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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I was taken with the sight of the sweet autumn clematis, climbing up fences and arbors and crowning hedges and trees like floral arrangements at a wedding. Light, airy, delicate, the sweet autumn clematis is one of the prettiest blooming vines in all of nature.

Hasn’t it been hot! One could fry eggs on East Three-Notch!

Wes Hardin, the muralist from Dothan, can be seen, working on the latest mural at the corner where Hank and Audrey Williams were married.

The forty-day rains continue. I guess there’s something to the St. Swithin’s story.

Malfunction Junction is being resurfaced, in case you didn’t know. Take the side streets if you don’t want to be caught in the traffic jams.

The crepe myrtle at Bob and Denise Brooks’ house atop Bay Branch Hill has been beautiful. I think that shade is called Persian pink.

I usually don’t notice morning glories till September, but June Smith informed me that they have been blooming all summer.

Other plants I have seen a-bloom are the yellow bitterweed by the roadsides, white lilies, abelia and cypress vine, the common red and the less often seen white.

Miss Cora Covington across the way has been putting up pears and speaking of her scuppernongs.

Miss Priscilla Primme tells me that the fence around Andalusia Memorial Cemetery is still shy of five sections.

Seen at Tabby D.’s for the lunch buffet were Mary Evers, her son Robert, her daughter Vicki, Vicki’s husband, Larry Popwell, their son, Luke Popwell, and their granddaughter, Lacey Jane (Laura’s girl); Cynthia Ossenfort, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Studstill, David and Laura Darby, their Sarah, and Laura’s mother, Helen Griffin; James and Jenelle Jones, Mickie Riley, Faye Jones of Opp and Charles Gantt.

Charles sat with me awhile; and we talked of his three children, his ranch, his mother, Jackie and his older brother, Bill (he calls him “Brother”), now retired. Charles lives down Devereaux Hill on land where once old Montezuma, the forerunner of Andalusia, lay. Charles told me of the time that wild dogs killed 100 goats on Gantt land, of the time he was forced up a tree to escape a pack of wild dogs, of buildings of old Montezuma that still stood before the great flood of 1929, of the “Shack,” a wooden building near old Montezuma and the Conecuh River, built as a hut for the Boy Scouts, still standing today, once used for dancing and parties and goat barbecues.

Jimmy Cobb and Mixon Sanders both told me that they have Chinese chestnuts on their land. I had asked last week about the chestnuts because someone had called me and asked if I knew of any. Now I can’t remember who wanted to know. If you are that person, please call and tell me. Thanks.

Clay Clyde Clump tells me that Ray Stevens has a new song out about illegal immigrants. I think it’s called “Come to America.” It’s clever and pointed, and I hear that some radio stations are afraid to play it. One can listen to it on the Internet.

Seen at the Verdict, the new restaurant in the Prestwood Building on the Golden Square, were Ann (O’Neal) Wright and her son Todd, Jon and Teresa Ward, Philip and Dianne Crow, Alan and Kathy Windham and David and Jean Brawner.

I enjoyed meeting Joe Riley at Mallette’s Drugstore this week.

Robert Lee Holley has nothing but praise for the weekend buffet at McLain’s in DeFuniak Springs. He also enjoys the historic Circle Drive with its lake, its ring of grand houses, churches, landscaping, library and Chautauqua Hall.

Colonel Covington at the Andalusia Lyceum said that our country’s economy has been affected by our nation’s character – or lack of it.

Miss Primme was fussing the other day about the television rating of “Adult Language.” Said she, “Adult language should refer to the language of the Bible and of Shakespeare. It’s a shame that we use the phrase to dignify profanity.”

The Portly Gentleman relished a conversation with Vince Pierce at supper at Larry’s this past week. Vince caught him up on his siblings, Bert and Lane, and friends, Frank and Lori (Bryant) Morgan, who have prospered and rubbed shoulders with celebrities.

Seen for Sunday lunch at the hospital cafeteria were Scott Riley, James and Linda Tucker, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Jeanette Carroll, Betty Bass, John and Nancy Smith, Parker Smith, John and Mary “the Belle of Excel” Hill, Ron and Caroline Picking, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Perry and Gordon P. Gildersleeve III.

Grit and Grace, a local musical about folk life and the good, old days, was performed the first week of August in Walton High School Auditorium in DeFuniak Springs. If you missed it this year, look for it next year.

Erica Ziglar, a senior at Straughn, played a trumpet solo, “Count Your Blessings,” as a special solo in the Sunday-School assembly of the dignified Baraca Class in the chapel of First Baptist Church last Sunday. She was accompanied by the church organist, Martha (James) Givhan, playing the Ann Martin Memorial piano. Erica is the granddaughter of Graham Tucker, a member of Baraca.

The Baraca Class teacher, Richard Pass, in his lesson mentioned hearing the famous Baptist preacher, R. G. Lee, preach numerous times. Brother Pass was especially moved by R. G. Lee’s sermon, “Pay Day, Some Day,” the most famous of all Baptist sermons. Brother Pass heard Lee preach it in person at least twice.

