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

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I thought of how hot last week was and wondered if the heat were a prediction of a long, hot summer.

Herb and Sue Carlisle were all up in the air last week, flying to Branson to see four of the shows and then to New York City for the graduation ceremony for Herb’s son, who had earned his master’s in mental health.

I enjoyed lunch at Tabby D.’s with Maggie Shelley the other day. She is an interesting person, a retired teacher after 37 years and the president of her Sunday-School class at the First United Methodist Church, with roots in nearby Samson. She does her own yard work and housework and makes her own cards on her computer.

Representatives of the Alabama Education Association in District 24 (Conecuh, Covington, Escambia counties) met May 9 at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen for their last meeting of the school year.

Attending were Adrian Hixon, Rita Folmar, Dianne McKenzie, Beverly Wade, Joe Wingard, Warrick Maye, Ethel M. Robertson, Vivian Jones (district director), Holley Tullis, Sandra Tullis, Jacqueline Earthly, Janelle Riley, Calvin McIntyre and Rebekah Sullivan.

Vice-President Jacqueline Earthly presided in the absence of President Jimmy Ponds, librarian for Straughn Elementary, who is recovering from heart surgery.

New officers were elected for the next two years: Jacqueline Earthly, president; Calvin McIntyre, vice-president; Joe Wingard, secretary; and Dianne McKenzie, treasurer.

A summer AEA workshop for district educators is set for July 29 at Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

All local AEA chapters in District 24 are asked to elect and report new officers by May 30.

District 24 sent a monetary gift for the tornado victims in North Alabama through the AEA Relief Fund.

A graduation luau honoring Lauren Beasley, senior at the Andalusia High School, was attended the afternoon of May 21 at Gantt Lake, sponsored by J.T. and Frances Cauley, Mike and Donna Cauley and Leon and Cathy Crowe. Activities included grass skirts, crazy shirts and swimming.

Another luau for AHS graduating seniors was on the calendar for the afternoon of May 20 at the home of Dr. Bill and Sherry Tillman, along the Heath-River Falls Road. It, too, was a “swimmer.” The honoree was Aubrey Boyington.

AHS Seniors Haley Moody and Shelby Strong were the center of attention at Haley’s house the afternoon of May 24 for a “swimmer” senior party.

Jamie Park and Robert Woodall, AHS seniors and childhood friends, were treated to a graduation party the afternoon of May 25 at Point A Lodge. Lined up for fun were food, skiing, and tubing. Hosting were David and Laura Darby, John and Martha Givhan, David and Carol Moore and John and Sharon Parham.

AHS Senior Penny White was spotlighted the afternoon of May 21 with a barbecue-cupcake party in the Shaw Recreation Building, hosted by Tonya Williams and Natalie Brundidge.

High-school seniors who attend First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch, were honored Sun., May 22, with a breakfast, recognition in morning worship, and luncheon the day of baccalaureate.

Dr. Jon and Teresa Ward hosted the breakfast at 8:30 in their home on Sanford Road. They and Amy (Pitts) Dugger provided a breakfast casserole, hash-brown casserole, fruit, juice, and pastries.

Each senior’s place was identified cleverly with a single picture of the senior. Each senior also found at his seat a letter from his parents, and a gift, a book of devotions.

Besides the seniors, guests were Dr. and Mrs. Fred Karthaus, the pastor and his wife (Connie), and Michael and Carryssa Rodriquez, minister to youth and his wife.

In morning worship at First Baptist the graduating seniors marched in, dressed in their robes and mortarboards, as the congregation stood. They sat on the second pew in the middle.

Boston ferns with ivy (a symbol of education) flanked the podium. Red roses, the AHS Class of 2011 flower, centered the altar, and remained for baccalaureate that afternoon.

Rodriguez called the seniors by name, along with their parents; and Dr. Karthaus presented each with books on courage and DVDs of current worship songs. Parents joined their seniors, and Dr. Karthaus offered a prayer for all.

Participating were Lauren Beasley (Mindy and Layton), Callie-Marie Crigger (Dwight and Sonia), Justin Dooley (Shelley and Mark), Anna Bay McCord (Lynne and the late Greg), Sunny Moody (Elaine and Maxwell), Megan Pugh (Ann and Mark), Grace Spears (Laura and Dale), Shelby Strong (Cindy and Bill), Stinson Thompson (Kim and Casey), Hannah Twitty (Lynn and John) and Devin Williamson (Paula and Alan).

Callie-Marie’s dad, Dwight Crigger, minister of music at First Baptist, led the singing in worship; and her mother, Sonia, sang a solo, “Find Your Wings,” to the seniors while a series of photographs of each senior was displayed on wall screens.

John Twitty led the deaf ministry during the service.

Casey Thompson sang in the Adult Choir.

All the seniors except for Hannah Twitty and Sunny Moody were from AHS. Hannah hailed from Straughn, and Sunny was schooled at home.

Dr. Karthaus directed his sermon, “Learn Something New,” to the seniors. His four points were to learn something from everyone, to learn to be good at something, to learn to see the spiritual side of life, and to learn that knowledge is not a throne.

