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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I wondered at the banks of yellow coreopsis (a type of sunflower) all along the roadsides. They usually come in May. The evening primroses (buttercups), now blooming away, also come into their own in May, around high-school graduation. Everything seems to be a month early this year.

Miss Flora Covington has pointed out more April blooms to me – the peacock iris, banana shrub, and wild pentstemon.

Miss Flora tells me that the 16 pines cut down at one corner of the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery along Easley Road have been hauled away and their stumps ground into sawdust. Also, the drives in the cemetery have been paved again and look really nice. What’s next?

Wednesday morning, April 6, the Covington County Education Retirees Association (retired educators) met in the Covington County Board of Education building on Martin Luther King By-pass for its monthly program.

President Allen Miller of Opp presided.

R. Terry Holley, superintendent for Covington County, welcomed the retirees to his center.

Geraldine Boothe, a past president of the CCERA, worded a devotional and prayer.

President Miller told of the Alabama ERA state convention in March in Birmingham and shared a certificate naming CCERA a unit of excellence. Attending the state convention with Miller were Peggy Mobley, Elaine Chavers, and Kim Dyess.

Miller encouraged members to continue to donate canned goods for the needy.

He introduced a guest, Barbara Arnold of Enterprise, former AERA director for District 9 in Alabama (which includes Covington) and now state treasurer of AERA.

Secretary Gayle Weeks read her minutes.

Treasurer Harriet Scofield reported that CCERA had donated $500 to Opportunity House, a home for battered women and children, located in Opp. She encouraged members to make individual donations and described the home as a vital haven for battered women and children. She explained that the house has suffered financial cutbacks and is in need of help. Debra Hooks is the director of Opportunity House and requests toiletries and Easter gifts for the children.

Sharon Dye, CCERA vice-president, introduced the guest speaker, Judge “Trippy” McGuire, who gave both an inspirational and humorous talk about teachers. He mentioned cutbacks in the state’s budget for courtrooms and announced that he might have to take up a new job. He is considering being the new Tarzan or a snake handler over in the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo.

McGuire spoke of YALF, his acronym for youthful attitude and life-style factor, of the lifetime bond between teachers and students, and of his own teachers and their positive influence.

McGuire said that it should be teachers, not rock stars and star athletes, who receive the financial rewards and accolades.

He stated that teachers live on in their students and thus affect the future generations.

Quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American poet, McGuire recited the famous verse from “Psalm of Life,” beginning “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime.”

He ended by praising teachers, thanking them, and calling them “the true all-Americans.”

Tubby Hall won the $25 door prize and immediately donated it to Opportunity House.

The last meeting of the CCERA is set for May 4 at l0 a.m. in the Opp Chamber of Commerce. Members are reminded to take canned goods, money for Opportunity House, and a “covered dish.”

Attending were Kim Dyess, Evan and Ophelia Merrill, Gayle Weeks, Geraldine Boothe, Tubby Hall, Sharon Dye, Allen and Marlene Miller, Harriet Scofield, Elaine Chavers, Dean Morris, Evelyn Larrigan, Joe Wingard, Lucy Conner, Gwendolyn Jessie, Mary Bass, Eloise W. Judson, Ethel M. Robertson, Earl and Dot Jones, and Linda Lucas.

When I was young, a long-haired musician referred to the conductor of a symphony orchestra, not a member of a rock band. There was no such thing as a rock band. We had rocks, and we had bands; but we did not have rock bands. A concert was music performed by a symphony orchestra, not rock “music.” I remember how I cringed the first time I heard someone call a rock performance a “concert.” From then on that word was ruined for me. I weep! I mourn! I grieve!

Dr. Wayne and Lenora Johnson recently attended an afternoon dessert party, honoring Frances Merrell, formerly of Andalusia, now residing in Birmingham at the Galleria Woods Nursing Facility.

Also visiting Frances that afternoon were her daughters and their families, Kathy and Buck Southall of Birmingham, Connie Creech and her daughter Vanessa of Memphis, Tennessee, and Lesa and Mark Wiggins, also of Memphis, and the Wigginses’ daughters and theirs, Ben and Whitney (Wiggins) Tolbert and their daughter, Mary Collins Tolbert of Memphis, and Chris and Lindsay (Wiggins) Carreker of Dallas, Texas, and their sons, Cohen and Rhett.

Also, Frances’s sister, Elsie Braddock, and her two daughters, Pat and Amy, and their families, and Frances’s brother, Bob Collins, and his wife, Edith, all of Birmingham, attended.

Frances asked to be remembered by all her friends in Andalusia, especially her friends at First Baptist Church and Savannah Terrace.

Dr. Rex Butler and his son Allen flew out of Pensacola March l8 for the weekend to attend the North American Sport Karate Association tournament in Philadelphia’s convention center. Leaving Pensacola at 3:00 a.m. paid off for Allen placed third in sparring in his black-belt group.

