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

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I admired the oakleaf hydrangeas in bloom over at Covington Hall. Some high schools traditionally use those white clusters to decorate for graduation. Thank You, God, for flowers.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow. Those with living mothers should wear red roses on their clothes Sunday. Those with memories of mothers should wear white roses to Sunday School and church.

Thank You, God, for mothers.

Congratulations to Martha Givhan, piano-organist accompanist at First Baptist, Andalusia, for 25 years now. She follows in the steps of her one-time teacher and church organist, the remarkable Louise (Bozeman) Barrow.

My cousin, Jo Driggers of Lexington, S.C., correctly identified “The Plowboy Poet,” last week’s mystery person, as Kent Davis.

This week’s mystery person is tall, rugged, quiet, an “aw-shucks” sort, an “I-reckon” type, a fan of skeet shooting and car races, good with manual skills, a faithful Christian.

In church nowadays the words to hymns are more often than not projected onto big screens. Why? I do not know. About half the hymns thus projected are unfamiliar to the older generations. The music itself is not projected at all, and one doesn’t have time to open a hymnal to study the notes. One hymn after another speeds by like cars in a train. Many are left in the dark, and who is it who cares? With this in mind, someone suggested that a “bouncing ball” be used to bounce from one syllable to another so that the singers can know when to leave one note and go on to another. The bouncing ball used to be common in movie houses, believe it or not, for group singing by the moviegoers. You know, that’s not a bad idea. It might even be nicknamed “the Baptist bouncing ball.”

Dr. Rex and Billie Jo Butler with their children, Allen and Rexanne, have returned from a trip to Las Vegas where they stayed in the Excalibur Hotel, saw The Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian resort, toured the Hoover Dam, took a helicopter ride to the base of the Grand Canyon, rode a boat on the Colorado River through the canyon itself and enjoyed several of the Las Vegas shows.

Four birthdays this week should be mentioned – those of Joseph Addison, English essayist; Robert Browning, a major English poet of the Victorian Age; Johannes Brahms, German composer and pianist; and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer.

It has been said of Addison that he wrote so well that for 100 years after his life, writers imitated his style. His sentences sound as though they were written within the last hour.

Brahms is associated with that famous lullaby.

Tchaikovsky will always be associated with Andalusia because of Meryanne Martin-Murphy’s annual ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s gift for melody assures him eternal popularity.

Who is this Dr. Love I’ve heard about, the one who lives on South Cotton Street?

Seen at David’s Catfish for lunch were Michael and Montez (Girdner) Grissett; James and Jenelle Jones and her niece, Dawn (Cooper) and Dawn’s husband, Pablo Pischek; and Murray and Nan Johnson and their daughter, Cecilia (“Sissy”).

To pay respect to the King James Bible upon its 400th anniversary (1611 – 2011), I quote from Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of this nation. “In regard to this great Book I have only to say that it is the best book that God has given to man.”

For those interested in the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Jan White recommends ordering Issue 100 of Christian History, a magazine, at www.visionvideo.com or by calling l-800-584-0458.

Seen at Country Folks in Florala for the Friday-night buffet were Foster and Greta (Odom) Wells and their grandson Kaden Wells (son of their son Dennis), along with Johnny and Susan Dewrell.

The senior adults at First Baptist, Andalusia, were honored this past Sunday. Gordon Vickers, who works with the older members of the congregation, presented plaques to the man and woman selected by their peers as outstanding, Voncile Stone and Craig Purnell.

I want to encourage each citizen here in “the Dimple of Dixie” to join the Covington Historical Society, whether he attends meetings or not. Annual dues are $25. All of us need to support efforts to preserve our local history; this is one way to do so.

To continue our commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let’s return to this week 150 years ago.

Gen. Winfield Scott, general-in-chief of the federal army, announced the Anaconda Plan to surround the Confederacy and squeeze it with blockades, a successful effort. From the South commissioners visited England to meet the British foreign minister to gain recognition for the Confederacy, an unsuccessful effort. Arkansas seceded. (It’s a good thing or Curtis and Margie never would have seen eye-to-eye!) Tennessee leaned toward secession. On May 6 the Confederacy declared a state of war between it and the United States. They might as well because Mr. Lincoln was already acting like uninvited company.

Teachers and support personnel from Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties, which comprise District 24 of the Alabama Education Association, met April 18 at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen for their monthly meeting.

