Overheard, out and about, Mrs. Grundy tells all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw a thrasher in the fig tree, making himself at home with my figs. A mockingbird was stealing grapes from one of my arbors. The summer scene was pleasant-looking, despite the thieves, with many shades of green.

Miss Flora Covington tells me the iron-wrought, black fence is going up this week between the brick posts at the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. The work may be done by the time this column goes out.

Miss Dora Covington tells me she has become a believer in St. Swithin’s Day. The old saying is that, if it rains on July l5, St. Swithin’s Day, rain will fall for 40 more days.

“Clydie” Clump won’t go out in the rain. He says he will melt.

The Rex Butlers have returned from Disney World.

Seen for lunch at Tabby D.’s were Ophelia (Adams) Albritton and her daughter, Emily, Andalusia High School Class of l967, and Emily’s husband, Ken Hill, of Union, South Carolina, here for a visit.

Miss Priscilla Primme, the English teacher, tells me that she saw Marilyn O’Neal at Tabby D.’s with a strange man. Miss Primme was thinking all sorts of things until she found out the strange man was Marilyn’s brother, Ed Henderson, in town for a visit. Both are children of the late Abbie Henderson, one of the most delightful characters ever to call Andalusia home.

Also seen at Tabby D.’s were Betty Sue McInnish, Linda Ward, Abbie Taylor, Bill Thigpen, and Jody Jackson.

The Murals Committee, chaired by Pat Palmore, met July l2 in City Hall (the second brick Andalusia school) with David Fuqua, Nancy Robbins, Mary Lee Howard, Elaine Manning, Robert Anderson, Joe Wingard, and Wes Hardin, the muralist from Dothan, in attendance.

The fifth mural, one of electrical progress in Covington County, was discussed. Its location is at the corner of Central and East Three-Notch on the building owned by Tony Brown. Also discussed was a mural of Hank and Audrey Williams, who were married in a garage at that same corner. All murals thus far have been painted by Wes Hardin.

Fuqua led a discussion, too, of a Scenic Byway, based on the Three-Notch Trail, stretching from Russell County into Escambia County with an interpretive center in Andalusia.

Fuqua announced that, currently, Alabama has ten Scenic Byways.

Hazel Griffin was absent, due to knee replacement.

The next meeting of the Murals Committee was set for July 26.

Speaking of Robert Anderson above, I am reminded of a saying that I’d never heard till he said it recently – “Don’t jump up and spit nickels!”

Seen at Wingard’s Farm Market were Robert and Kate Bush and Hazel McClain.

I enjoyed lunch July l3 at Kayla’s Diner at McKenzie. Kayla’s was named for the daughter of Cindy Morrow, who opened her country restaurant last November. Particularly good were the fried green beans.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote President Woodrow Wilson, “A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of a knowledge of the Bible.”

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. Mail to CHS, P.O. Box l582, Andalusia, 36420.

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

President Lincoln ordered the invasion of Virginia by the Federals, who clashed with Confederates at Blackburn’s Ford and Mitchell’s Ford, followed quickly by the first major land battle of the War at a town called Manassas at Bull Run Creek. Northeners referred to the battle afterwards as First Bull Run. (There would be a second battle later.) Southerners called it First Manassas.

The sides were about even.

The North was winning until T. J. Jackson stood his ground and would not budge. The South rallied behind him. Southern General Barnard E. Bee, who was killed the next day, pointed to Jackson and said there he and his men stood like a stone wall. Thus was born the nickname, “Stonewall” Jackson.

The South pushed the North back toward Washington, D.C.. A bomb exploding near some people from Washington out on a picnic to see the “easy win” sent the civilians into a panic and hasty retreat. It was “Katy, bar the door!”

The North was led by Irvin McDowell. The South’s leaders included James Longstreet, T. J. Jackson, N.G. Evans, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Joseph Johnston. President Jefferson Davis observed from Manassas.

The Rebel Yell was first heard in this battle.

Following the battle, General Beauregard designed a new Confederate flag, known today as the battle flag, the one so loved by many and so hated by others, the most popular of the Confederate flags.

Many have wondered since Manassas what might have happened if the Confederates had followed the Federals back into Washington.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps.

The mysterian was the memorable, iconic newspaperman, Ed Dannelly, one-time editor and co-owner of the Star-News.

Congratulations to Caroline Picking, who has identified our mysterian for two weeks, running.

Our new mysterian is a tall, tan, Presbyterian man.

Recent July birthdays are those of William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist of Vanity Fair, and Francesco Petrarch, an Italian poet.

Thackeray’s novel featured Becky Sharpe, who lived again later as Scarlett O’Hara. Thackeray took his title from a chapter in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan had his title from the Bible. Both Thackeray and Bunyan were referring to the world as a place of vanity.