Gentle reader, if you have never read R.G. Lee’s famous sermon, try to find a copy on the Internet and read it.

Bill Law and his daughter, Allison, who works in Montgomery, motored last Saturday to Atlanta to take part in the Antiques Roadshow, a television program during which antiques are appraised. They enjoyed fine meals in Montgomery and Newnan.

Two vases of spring flowers flanked the podium in First Baptist last Sunday. The flowers were given by the Mildred Hart Sunday School Class in her memory. Miss Hart taught home economics at the Andalusia High School for years and was a faithful member of First Baptist. Her home on Watson Street, which had been her parents’ home, was beautifully decorated to the nth degree. Miss Hart, also a graduate of A.H.S., was locally famous for her Christmas open house and her cooking. In fact, a cookbook, using her recipes, was prepared and sold, following her untimely death.

Martha (James) Givhan, organist at First Baptist, played a popular piece for the offertory last Sunday, David Paxton’s “Celebration.” After church she and I talked of her late teacher, Louise (Bozeman) Barrow, church organist herself for 60 or so years, and how proud she would have been of Martha. Martha said that she could remember the time when Louise encouraged her. Martha had never dreamed that she would play before a congregation one day!

Young Noah Gooden publicly accepted Christ as his Saviour last Sunday morning at First Baptist at the invitation of Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 1586, the Covington Rifles, met Aug. 4 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library for their monthly meeting.

The room was decorated with a picture of Jefferson Davis, the new marching-parade banner for the camp, and a fan of Confederate flags.

After an informal discussion of politics, Commander Sir Francis McGowin brought the meeting to order.

Chaplain John Allen Gantt worded both opening and closing prayers.

Following pledges to the flags, Larry Shaw led all, standing, in “Dixie.”

Reports on the annual SCV reunion (national convention), held this year in Montgomery because of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, were given by two who attended, Joe Wingard and Sir Francis.

Sir Francis pinned medals on those who had marched in the parade up Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, on the anniversary of the swearing in of President Davis.

Past commander, Curtis Hampton Thomasson, installed new officers for next year.

Jimmy Cobb called for dues to be paid by October.

Kelly Veazey shared an anecdote about a Confederate cap. He spoke, too, of an old deed in his family, signed by President Buchanan.

Refreshments were provided by Sir Francis, Larry Shaw and John Allen Gantt, who brought a large blueberry tart, prepared by his wife, Rosemary.

J. A. Gantt presented the program, a book review of Judah Philip Benjamin, a biography by Eli N. Evans, about a Jewish member of the Confederate cabinet, who served, in turn, as attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state.

Benjamin (1811 – 1884), descended from exiled Spanish Jews, was born in the West Indies, lived in North Carolina and Charleston, attended Yale University, and moved to New Orleans, where he was apprenticed to a lawyer.

In l832, Benjamin was admitted to the bar. He also ran a plantation, using 140 slaves, to grow sugar cane. Ruined by a flood, he turned to politics and served as a U.S. senator at the same time that Jefferson Davis served as a senator, representing Mississippi.

Both Benjamin and Davis resigned their offices when secession came. Davis became president of the Confederate states; Benjamin, a member of his cabinet.

After the War, Benjamin escaped to England, where he restored his fortune through cotton and law. He died at 82 and was buried in Paris, France.

In addition to those mentioned above, attendees were Fletcher Jones, Morris Mullen, Derek Davis, Jimmy Mott and Vaughn Bowers.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote Izaac Walton, the English author of the most famous book about fishing ever written, “Every hour I read you, it kills a sin or lets a virtue in to fight it.”

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.

CHS president Sue (Bass) Wilson asked me to include the address of a new CHS website: www.3nmsm.com.

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

In Fort Monroe, Va., where Robert E. Lee was once quartered and where, later, President Davis would be imprisoned, Gen. Benjamin Butler harbored runaway slaves rather than return them to the South, according to the fugitive-slave law. Northern slaves, on the other hand, were returned to their owners.

At Wilson’s Creek, Mo., outhern Gen. Benjamin McCullock, aided by pro-Southern Missouri militia, led Confederates in the second major land battle of the War in defeating the Federals under Northern Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed in the battle.

In Texas, 15 Confederates were killed by Apache Indians.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps.

The mysterian for the last three weeks was Billy Bryant, the tall, tan Presbyterian man, identified by a fellow Presbyterian, Caroline Picking.

The new mysterian is short and tough, trim and true, with determination written all over her face, an educator, the mother of two, a business woman, whose last name is a song and whose age is a perpetual 29.

Notable birthdays this past week were those of Izaac Walton, author of the most famous of all English fishing books, The Compleat Angler; John Dryden, an English poet and dramatist; and Carrie Jacobs-Bond, American composer of sentimental songs, such as “I Love You Truly” and “When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day.”

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