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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I hummed “In the Good Old Summertime” as I gazed at Miss Flora Covington’s extensive bed of brightly colored zinnias across the way.

That lightning we had last week scared the fool out of me, but the rain surely was welcome.

Despite the stormy weather, Johnny and Nelda Godwin, Mary Worley, Martha Cordell, Misty Moore, and Shirley Wells ventured out for supper at the Huddle House.

Seen at Tabby D.’s were Jean (Carter) Fuqua, Pat Palmore, Tina Moore, Larry Defilippi, and Diaon Cook. Diaon has taught English at Lurleen Burns Wallace for the past 33 years.

I ran into Alvin Cobb at the P.O. the other day; it’s hard to believe that he’s a grandfather.

Melissa Adams and I chatted at the Gitty-Up-‘n’-Go this week, discussing health issues.

Wayne and Lenora Johnson were seen for supper at David’s Catfish.

When I was in school, I resented teachers and fellow students who broke into line for lunch.

I promised myself that, if ever I became a teacher, I would not break line; and I didn’t for right at four decades, not once. I don’t like breaking line by anyone.

This is why I resent illegal immigrants.

They break line when legal immigrants have waited patiently in line for their turn.

Even the youngest among us knows it’s not fair to break line and not to wait one’s turn.

Our language is being abbreviated to death. Capital letters and spaces between words are disappearing, which are steps backward into confusion and not forward into clarity.

Soon the following will be a “sentence”: runudcrscv.

Yes, take that and tweet yourself to some of your own medicine.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville said that she’ll be hanged before she limits her conversation to l40 characters.

(She can’t Facebook the music!)

Personally, MySpace will be traditional English, not this modern gibberish.

Colonel Covington said the following in his latest essay at the Andalusia Lyceum.

“Why is anyone surprised at the mess in which America finds itself? God will not bestow His blessings on a nation that turns its back on Him. Rather, He will punish it. If you think things are bad now, just wait, you poor, proud, vain, foolish sinners. You haven’t seen anything yet.

“America is awash in sin. God does not bless sin; he punishes sin. People want to do whatever they please. They won’t be happy until there is no such thing as sin. They want to say what is right and what is wrong. That’s called self-righteousness. They want to be god. They don’t want anyone to find fault with them and anything they do. They want sin to be ‘the norm’ nowadays. Not only do people want ‘no-fault’ sin; they want to be admired for their sin. They want their sin to be popular, accepted, middle of the road. Watch almost any TV show and you will see people making light of sin – perversion, fornication, adultery – and laughing about it as if it’s the normal thing to do; but there are no laugh tracks in Hell.”

I heard a woman the other day say to a preacher that she didn’t go to his church because of all the hypocrites. He returned, “We can always take more.”

Congratulations to Keron Kyzar (Mrs. James Kyzar) for being named vice president of District l2 of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association. It is a three-year term for the counties of Covington, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Escambia, and Butler.

Miss Cora Covington has invited me over for the Glorious Fourth at Covington Hall.

Her menu includes barbecue, campstew, corn on the cob, dill pickles, watermelon, cole slaw, potato salad, lemonade, cake, and ice cream (homemade). Toasts are offered to the founding fathers and others.

Colonel Covington always leads in prayer and reads “The Declaration of Independence” as part of a worship service. Sometimes choral readings of patriotic pieces are included, as well as individual readings.

“Clydie” Clump has been putting up bunting already and will have the flag flying July 4 and fireworks and gunfire that night, along with a bonfire.

The old Covington bell will be rung.

The younger folks play games in the afternoon, and the little children dress up for a parade around the yard.

Miss Dora will accompany at the piano for a sing-along of the following songs: “The Star-spangled Banner,” “America,” “America, the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “Oh, Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag,” “This Is My Country,” and “Land of Hope and Glory.”

I like the words of John Adams, our second president, who offered the following advice about celebrating the annual birthday of our country, the signing of the “Declaration of Independence.”

Said he, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

Yes, Adams was a character!

He ought to have a memorial in the Nation’s capital, like Washington and Jefferson.

I relish the story of the deaths of Adams and Jefferson, both on July 4, l826, the 50th anniversary of the “Declaration of Independence.”

The second and third presidents both died on that special day. Remarkable!

Sue (Bass) Wilson attended the memorial service for the late Kathryn Tucker Windham. I asked her to tell about it. Her report follows:

“Suspenders, sundresses, sunflowers, stained glass, smiles – these scenes were predominant in the Church Street United Methodist Church in Selma at the memorial service for the late Kathryn Tucker Windham, famous Alabama storyteller who died peacefully at her home on June l2, 20ll, at the age of 93.

The Dill Pickers, a gospel/bluegrass group from Birmingham, provided recorded music selections for an hour, at least, prior to the beginning of the service.

From a mournful “I’m Goin’ Home” to the spiritual, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” to the upbeat “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” those who gathered were treated to the down-home tunes, fitting for this Thomasville-bred lady who was known from here to yonder for her humor and wit.

“As the two-o’clock hour grew nearer, the over 500 in attendance, seated shoulder to shoulder in the historic church, adorned throughout by oak, trimmed in craftsmen millwork, gradually began getting quieter after many a spirited ‘how-do-you-do.’

The family proceeded to the front pews with the organ, playing a cathedral-type arrangement of ‘Blessed Assurance.’ ‘This is my (her) story; this is my song’ – a noble beginning to pay tribute to a woman who reared and eventually educated three small children alone after the untimely death of her husband of only ten years.

“Minister Donald Davis began with ‘I don’t want to be here. I’d rather be eating cornbread, soaked in butter in Kathryn’s kitchen!