Jacqueline Earthly, vice-president, presided in the absence of Jimmy Ponds, president and librarian at Straughn Elementary, who is recuperating from heart surgery.

The last meeting of the year, to install officers, was set for May 9.

Vice-President Earthly provided a supper of slaw, potato salad, baked beans with hamburger and sausages, two types of chicken, rolls, cakes and soda, on behalf of Escambia County.

Attending were Norma Gavras, Dianne McKenzie (district treasurer), Emma Locke, Ethel M. Robertson, Vivian Jones (district director), Calvin McIntyre, Lavon Merrills, Jason Davidson, Janelle Riley, Keisha Smith and Joe Wingard (district secretary).

It is obvious, even to a simpleton like me, that the Republican Legislature in Montgomery is out to knock Paul Hubbert down and kick him again and again, in revenge. They are getting “carried away,” though, and are now “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” Their actions have begun to hurt good teachers, which in turn hurts Alabama’s future and the Legislature’s own children and grandchildren. Let God take care of the vengence.

Have you bought some Sesquicentennial stamps yet?

Connie Beasley tells me she was not in her old location “forever.” It was 27 years.

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

Bellingrath Gardens at Theodore near Mobile is open almost daily.

The older Baptists in our county attended their sixth annual Senior Adult Revival, sponsored by the Covington Baptist Association, at Bethany Baptist May 3, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m..

The program began with two commanding anthems by the Glory Singers, the senior-adult choir of First Baptist, Andalusia, led by Dwight Crigger, minister of music. Craig Purnell playfully refers to the group as “Crigger’s Critters.” They were accompanied by the talented Martha Givhan, recently featured in the new magazine, South Alabama Living.

Crigger then led the congregation in the ever-popular “Victory in Jesus.”

The youthful Josh Wilson, pastor at Bethany, next welcomed all and led in prayer.

Ron Patterson, minister of music at Southside Baptist in Andalusia, led the congregational singing of “Down at the Cross” and “There’s Power in the Blood,” accompanied by Byrom Lambert, administrative assistant of the CBA.

Patterson quipped that he was afraid of a group where half had sticks in their hands (yuk! yuk!).

The handsome Greg Cotter, minister at Harmony Baptist, led then in pastoral prayer.

Byrom at the piano and Patterson with his trumpet played a duet medley of hymns beautifully.

Larry Cummings, director of missions for the CBA, introduced the speaker.

Special music was shared by Flight of Faith, three ladies from Southside Baptist, Andalusia, who sang to taped music. They were Betty Davis, Lynn King and Fran Patterson.

Herbert Brown, formerly a pastor in Covington County, now at Southside Baptist in Greenville, delivered a strong sermon, often interrupted by “amens” and applause.

Brown shocked all by stating that only 4 percent of the younger generation have been churched.

The hymn of invitation was “Just as I Am.”

Hunter Kinsaul, a recent graduate of Auburn and a member at Bethany, gave his testimony, obviously impassioned for the salvation of his generation, and then led in a closing prayer.

Those present moved from the handsome, new auditorium with its beautiful stained-glass windows and wooden ceiling to the spacious and attractive, light-filled, new fellowship hall.

There the tables had been laid with white cloths and decorated with centerpieces of garden gloves, flower pots, packets of seeds and greenery, and other designs created by Brenda Gantt.

Guests moved through four lines for the buffet of ham, cheesy potato casserole, pineapple casserole and green beans. Tea, yeast rolls and Mrs. Dean’s cakes waited at each table.

Seeing so many old friends made me feel that I had died and gone to Heaven; it was a joyous occasion!

The Covington Historical Society, organized during America’s bicentennial celebration as a permanent project, along with the World Domino Tournament, met April 28 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Sue (Bass) Wilson, president, presided, calling the 363rd meeting to order. (Miss Sue! She runs this town; she do!)

William Blocker led the pledge.

Bill Law worded the invocation.

Sidney Waits, one of Andalusia’s grand, old historians, suggested that the group observe silent prayer for the victims of the April 27 tornadoes that ravaged North Alabama. Sue Wilson closed the silent prayers.

Larry Shaw led in “Alabama,” the state song.

Secretary Evelyn Murphree, Corresponding Secretary Nancy Robbins and Treasurer Sandy Pochert made reports.

New yearbooks for 2011, bound in yellow, were distributed.