The Portly Gentleman has been on the road again. I shall let him tell you of his doings.

“I motored to Montgomery last week to attend part of the national ‘reunion’ (annual, national convention) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization of men who are descended from those who fought in the War.

“Montgomery, appropriately, was chosen the site of the ‘reunion’ this year because this year is the Sesquicentennial (l50th anniversary) of the War Between the States and the Confederate States of America was organized in Montgomery – the first capital of the CSA, with the first White House of the Confederacy, with the first (and only) president of the CSA (elected and inaugurated here), and with the CSA Constitution written here.

“The ‘reunion’ was housed in downtown Montgomery in the Embassy Suites, near to Union Station, the old Montgomery depot, once owned by our own John Tisdale.

“The four-day event was a mixture of ceremony, business meetings, tours, contests, a ball, and excursions to the Capitol, White House, Archives, Old Alabama Town, and the Confederate Park at Mountain Creek.

“I was able to attend only on Thursday because of a writers’ conference in Huntsville, Friday – Sunday.

“I arrived early enough to enjoy the breakfast buffet in the atrium of the Embassy with its meandering stream, palms and other greenery, fountains, balconies like the gardens of Babylon, and glassed-in elevator – a beautiful setting.

“Joe Willis from South Carolina was my tablemate.

“After registering, which entitled me to a souvenir medal, I entered the convention hall for the opening ceremony, during which I sat with two folks from this area (or ‘brigade’) of Alabama, Joe Clark from Elba and Mack Lott from Enterprise. Clark is commander of both the Enterprise ‘camp’ (local unit) and Southeast Brigade (a division of the Alabama SCV).

“All stood respectfully as we sang ‘Dixie.’

“Philip Davis, from one of the Montgomery ‘camps,’ presided, welcoming the representatives from 79 ‘camps,’ some 400-plus attendees, to Montgomery.

“Dignitaries were introduced, and officials welcomed the SCV to Montgomery.

“Tyrone Crowley of Prattville, dressed as President Davis, was escorted by a guard in period uniforms. Crowley addressed the crowd in Davis’s own words.

“Various flags of the Confederacy, including one giant battle flag, hung from the rafters.

“I spotted in the crowd Daryl Hawkins, who had grown up with me on Bradley Drive in Montgomery. He is active in a Montgomery camp.

“I also spotted Dr. Charles Baker, the beloved Alabama SCV chaplain.

“In the business meeting that followed a report was made on the restoration of Beauvoir, Davis’s final home, in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was almost destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Some six thousand attended its re-opening. Eleven million dollars are needed to build a presidential library there in honor of Davis. October has been set as a date of possible opening.

“A new archway, leading into the Beauvoir property, is intended to replace the original archway, donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, also destroyed by Katrina.

“A shocking report made all aware that the Veterans Administration, required by law to provide markers for the military dead, including Confederate soldiers, has refused to supply any more stones. A project at Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, which contains Confederate dead, had to end its hope (for the moment) to mark each grave with a name in place of a number. Even soldiers who died in the Revolutionary War are no longer being marked. Members were asked to notify their senators and representatives and ask for their help.

“Some 13 coins in a collection, representing the l3 Confederate states, were advertised.

“After the business concluded, we were dismissed for lunch. A luncheon at the Embassy was ‘sold out.’ I wandered across the street to the new Renaissance Hotel and to an outside corner of the building to eat at Wintzell’s Oyster House, one of several new locations. The original is in Mobile, well known for its seafood and hundreds of placards with pithy sayings, plastered all over its walls. Wintzell’s in Montgomery is much like the original in Mobile.

“This was most fortunate for me as I ran into Robert Reames, commander of the Alabama SCV and an old acquaintance, there for lunch with his wife Jackie and their three children, Brendan Young, Matthew Young, and Alaina Young. I first met this delightful family at another national ‘reunion’ in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“The Reameses invited me to join them as their guest; and we had a merry time, eating seafood and catching up. Brendan, fascinated by magic, has finished high school and wants to attend the University of Montevallo to major in theatre. Matthews is still interested in photography. Little Alaina is working at her art. Both the boys wore period uniforms and were part of the color guard.

“Others I saw at the ‘reunion’ were Mike Williams, once a resident of Andalusia, who takes photographs for the state SCV, and Alan Parker, a devoted member of a Montgomery camp. The Montgomery camps served as hosts to the ‘reunion’ this year.

“I heard that Sir Francis McGowin and Lady Ann were there, but I had to leave before seeing them. Sir Francis is commander of our local camp, the Covington Rifles.”

Lord willing, the Portly Gentleman will continue his “motorama” to Huntsville for the Alabama Writers’ Conclave another time.

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