I attended a banquet, sponsored by the Simms Society in the dining room of the Inn at the USC.

“We sat at table with Nick Meriwether, Ron Birdwell (who sells rare books), Dr. Allen Stokes Jr. and Alex Moore.

“The banquet included, besides a meal, a letter from a colleague in Russia, a fan of Simms, author of a paper about him, in which she wrote, ‘Long live the Simms Society!’

“There was also a toast to Simms and a tribute to Dr. John ‘Jack’ Guilds (pronounced ‘giles’), retired professor, Simms scholar, and founding president of the Simms Society.

“Dr. Guilds, author of the 1992 biography, Simms: A Literary Life, was presented a silver platter and a standing ovation.

“He responded to his admirers by saying that one of his former teachers, the famous scholar, Jay B. Hubbell, first got him interested in Simms. Guilds stated, as a result, that he devoted his life to Simms. He quoted the poignant question by Simms, ‘Why have I been forgotten?’

“Guilds spoke sentimentally of having his own ashes scattered someday at Woodlands, the country plantation of Simms, still in the possession of the Simms family.

“That memorably concluded the day.”

Thank you, Portly Gentleman. We shall look forward to what happened next.

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