Harmon Proctor, chairman of the Museum Committee, stated that the museum is open 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Sundays. He added that Robert Williams has painted some of the museum’s white trim attractively and that a handsome gift has been given by the daughter of Jim Bundy, a former member, in his memory, along with items for the country store.

John Scherf announced that he has arranged with Mayor Earl Johnson for one employee of the library to work in the museum a few hours a week.

Jan White filmed the meeting.

Easter-egg nests were placed on tables for centerpieces.

A display of pictures and script, preserved by Sidney Waits, was arranged for all to see.

An array of refreshments was offered members and guests.

For the program Mrs. Wilson assigned parts of letters to be read by members present. The excerpts were from letters written by John Crittenden during the War Between the States. His kinsman, Bill Avant, had typed the letters and lent some to Mrs. Wilson. The excerpts were both funny and sad and ended with missives informing Crittenden’s family that he had died.

This program was designed to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States.

Senior parties, a century-old, social custom in Andalusia, have begun for graduating seniors of the Andalusia High School.

If you want your senior party mentioned in this column, please leave notes or write-ups about it at the newspaper office. I would very much like to have a record of your party.

The senior-class president, Callie Marie Crigger, was honored at her home on Meadowbrook Drive Sat., April 30, l p.m. – 3 p.m. with a luau, hosted by Shelly Dooley, Candy Parker, Debbie Marcum, Amy Sewell (her aunt), and Joe and Joyce Sewell (her maternal grandparents). Callie Marie’s grandparents and aunt were in church the next morning as her mother, Sonia, played the piano, and her dad, Dwight, led the music (he is minister of music at First Baptist, Andalusia).

Callie Marie, by the way, was also president of her class during her sophomore and junior years.

Guests enjoyed fruity drinks with those little umbrellas, swimming, the limbo, and volleyball; and, as has been said for generations, a “good time was had by all.”

Bethany Godwin, a senior at AHS, was the center of attention at a backyard cookout with hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage dogs and all the trimmings.

Guests arrived with flip-flops, swimsuits and towels Sat., April 30, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the home of Jeffery and Cathy Martin on Jacobs Road.

AHS Senior Aubrey Carol Boyington was recognized Tues., May 3, with a 5:30 p.m. dinner, hosted by Mrs. Robert O’Neal and Mrs. David Bryant at Rosewood Lane.

Anna Locklier, an AHS senior, was honored Sun., March 27, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. with a party at the home of Paul and Jenny Rogers on Lindsey Bridge Road. Hostesses were Patty Ashworth and Vanessa Nelson.

AHS Senior Anna Bay McCord was treated to an all-girl, ice-cream-sundae party on Sun., April 3, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the home of her aunt, Donna Glisson, on Diane Drive. Hostesses were Melissa (McCord) Amos, her sister; Donna Glisson, her aunt; and Tammy Holley. The main activity was for each girl to make a scrapbook page about her and Miss McCord. These were combined into a memory book.

John Starr, a senior at AHS, was honored with a graduation party April 17, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., at the home of Paul and Jenny Rogers.

Hostesses included Mary Dutton, Suzanne Cotton, Francie Chambers, Jackie Henderson, Shelly Nall, Susan Pitts and Jenny Searcy.

The traditional Senior Class Night of the Andalusia High School was attended Mon., May 2, in Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. The Methodists have, for generations, lent their hall to graduating seniors for a get-together before graduation, a time for eating (one time it was called the junior-senior banquet) and fellowship (Class Night).

A printed program included the following: signing a guest book, a covered-dish supper, greetings by the president, Callie Marie Crigger; pledge led by Shelby Strong, class secretary; invocation by Sam Fairley, vice-president; remarks by Principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare; class history read by Jamie Park, historian; class poem by Maggie Jones, poet; entertainment and class video by the seniors; a benediction by Taylor Donaldson, songster; and the alma mater, accompanied by Anna Bay McCord, class pianist.

The class motto is “Our lives are before us; our pasts are behind us; but our memories are forever with us.”

The class yell is “We party hard 24/7; we’re the Class of 2011!”

Class colors are black and red.

The class flower is the red rose.

The class song is “I’m Not Gonna Cry.”

Class sponsors are Dr. Louise Anderson, Daniel Bulger, Richard Robertson, Angie Sasser and Tina Rogers.

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