Andalusia, you’re such a belle

Published 12:56 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

The current edition of Garden & Gun features an essay by Allison Glock on the new Southern belle.

“To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort.”

I thought of this as I was busy being amazed this week at the lengths to which so many people have gone to make our visitors from all across the nation feel welcome at the Babe Ruth 12U Softball World Series.

My “it must be news” radar went off as I drove into town on Wednesday afternoon on Hwy. 29 and met a police cruiser with lights flashing and sirens blaring. I was already braking to turn around and follow him when I realized he was providing an escort for one of our arriving softball teams. Imagine being 12 and having a police escort.

Lots of people made contributions toward the much-touted keepsake World Series bags filled with goodies the young ladies received when then they arrived. A Sorelli bracelet. Opi nail polish in trendy colors. The girls couldn’t wait to tell their mothers.

Literally dozens of people helped pull off a living history in the heat of an August morning at Springdale on Thursday, and nice ladies stood under a white tent, looking crisp in linen as they served iced tea and lemonade. Meanwhile, the honored guests hardly had to take a step in the heat, as Andalusia Ambassadors shuttled them to and from their vehicles in golf carts.

Next came the Luncheon of Champions, also done to a “T” with stunning decorations and tasty food. The tables, it should be noted, were prettily appointed. The cupcakes for dessert were iced in different colored icings, and arranged to depict a large softball. It was as every idea incorporated into the event repeated the mantra, “We want you to feel special.”

When the Andalusia High School band began to file onto the softball field – in very hot uniforms – for Thursday night’s official opening ceremonies, I overhead someone ask, “Is that Alabama’s band?” They meant the university.

The ambassadors were back on duty in the humidity, sporting their official navy blazers. The women wore hose and high heels. “Southern women make the effort.”

When the band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” fireworks erupted behind them, stunning the audience. Dr. Jacquelyn Denson’s performance of “God Bless America” was worthy of a major league ball park.

One group of visitors told us they were most impressed by all of the welcome signs in town. Others were awed by the portable laundry unit set up by the Covington Baptist Association to keep players’ and umpires’ uniforms as fresh and clean as possible.

Everywhere you turn, someone has thought of something else thoughtful to extend Southern hospitality.

Yes, we’ve gone the extra mile, caring for our visitors in ways small and large, and exceeding expectations.

It made me think, “Andalusia, you’re such a belle.”