The Irene Hines Bell Choir gently rang “Jesus Loves Me” as the seniors exited.

A luncheon for the seniors, their families, and other guests followed in Fellowship Hall. The food and decorations were provided by several Sunday-School classes. Each senior introduced those at his table and received a 2011 gold dollar as a keepsake.

AHS baccalaureate followed in the auditorium of First Baptist at 2:30 p.m..

The Irene Hines Bell Choir, directed by Dwight Crigger, rang “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Ringing were Mrs. Paul Armstrong, Mrs. David Brantley, Mrs. Kip Carter, Mrs. Don Cotton, Mrs. Kim Dyess, Mrs. Jay Farrington, Mrs. Kenneth Johnson, Mrs. James Krudop, Mrs. Jimmy Marley, Mrs. Willis Polk, Mrs. Doyle Prescott, Mrs. Steven Thomas and Mrs. John Twitty.

The AHS Class of 2011, in robes and mortarboards, marched down the two central aisles, meeting in the middle of the first pew as John Beasley, math instructor at AHS and organist for his 32nd year, played Handel’s “Largo.” Beasley, who has taught 38.5 years at AHS, plans to retire this spring.

Paula Sue Duebelt, AHS choral teacher, led all in the “Doxology.” Mrs. Duebelt retired three years ago and was replaced by Mrs. Crigger. Mrs. Crigger, however, took a job as choral director in Greenville when our city schools ran low in funds; and Mrs. Duebelt was called out of retirement to teach music again, but only part-time.

Callie-Marie Crigger, president of the senior class (as she was of the junior and sophomore classes, too), daughter of Dwight and Sonia Crigger, recited Psalm XIX: l4, traditionally quoted from the King James Bible.

Mrs. Duebelt led all in a hymn, “Lead on, O King Eternal.”

Callie-Marie then led all in “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The Irene Hines Bell Choir rang “You Raise Me Up.”

Sam Fairley, vice-president of his class, read II Timothy 3: l4 – l5, using the Bible, bound in red, given by the Class of l973.

Mrs. Duebelt next sang “Hymn of Promise.”

Dr. Fred W. Karthaus III, pastor of First Baptist, delivered the baccalaureate, “How to Graduate.” This was his second AHS baccalaureate since moving to Andalusia.

The Irene Hines Bell Choir rang the vespers, “I Love Thee,” followed by the benediction, worded by Callie-Marie.

Mrs. Duebelt then, once again, as she so often has in the past, filled the sanctuary with the tremendous power of her voice as she sang “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The seniors exited as Mr. Beasley played Wagner’s “Grand March” from Tannhauser.

Marshals leading the seniors in and out were Stephen Caton, Samantha Hill, Michael Kelley and Meredith Tillman. Cord bearers were Candace Cravey and Sung Mo.

Ushers were Hunter Albritton, Alectricia Barnes, Adrianna Carpenter, Kristen Evans, Pierre Johnson and Catherine Grace Searcy.

Although the marshals wore the traditional white, the ushers this year, for the first time, wore black dresses, as did the sweet girl graduates, who traditionally have worn white for symbolic reasons and coolness. Louise Anderson and Allison Foshee served as line marshals.

Nicole Jackson directed the Usher Club for her sixth year. She was assisted by Tina Rogers.

Donna Cauley served for her first year as grand marshal.

Birthdays this week were those of Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish creator of Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World (forerunner of the Jurassic movies); South Carolina (the eighth state but the first to secede); Queen Victoria, who ruled England almost 64 years (we have yet to see if her descendant, Elizabeth, the current Queen of England, will out rule her); Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American poet/essayist who wrote, “Hitch your wagon to a star”; and Thomas Moore, the Irish poet who wrote, “The heart that has truly loved never forgets/ But as truly loves on to the close.”

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote President Herbert Hoover, who said, “As a nation we are indebted to the Book of Books for our national ideals and representative institutions. Their preservation rests in adhering to its principles.”

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 county commissioners to help out.

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

Virginia, at last, secedes, though the Western part of the state remains loyal to the Union. (Today it is a separate state.) Richmond, Va., had already become the new capital of the Confederacy even though the state had not officially seceded.

Federal troops occupy Alexandria, Va., the lovely, old town across the Potomac River from Washington.

The first Union combat fatality of the War occurs when a Union soldier tries to remove a Confederate flag from a hotel roof. The hotelkeeper kills the soldier and, in turn, is killed himself.

Union blockades are established at Mobile and New Orleans.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps.

Mavene Nichols correctly identified the mysterian as Lena Boswell.

This week’s mysterian is tall, wiry, athletic, a coach fiercely devoted to basketball, often teased for his distinctive speech.

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.

A memorial service for Edith Vesta (Daniel) Kennedy was attended Sat., May 21, beginning at l p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch. Mrs. Kennedy was a member there.

The altar was arranged with lace-cap hydrangeas, magnolias, daylilies, roses, and a dozen photographs from Mrs. Kennedy’s life. There was no casket as the deceased wished to be cremated.

Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, a friend for almost 40 years and one-time, next-door neighbor, played organ preludes and accompaniment for all singing.

All stood as the family entered.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music at First Baptist, led all in “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

Songs dealing with little children were selected because they were the great concern and love of Mrs. Kennedy’s life.

Mrs. Kirkland delivered the first of three eulogies, pointing out that both her family and Mrs. Kennedy’s were active in Baptist churches, loved the University of Montevallo (Mrs. Kirkland’s mother, as well as Edith, her mother, and her grandmother – in 1902 – all finished there, as well as Edith’s son Bill and his wife Angie), were from small, Wiregrass, historical towns, and loved reading, learning and music. Both came to own organs and pianos.

“Above all,” Mrs. Kirkland said, “we loved our families and all children.”

Edith’s boys, Bill (4) and Jimmy (2), were “bookend” friends of the Kirklands’ younger daughter, Susan (3).

Said Mrs. Kirkland, “When I returned to teaching that fall, Edith volunteered to care for Susan at her house as she did the two children of Clayton and Barbara Bryant, as well as Bill and Jimmy. However, unlike other childcare homes at that time, Edith didn’t just baby sit; she taught these little ones, just as she did youngsters at church. Small tables and chairs were in the kitchen and dining room. Children explored art, clay, and other creative endeavors. Books were read to them and games played, all planned by Edith for educating young minds at a very early age. She just knew how to engage and teach children, even though her college training had not been in education.

“When our Susan was 5, our lives were turned upside down when she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. We were told she might live three years. Edith was a rock for me; many hours were spent, talking and sometimes crying together. We laughed as we thanked God years later when Susan proved doctors wrong by living a full and happy life until her death at age 22. Through it all I benefited from Edith’s emotional strength, encouragement, and constant reminders that our Lord is in control and still can bring about miracles, which we think He did with Susan. Edith’s faith, strength, and positive thinking enabled her to deal with life’s challenges, and she taught numerous others how to do the same.

“Edith was gifted with many talents and abilities. She was highly intelligent and constantly increasing her knowledge, even returning to college later in life. She had a knack for math and technology and computers when most of us still thought a mouse belonged in a trap. She went home to Clayton (her hometown) where she created a website for the library and added much software programs needed and used by students today. This understanding of technology was a blessing when Edith lost her ability to speak. She communicated by e-mail and used her laptop when someone visited. Almost all her e-mails asked how we were, and she never complained of her situation. When Edith could move nothing but her right thumb, she used a special device and screen where she slowly typed her thoughts. As a former English teacher, I laughed as she insisted on typing everything correctly – all spelling and punctuation was right or she laboriously deleted it and started over.

“That type of insistence to do things right, her way, was typical of Edith. Her bulldog tenacity in solving problems enabled her to cope with the illness and loss of her husband and parents, as well as throughout her life, helping and mentoring others who had great need in her profession with the Department of Human Resources and later, volunteering with Red Cross and working in health clinics. Certainly her determined spirit and true grit helped Edith to face her greatest challenge ever – ALS. What an inspiration she was!

“Edith and Bill’s greatest accomplishment was rearing two fine sons, Bill and Jimmy.”

Mrs. Kirkland ended her eulogy with two light-hearted stories about the Kennedy boys.

Crigger led next in the hymn, “Praise Him, All Ye Little Children.”

Then Helen Gibbs Couch, Edith’s sister, delivered a second eulogy. She spoke of her sister’s working in their daddy’s grocery in Clayton, Ala., and of attending Clayton Baptist, where Edith “fell in love with Jesus”

and witnessed of Him to Helen right away.

At a young age, Edith began helping others and was totally devoted to the care of children.

She became a professional social worker and, eventually, the matriarch of her family.

Her interests included reading Pat Conroy, music, and movies.

Even when disease consumed her, she was determined to go on.

Said Helen, “A person is never dead as long as she is remembered.”

Crigger, who had worked with Edith through the children’s choirs of the church, then sang a solo, “How Great Thou Art,” accompanied by Mrs. Kirkland.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, Edith’s pastor, delivered the third eulogy and prayed.

He told of her birth in Clayton, her parents, James and Helen (Tate) Daniel, of her graduation from the Clayton High School (Class of l958), from Alabama College in l962 (now the University of Montevallo), from the University of Alabama, of her 48 years as a social worker, of her 41 years of marriage to William “Bill” E. Kennedy Jr. (one-time teacher of history at AHS), of her active part in First Baptist, of her love for children, of her being a Red Cross worker in the Pentagon, helping right after 9-11.

Dr. Karthaus said that Edith knew how to love because she knew the love of her Saviour.

He said that she was kind, considerate, and caring, a Christian and a witness of Jesus to others.

He added that she embraced technology, especially when affected by ALS.

A video presentation of Edith’s life in pictures, shown to the song, “I Can Only Imagine,” followed.

The congregation sang a last song, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Following prayer, the family exited.

A meal followed in the Youth Building, provided by friends.

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