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

Published 7:13 pm Friday, May 20, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed across the way several mimosa trees, covered in their delicate, pink blooms, like girls dressed for the ballet.

Morgan Palmer and Morgan Wells, seniors at the Andalusia High School, were honored with a slip-and-slide, water party Sunday afternoon, May 15, at the home of Doug and Sandy Redding on Pruitt Road in Gantt.

AHS seniors, Kayla McClain and Jamie Park, were feted Saturday evening, May 14, with a dance party in the Kiwanis Building. David St. Roman sang with a live band. Crawfish and barbecue were served. There was quite a turn-out!

Megan Pugh, AHS senior, was spotlighted Sunday afternoon, May 15, with an “Amazing Race” around Andalusia, a game party sponsored by Tim and Melanie Day, Jennifer Scherzinger and Bob and Shan Burkhardt.

AHS senior Aubrey Boyington was the honoree Saturday evening, May 7, at the Boyington farm off Rose Hill Road. The youth gathered for food, fun, games, and a hayride.

Kaitlyn Jeter, AHS senior, was the center of attention the evening of May 8 at Bluebell Drive. Her senior-party hostesses were Wendy Weaver and Amanda Harper.

Maggie Casebier, AHS senior, was treated to a pool party Saturday afternoon, May 7, at the LeComptes’ home off Antioch Road. Her hosts were Bayne and Colleen Petrey.

Leland G. Enzor Jr., was guest speaker at the monthly luncheon of the senior adults of First Baptist, East Three-Notch, May 17.

Enzor, a local attorney, was reared in First Baptist but is today a member of the First United Methodist Church down the street.

He spoke of the summer he spent at Shocco, the Baptist camp in Talladega, of the good influence of Mary Hill, of his salvation, and of being baptized by Bob Marsh, then, the pastor at First Baptist.

A graduate of the University of Alabama and Jones Law School, “Lee” was greatly influenced by his father, the late probate judge, Leland Enzor. Lee spoke humbly, warmly, and lovingly of his beloved father, of his wisdom, and knowledge.

The program consisted of a series of questions about probate law from the audience, which Lee answered directly, expertly, and simply.

With Lee was his lovely wife, Katherine (Crew), the mother of their Katie and Lee.

The lunch in the Fellowship Hall was catered by Green’s – roast with potatoes and carrots, rice and gravy, rolls, fried bread, butter beans, chocolate cake, and tea.

Dr. Morgan Moore provided a cornucopia of beautiful blooms from his garden, which were arranged as centerpieces by Betty Bass and Judy Buck in the absence of Trudie Vickers, who is recovering from surgery. “Flowerdy” napkins matched the bouquets.

Gordon Vickers presided, and Joe Wingard worded the blessing.

Dr. Moore and Graham Tucker were recognized as having May birthdays. Dwight Crigger, minister of music, led in “Happy Birthday.”

Sue (Bass) Wilson, local real-estate agent and president of the Covington Historical Society, motored to Greenville, Sunday afternoon, May l, to attend a meeting of the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society in the Greenville City Hall.

She bragged on the petit fours, served by a new bakery in Greenville. They are all the rage over in “the Camellia City.” (I hope the Portly Gentleman reads this.)

After the meeting “Miss Sue” (she runs this town; she do!) drove to the cemetery at Liberty United Methodist Church, located only a mile or so off Highway 65. She found there the graves of her great-great-grandfather and -mother, Henry Oliver Seale and Susan (Henderson) Seale, early settlers in this area.

Sue said that if she had known the graves were so easy to find and so near at hand that she would have gone there years ago.

She added that she felt her ancestors knew somehow that she had found them and was there.

Henry O. Seale, by the way, was a Confederate soldier in the 17th Regiment of the Alabama Infantry and was captured and imprisoned in the infamous Camp Douglas near Chicago.

Sir Francis McGowin, commander of the local camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, at my request, recorded his latest travels for me. Here is a record in his own words.

“We (he and his wife Anne) motored the highways through the pine forests and the Alabama Delta for four days in the Mobile area. We attended a reunion of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment,Vietnam era. The hit highlight for me was conducting a memorial service on the deck of the USS Alabama for the Marines from Alabama, killed in Vietnam. Anne and I also visited local, historical sites.

“Upon our return we motored to Troy for me to speak at a symposium on the War Between the States. Despite – or maybe because of – the many doctors present, my speech appeared to be well received. I have received an ‘atta-boy’ letter from Dr. MacPherson.

“A day later we motored to Huntsville to visit friends. The road was not so pretty north of Montgomery, as evidence of tornadic destruction littered the trees, still standing; and former structures were too broken up even to be good kindling wood.

“Let me encourage all of us to be very generous to our fellow Southerners in their hour of need!

“Leaving Huntsville, we motored north to Franklin, Tenn., the site of the historic battle of Nov. 30, 1864, that almost destroyed the Army of Tennessee of the Confederate States of America. Five Confederate generals were killed that day.