Before returning home, they saw the sights in Philadelphia, including the Liberty Bell and Declaration of Independence.

The Mildred Hart Sunday School Class of First Baptist visited their former teacher, Opal Couch, now home-bound, on March 29 to celebrate Mrs. Couch’s birthday March 26.

Margaret Eiland took chicken and dumplings, the favorite of Opal’s husband, Bud, while Lucy Martin, Voncile Newman, Rebecca Kinard, Muriel Taylor, and Irene Butler carried assorted dishes.

The current teacher, Linda Finlin, furnished dessert and led the group in singing “Happy Birthday.”

Bud voiced the blessing. Kim Couch, daughter-in-law and caregiver, a great lady, made tea and assisted.

The Couches’ yards were colorful with orange/yellow honeysuckles, dogwoods, azaleas, and much more.

Doug Williams, preacher at the Geneva Church of Christ, one-time minister at our local Cedar Grove Church of Christ, has provided me, at my request, a list of quotations about the Bible. I thought it would be nice to include quotations this year in honor of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, announced to us by Jan White in her column a while back.

William E. Gladstone, one-time prime minister of England, said, “I have known ninety-five great men of the world in my time; and, of these, eighty-seven were all followers of the Bible.”

Irene (Davis) Butler in March attended the SenioRX Advisory Council of the Southern Alabama Regional Council of which she is a member.

Miss Flora reminded me that Jasmine Hills Gardens near Wetumpka, above Montgomery, is open weekends through June 26. The hours are 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays the gardens are open noon till 5 p.m.

Bellingrath Gardens at Theodore near Mobile is especially lovely this time of the year.

No one guessed the person of the week, so I offer my “cluegraph” again. This week’s person is so true-blue an Auburn fan that, if you cut him, he bleeds orange and blue. His Auburn bill is paid first each month, if all others have to wait. A former baseball star, the son of a teacher, and a Baptist, he has an “underground” job. He has one wife, “so far,” she says, and is master of a beloved dog, Little One.

Seen for supper at David’s Catfish were Greg and Jan White, their daughter Kelley, and their guest, Janice (Eiland) Castleberry.

Janice is known for her cream-cheese pound cake and 30 years in the office at Red Level School, her alma mater.

I learned recently that Janice went over to England during the war to be married. She and her husband, who was stationed there, were married in a quaint English chapel and stayed overseas three years.

Also seen at David’s were Wayne and Lenora Johnson.

It’s become “fashionable” among some in our area to watch re-runs of an old television program, Daniel Boone, with Fess Parker in the title role, aired on Channel l4. I think the theme song is part of the reason. It’s fun to try to sing along, especially the last verse, “Daniel Boone was a man; yes, a big man! What a Boone! What a doer! What a dream-come-a-truer was he!”

The older folks also recall Fess Parker as Davy Crockett in a series of films by Walt Disney. Davy’s theme song was even more popular. Children all over America were singing it and dressing up like Davy Crockett. Artificial coonskin tails (Davy wore a hat made of raccoon skins) were tied to cars and to belts and worn to school. I recall my piano recital upstairs, in Forbes Music Company along Commerce Street, Montgomery. The big finale was “Davy Crockett,” played by our teacher, Mrs. Harp, pianist for First Baptist, Montgomery, at that time. As she played, we students stood in a line and sang “Davy! Davy Crockett! King of the wild frontier!” as we twirled our coonskin tails!

Seen Sunday for lunch at Dairy Queen, the oldest eatery in “the Dimple of Dixie,” still a-serving, were Dr. Rex and Billie Jo Butler and their Allen and Rexanne, Dr. Wayne and Lenora Johnson and their guest, Shelly Gill, Thagard and Linda Colvin and their daughter, Connie (Colvin) Nelson of Dothan, Connie’s daughter, Caroline, and her niece, Addison Colvin, daughter of Connie’s brother, Ray.

By the by, Shelly Gill, mentioned above, teaches a class of Zumba three nights a week in the newly renovated gym on Church Street. Her nine female students have already lost a total of 300 pounds.

David and Suzanne (Johnson) Simmons motored up from Silver Hill recently to visit her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Wayne Johnson.

Sunday night at First Baptist here young Allie Karthaus, Garrett Davis, and Coleman Thompson competed in a Bible drill before the congregation, the first of three competitions concerning use of the Bible.

Training and directing them was Joan (Hill) Mitchell, who has faithfully drilled the youth of First Baptist in Bible usage for years.

One Accord, the group of talented ladies at First Baptist, Andalusia, sang “Victory in Jesus” last Sunday morning to taped music.

Two uses of technology were impressively used in the same service at First Baptist that morning.

As the Adult Choir sang its anthem, directed by Dwight Crigger, minister of music, and accompanied by his wife, Sonia Crigger, the words of the anthem and appropriate illustrations were shown on a big screen, coordinated to match the choir’s singing.