But she made me promise to be here when the time came, and to wear these clothes!’

He pointed to his summer suit, bow tie, and casual shoes.

“’How will we remember Kathryn — as a mother, grandmother, fishing buddy, neighbor, storyteller, Huntingdon graduate, Miss Julia, or as a little girl, listening to her father tell stories?’ His talk was full of remembrances of Windham’s words and expressions, including ‘Happiness is not a prize you win; happiness is a decision you make’ and ‘Interest creates energy,’ which he explained as how she stayed busy and useful, leading a full life even in the golden years, right up until her final days on earth. ‘Tears are not what I want at my funeral,’ Windham told Davis, ‘because, as many ghosts as I have written about in my books, I have never actually seen one; but if you don’t make my service a happy occasion, you might just see one!’ Continuing with his heartfelt remarks, Davis said, ‘She always concluded our visits with “I love you.” I was flattered until later learning that she told everyone the same thing!’ (Laughter permeated the crowd.)

“The Chancel Choir also fulfilled a request to celebrate the honoree’s life when they played “When We All Get to Heaven” on combs and wax paper that had been provided by Windham herself, who gave the ‘box’ full of the ‘instruments’ to organist/choir director, Gordon Welch. That was followed by the choristers, singing that same song, one of the author’s favorite, old-time hymns, harmoniously in four parts.

“The Dill Pickers performed and led the congregation in several other standard hymns, reminiscent of the last hundred years of traditional worship, including ‘I’ll Fly Away,’ “Marching to Zion,’ and ‘Standing on the Promises.’

The banjo, bass fiddle, and guitars were played with the same enthusiasm that Windham lived her life – with passion, precision, personality, and purpose. ‘Have a Little Talk with Jesus’ was performed as a special tribute to the Dill Pickers’ special friend whom they had been associated with in numerous theme festivals around the South over the years.

It turned out that the outstanding bass singer was none other than Scott Stewart, son of Pastor Mark Stewart, whose family lived in Andalusia while Mark was assigned to the Methodist conference here. ‘Scotty’ was a l98l Andalusia High School graduate, choral- music student of Paula Sue Duebelt, and star of several musical productions, including The Music Man, in which he played Harold Hill.

“A truly Southern-style reception was held on the church block in the spacious Windham Hall, the church’s fellowship hall, where a catered affair, consisting of cucumber sandwiches, cheese straws, homemade cookies, and lemon iced tea, was served. Friends, relatives, and admirers from all around the state visited with Mrs. Windham’s son, Ben; daughter, Dilcy; and other family members, while taking the opportunity to view the photos of Windham’s life, shown via Power-Point presentation, lovingly prepared.

“According to her own plans, Windham was buried the Monday after she had died on Sunday evening, June l2, 20ll, and laid in a six-sided, pine coffin, which she had especially designed, built, and had stored in her garage for the past ten years. She was wrapped in a Gees Bend quilt. This one-of-a-kind lady, who befriended her world, will be missed and long remembered, Pastor Fred Ziegler stated. She is much more than ‘one in a million.’

“An ‘Alabama treasure’ lost? Not entirely so, when her many works, including the pictures she photographed as a journalist, the books she penned on a collection of Alabama ghost stories, her one-woman play she produced, ‘My Name Is Julia,’ her biography she starred in on DVD, ‘My Name Is Katherine,’ can all be found at the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum on the campus of the Alabama Southern Community College in Thomasville, open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., summer hours.

Her hometown dedicated this museum in 2003 on the occasion of her 85th birthday as a legacy to preserve the Alabama history and folklore whereon she had spent most of her career, which raised Kathryn Tucker Windham to national prominence.”

Sue, thank you for going and representing Andalusia at the service. Thank you for the wealth of detail in your report about the funeral.

You, too, are an Alabama treasure.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote John Quincy Adams, “The first and almost the only book deserving of universal distinction is the Bible.

I speak as a man of the world to the men of the world and I say to you, ‘Search the Scriptures.’”

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, whether you attend meetings or not. Sue (Bass) Wilson, CHS president, has organized Friends of the Museum for this purpose.

Send contributions to CHS, P.O.Box l582, Andalusia 36420.

You will be added to a list to receive a newsletter.

You won’t be expected to attend meetings unless you just want to attend.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us return to this week l50 years ago.

Kentucky voted to remain neutral.

The federal War Department tried to recruit volunteers from Kentucky and Tennessee.

The government of the United States recognized the new legislature of West Virginia, which seceded from Virginia. Confederate forces in West Virginia were defeated by federal forces.

(Gentle reader, I have been “studying up” on West Virginia and its becoming a new state.

It seems to me that Mr. Lincoln pulled a few strings and some “voters” weren’t supposed to vote. Something rotten went on in those, “thar” hills. Hmmm!)

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps. Franklin Delano Roosevelt would have.

The mysterian, partly black, partly brown, with three legs, was Tripod, a mongrel dog that used to wander about Andalusia High School in the sixties.

He was seen in the halls and sometimes in classrooms, lying on the floor, nobody’s pet, everybody’s pet, quiet, humble, friendly.

I don’t know whose he was, poor, old pooch.

Thank you, Curtis Hampton Thomasson, for remembering and identifying Tripod.

The new cluegraph for the next mysterian follows: plump, Methodist, bejeweled, business woman, fun-loving, a teenager at heart, outwardly sophisticated but inwardly an innocent, pronounced “men-u” as “maine-u.”

Jasmine Hills Gardens is now closed until next season.

Bellingrath Gardens of Theodore near Mobile is open almost daily.

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

Fare thee well.