“The next day we attended a double ceremony in which Adam Weatherell received his Eagle Scout badge and Savanah Weatherell received her Gold award, the highest awards a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout can earn. This brother and sister are the grandchildren of Joan Watterson (his wife’s sister) and her late husband, the minister, Don Watterson (who served as interim pastor at First Baptist at one time).

“We motored back to Andalusia on Sunday, once again observing the destructive power of tornadoes.

“On Monday I spoke to the Kiwanis Club on a few of the accepted myths in American history.”

I want to thank Sir Francis for sharing his travels.

Last Sunday at First Baptist, Andalusia, the Baraca Class Quartet sang “He Touched Me” in three Sunday-School assemblies. Kim Dyess, Casey Thompson, Dwight Crigger and Joe Wingard were accompanied by Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland at the piano. She also served as church organist that morning.

Dyess said that Mrs. Kirkland accompanied the first quartet in which he sang.

In morning worship One Accord, the ladies’ ensemble at First Baptist, sang a medley, using a tape. Later they sang “We Will Walk in the Lord” a cappella.

Singing were Teresa Nelson, Frances Rabren, Beverly Farrington, Sharon Bulger, Linda Finlin, Janet Brantley and Charlotte Rogers.

Two high-school students, Erica Ziglar and Jeremy Boyd, accompanied the congregational singing with her trumpet and his saxophone.

Nathan Tubbs, originally from Clanton, now a missionary in New York, spoke on the Christian work there.

Tubbs identified himself as the great-nephew of Kathleen Mock, who once ran a kindergarten in Andalusia. He also mentioned that one of his good friends is Jeanice Kirkland’s grandson.

Mrs. Kirkland, by the way, played a beautiful piano offertory, “Share His Love.”

Tubbs shocked the congregation by stating that 97 percent of the people in his mission field do not know Jesus.

After church a meal was served in Fellowship Hall to raise money to send some of the church members later on a mission trip to Haiti. The menu was fried catfish, hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, cheese grits, an assortment of desserts and tea. Money was made from donations.

Martha (James) Givhan, local piano teacher, presented her pupils in two recitals, one after the other, last Sunday afternoon, May 15, in the chapel of First Baptist.

The chapel was decorated with Boston ferns and three bouquets of spring flowers.

Printed programs in salmon detailed the pieces played by each at the Ann Martin baby-grand piano.

Mrs. Givhan wore a wrist corsage, the gift of Katherine Finley.

Mrs. Givhan put all at ease with her friendly and pleasant manner.

However, some fathers and grandfathers looked like deer caught in the headlights.

Three students played duets with their teacher.

Hannah Lawless and her mother, Deidra Burleson, played “Just as I Am” together. That was a tender moment.

Jean Jones teamed with her granddaughter, little Ada Short, for a duet of “God Is So Good.” That was sweetness itself.

Special attention was paid to Mrs. Givhan’s two high-school seniors, Anna Bay McCord and Sunny Moody.

Anna Bay, pianist for the AHS Class of 20ll, and Mrs. Givhan exchanged bouquets of red roses and presentation flowers.

Anna Bay has taken lessons for 10 years with Mrs. Givhan.

Sunny Moody, a senior, schooled at home, was the first pupil Mrs. Givhan had. He was only 5-years-old at the time and more interested in her cat than in the piano, she said.

Sunny, by the way, played “Flutter,” a piece he had composed himself.

Anna Bay and Sunny performed in both recitals.

Playing in the first recital were Abigayle Mancil, Emory Garner, Hope Caton, Stephen Caton, Greeley Foshee, Riley Grace Lowery, Katherine Finley, Hannah Lawless, Baylee Robertson, Hayden Willis, Laura Gatlin, Laura Lea Blatz, Loni Blatz, Collin Ward and Tessa Walker.

Playing in the second recital were Sung Mo, Addison Mount, Ellis Mount, Ada Short, Ali Brown, Anna Beth Bowden, Grant Holley, Adeline Fischer, C.J. Capps, Bronwyn Smith, Jonathan Bryant and Caroline Andrews.

Brandi Evans, member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and a teacher of English at Florala High School, and Patsy Laird Peoples, teacher of English, French, and yearbook sponsor at FHS, spent their spring break in Reykjuvik, Iceland, and in Boston.

They toured the countryside of Iceland, visiting the Blue Lagoon, a volcano, geysers, waterfalls and walking on a glacier.

Paige Irwin’s black-and-white “photo” of her grandfather’s hands, holding his harmonica, won at the Covington County Fair and then placed “best of show” and first place in the Covington County Schools’ art contest. The winning photo was then submitted to the state superintendent’s art contest, where it received honorable mention, one of only five awards in the 11th-and-12th grade, photo category. She is a photo student on the FHS yearbook, sponsored by Patsy Laird Peoples.

The Portly Gentleman mentioned to me some fine work of art he had seen displayed at the Alabama Writers Symposium on the campus of Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville the first weekend in May. James Neal’s pen-and-ink sketches struck him as “classic.” Neal resides in Bay Minette. The big, bold colors of Jane Sellier of Fairhope also impressed him.