Also, early in the service, Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor at First Baptist, spoke with a Baptist missionary in New York City, live, through something called Skype. We could see the missionary on the big screen, and he could see Dr. Karthaus. They talked back and forth as if they had been facing each other in someone’s office, seeing and hearing. I couldn’t believe it! It reminded me of the comics of my youth when the detective, Dick Tracy, used a two-way, wrist radio to communicate.

Seen at Hook’s Barbecue for supper were Tony and Julie Wells and her mother, Mary Thigpen.

Two important birthdays this past week were those of Washington Irving and William Wordsworth.

Irving, named for George Washington, was one of America’s first successful writers. He is remembered today mainly for two short stories, “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” His home, Sunnyside, along the Hudson River, New York, is lovingly preserved. One of the happiest days in his life, the Portly Gentleman told me, was idling at Sunnyside the better part of a day.

Wordsworth (his last name) is often confused with the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, because of Longfellow’s middle name, Wadsworth.

Wordsworth was an English poet whose homes in the Northern part of England still stand and are open to tourists. His most famous poem is about daffodils.

Today is the date that Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in l865, which leads me to my Sesquicentennial Moment: This past week l50 years ago Lincoln was still planning relief for Fort Sumter. (It was his way or the highway.) Virginia was still reluctant to secede. (They were sitting on the fence.) Four federal vessels were ordered to provision Fort Sumter. (Lincoln had no intention of talking peace.) The Governor of South Carolina, Pickens, was told that the federals would provision Fort Sumter and do nothing else if South Carolina offered no resistance. (Tell it to the Marines.) The South readied its forces at Charleston Harbor, where Fort Sumter lay in the hands of the federal government. (Guess what happens April l2.)

A full-page article with three pictures about Tim and Charlotte Cearley, Baptist missionaries to Africa, appeared in the March 24 issue of The Alabama Baptist, the weekly newspaper of Alabama Baptists. Charlotte (Cushing) grew up in Andalusia, the elder daughter of Dr. Harrell and Ann Cushing, one-time pastor and wife of First Baptist here.

The Covington Historical Society, founded as part of the celebration of America’s bicentennial here in Andalusia, met March 3l in the Dixon Memorial of the public library, its 362nd meeting.

Sue (Bass) Wilson, president, presided. Chaplain Bill Law led in prayer. Barbara Powell led in the pledge. Larry Shaw, songster, led the state song, “Alabama.”

Committee reports followed.

Member Sidney Waits announced that the C.H.S. now has a new web site.

Membership to the C.H.S. is $25 a year. (All adults in Andalusia ought to join and support this organization that attempts to preserve our local history, whether they attend meetings or not. Imagine, if ten programs a year are given by the Society, how much has been preserved in all these years!)

Vice-President John Scherf introduced the guest speaker, Jan White, who spoke on the King James Bible to celebrate its 400th anniversary (l6ll – 20ll).

Her talk included the riddle, “How long did Cain hate his brother?” Answer: “As long as he was Able.” Get it?

Mrs. White distributed photocopies of a page from the l6ll Bible.

I had never been to Kirkpatrick Park until last Saturday, April 2, when I attended the reception there, following the marriage of Morgan Weant and David Sanders.

The park is a beautiful spot in a quiet, Andalusia neighborhood, centered around a stone-and-brass memorial, shaped something like a pulpit, to Sallie Ann Matthews Kirkpatrick (l929 – 2004), wife of C. L. Kirkpatrick. The Kirkpatricks were married 54 years and had three sons, Amos L., Earl, and Michael B..

Mrs. Kirkpatrick was from Gantt, a member of Zion Chapel AME Church in Gantt, and a LPN from McArthur State Technical College.

All around the memorial are shaven lawns, old pines and oaks, giant azaleas, a pond, picnic tables, benches, paths, gardens, and a large pavilion, where the reception was staged.

The pavilion is open on three sides, has a stone wall with hearth at one end, and an attractive ceiling of wood.

I read on the central memorial that Mrs. Kirkpatrick was killed during Hurricane Ivan, a tragic note amid the quiet beauty of the park.

I wonder if David and Morgan realize how fortunate they were with their wedding day. The weather was perfect and the azaleas were at their zenith.

The young preacher who performed the wedding ceremony was none other than Dr. David Kees, who once served as an assistant minister at First Baptist, where the wedding was conducted. He left here to return to his home in Eufaula to help his dad with his business. Along with that he has been pastoring a church. Now he and his wife, daughter, and son plan to move to Greensboro, North Carolina, to assist in a large church of l800 that has four worship services each Sunday morning.

We fell to talking about a friend in common, Dr. Ken Bush, pastor now for over 25 years at First Baptist, Eufaula. Dr. Kees grew up in Dr. Bush’s church. Dr. Bush and I were in college (Howard, then Samford) together.

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