The Portly Gentleman discussed the art with Susan Brown, who teaches art at Alabama Southern.

Today is the birthday of Alexander Pope, English poet who wrote almost exclusively in iambic pentameter. He is probably more quoted than any other poet in our language except for Shakespeare. When I was in England, I searched out the chapel on the outskirts of London where Pope lies buried and paid my respects. There was a wedding there that day; and I managed to ease in and look around once the wedding ended. One of Pope’s famous lines is “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” a line later sung by Elvis Presley to a beautiful melody as he explained, “I can’t help falling in love with you.”

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote President William McKinley, “The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”

Again, I ask that each citizen of Andalusia join the Covington Historical Society and pay its annual dues of $25 so as to help preserve the history of our county. Even if you cannot attend meetings, you could give your financial backing. I ask the Mayor and Council to set the example and all join up.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us go back to this week 150 years ago.

The Union attacked the CSA at Sewall’s Point, Va.

North Carolina voted for secession. (That secession may have had something to do with Mr. Lincoln’s blockade of ports in Virginia and North Carolina, although they were still in the Union, as well as the invasion of Virginia.)

Also, U.S. marshals appropriated telegraph dispatches from 1860, looking for pro-secessionist evidence.

The capital of the CSA was relocated to Richmond, Virginia, from our own Montgomery. Richmond would remain the capital through the end of the War.

Have you bought any Sesquicentennial stamps yet?

Mary Nell Johnson of Opp, formerly of “the Dimple of Dixie,” has correctly identified the mystery person as John Hill. Congratulations!

This week’s mysterian is a Christian lady, hardworking, single, manager of some apartments, a minister and a Civitan.

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.

Thursday, May 12, I attended the 2 p.m. funeral of John D. Stokes at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ. The body lay in state thirty minutes before the funeral.

Mr. Stokes was dressed in a pinstripe suit with a white shirt and print four-in-hand. The casket was open and overlaid with a blanket of red roses interspersed with white mums. A bank of floral tributes flanked the coffin.

Donald Knox, a member of the Church, led three songs that were selected as special to Mr. Stokes, “Wonderful City of God,” “Victory in Jesus,” and “As the Life of a Flower.”

Fred Segrest, Mr. Stokes’s son-in-law, spoke after the first hymn, describing his father-in-law as a “servant of God,” and offering thanks from the family for all of the kindnesses done for his wife’s father.

Segrest spoke in detail of Mr. Stokes’s long life (he died at 94) and exemplary character and ended with prayer.

Mr. Stokes was widely respected and much loved and much admired.

Following a second song, Larry Turman, who is married to one of Mr. Stokes’s granddaughters, spoke of his wife’s grandfather as “a man of his word,” and asked of the congregation, “Are you going to meet him in Heaven?”

Turman also spoke in detail of Stokes’ life, reading scripture and offering prayer.

Stokes died in the local hospital at 4:30 a.m. on May 10.

Knox ended the service with a third song.

It was only a short way out the side door to the Cedar Grove Cemetery. There, under a tent, Turman offered brief words and prayer.

John D. had told many of us that he was ready to go.

If ever there were a man of faith, it was he.

He lived his life as a Christian, a farmer, a good neighbor, a faithful church-goer, a loving husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, son, a dependable friend, an ideal citizen, a man who was hard-working, honest, trustworthy, humble, kind, considerate, appreciative, moral, upright, thrifty, righteous, conservative, wise and loyal.

John D. Stokes could shake hands in doing business. There was no need to sign anything. He was that kind of man. When shall we see his like again?

His daughter, Gail Segrest, wrote a booklet about his life when her father turned 90. It is excellent, and I encourage the family to put a copy of it in the local library so that all may check it out and read it. Gentle reader, your children and grandchildren will be better off if they take John D.’s life to heart.

I’ll quote a bit of it.

“John D. Stokes was born Aug. 31, 1916, one of six children born to Lee and Bama (Fuqua) Stokes. Little John D. was born into a world very different from the world of 2006, 90 years later. In fact, there may very well be more life changes during this ninety-year time period than in any other in history.

“Woodrow Wilson was president but was elected without the women’s vote. Men who voted had to pay poll tax. Nearly all of Alabama voters were Democrats.

“More people lived in the country than in the cities. The average life span for men was 49 years, and the U.S. population was 91.6 million (compared with almost 300 million today). Few people had cars, electricity, indoor plumbing, phones, radios; and television would not be available to the average person until the l950s. Airplanes were talked about rather than seen.

“In-home heating was fueled by wood chopped by hand; homes were lighted with kerosene lamps; and cooking was done on wood stoves. There were blacksmith shops, but no garages. There were no monthly bills, no income tax for most people, and no social security.

“Water fountains were provided in twos inside businesses, with signs that read ‘colored’ or ‘white’ on each. Black people weren’t allowed to go into the restrooms. However, if a black family lived in or near the community, they were treated well by those who knew them.

“Families and neighbors were close. Children were taught to respect parents. Divorce was rare.”

Perhaps I can share more of Gail’s book in the future. It just gets better.

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