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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed that the sweet autumn clematis is still in bloom, crowning everything it climbs with that wedding-cake, delicate beauty of fine, white blossoms amid lady-like greenery. I saw the Portly Gentleman at church, wearing a sprig of the clematis in his buttonhole.

By the time this gets to press the fence at Andalusia Memorial Cemetery should be completed, a handsome accomplishment by all those involved. I know Robert Williams has done his fair share.

Seen at the Verdict were Jessie and Liz Sirmon, enjoying lunch.

First Presbyterian Church plans to host an organ concert by Randall Smith, tomorrow, August 21, at 3 p.m. The community is invited.

Smith, organist for the past 23 years at First United Methodist in West Point, Georgia, has also been organist for the past 5 years in the chapel of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

In the Baraca Class of First Baptist last Sunday Graham Tucker taught the lesson.

Larry Shaw, who accepted a third term as class president, sang a solo, “No Night on That Golden Shore.”

In morning worship Jennifer (Smith) Dansby, dressed in her comical role as “the Church Lady,” advertised goings-on.

Brian Seymore, head coach of the Andalusia High School “Bulldog” Football Team, and a member of First Baptist, gave his testimony and encouraged all to see the new film, Courageous.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music, led the Adult Choir in “I Will,” an anthem with the solo section sung by Connie Karthaus, wife of Pastor Fred Karthaus. Their two daughters, Bethany and Allie, and two other girls, Tatum Moore and Anna Grace Thomas, signed the words for the deaf.

Other youth, Erica Ziglar, trumpeter and senior at Straughn this year, and Jeremy Boyd, alto saxophonist and an eighth grader in the Andalusia Middle School, accompanied the congregation, as did Martha (James) Givhan, organist, and Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, pianist.

Seen for supper at the Huddle House were Gladys Trawick and Hattie Lawson and Jimmy and Kellie Williamson.

Betty Mitchell, the “Travel Queen,” took a busload up to Wetumpka August 12 to see a local production, All Shook Up.

I ran into Mickey Bennett, who used to coach and teach at AHS, the other day and caught up on his life.

Mickey’s wife, Angie, is a media specialist at Geneva Middle School. Their daughter, Callie, is a junior in GHS where Mickey has been principal since 2007.

Mickey worked at AHS 1988 – 1999, then coached at GHS 1999-2005 and served as principal at GMS 2005 – 2006 before becoming principal at GHS in 2007.

Seen at David’s Catfish House for supper were Kyle Gantt, his daughter, Addie Kanaley, her two children, Tommy and Eva Kanaley, Abner Riley Powell IV (descendant of a pioneer family in “the Dimple of Dixie”), Tim Nall, his guest, Tammy Holley, her children, Christa and Grant Holley, Dwight and Sonja Crigger and their children, Callie Marie and Carl.

Mrs. Crigger’s birthday was the next day, August 10, a Wednesday; so the family, being in church work and committed to choir Wednesday nights, were celebrating early.

A group of senior adults from First Baptist gathered at Green’s Hilltop Restaurant for a fellowship supper August 11.

Attending were Bill Law, Gillis “the Comb Man” and Laura Ann Jones, June Smith (my lady of the flowers), Kim and Eleanor Dyess, Margaret Smyly, Betty Bass, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Vivian Hickey, Frank and Tina Moore and Joe Wingard.

Seen at Green’s was the long-time employee, Jo Florence, whom everyone associates with her chopping of barbecued pork at Green’s by the Conecuh.

Also seen were Mr. and Mrs. Steve Bozeman.

Those of you who receive the Montgomery Advertiser, look for articles by Allison (Law) Griffin, daughter of our Bill and Joyce (Wilder) Law.

The Gordon Vickerses were kind to fill me in on an eight-day trip they recently made to celebrate Trudy’s birthday.

One stop was in Moody, Alabama, where they visited their daughter, Tammy Hawks, who helps manage the local Ruby Tuesday. It’s not far from the new home of Don and Dot Lingle.

One leg of the journey took the couple to Gatlingburg, Pigeon Forge, Maggie Valley, Cherokee, North Carolina, and along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In Maggie Valley Gordon bought a Roseville pitcher for Trudy.

Over in Maryland Gordon and Trudy toured the Naval Academy in Annapolis, ate along the Chesapeake Bay, idled in Baltimore, rode the boardwalk in Ocean City, and admired the sand sculptures on the beaches.

At one meal along the Chesapeake Gordon ate 12 blue crabs, a pile of boiled shrimp, and corn-on-the-cob (poor, underfed thing).

Heading home the two stayed in Atlanta just so Gordon could watch the planes. After a last stop in Auburn, the Vickerses returned home.

I cornered Judge “Trippy” McGuire, too, a few days later, to hear about his trip to Charleston, S.C., his fourth sojourn there with his wife Margaret and their daughter Natalie, who drove down from her home in Wilmington, N.C., to meet her parents for a few days.

They returned to Magnolia Plantation, which they enjoyed so much last year, to find an old “friend,” an alligator. Surely enough, it was still there, plus some bigger “friends.”

In Charleston, the McGuires rode the carriages on tour routes (their third jaunt), shopped in the newly renovated old market, visited St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, ate a meal in the Hominy Grill (Trippy restricted all of his meals to shrimp and grits, a dish for which the Low Country is known), stopped at the South Carolina Aquarium, ventured forth on a ghost tour, ate in the Amen Street Restaurant (which Trippy highly recommended), and stayed in the French Quarter Inn across from the old market.

Trippy said the weather was “perfect.”

Leaving Charleston, the family motored north to Wilmington for a few more days with Natalie and her husband, Cam Davis.

A highlight was kayaking at Ft. Fisher on Cape Fear River, but the group also enjoyed taking a ferry to Southport, N.C., to eat at the Provision Company Restaurant, near the site offshore where German U-boats (undersea boats, submarines) had been sunk during World War II and where the actor, Tom Hanks, had visited.

Trippy’s Natalie had just returned from Uganda, Africa, to visit a Christian orphanage where her sister-in-law, Suzanna Davis, works. While there, Natalie, Suzanna, and Suzanna’s mother, Suzie Davis, took a safari.

During the safari the three walked up on a mother “rhino,” now rarely seen in the wild because of poachers. The mother “rhino” had been raised in Animal Kingdom in Disney World and then released into the wild. Her baby “rhino” was named Obama because its mother was from America and its daddy was from Kenya.

In a boat trip on the Nile Natalie filmed crocodiles, “hippos,” elephants, and baboons.

Shelby and Rachel Searcy, who once taught at AHS, now retired to Greenville, were in town last week for the second annual AHS Football Hall of Fame induction and banquet in the Volleyball Gym at AHS Fri., Aug. 12.

They recently donated his coaching jacket (circa 1957) and a framed picture of Coach Searcy to the Heritage Room of the AHS, Room 1, Old Main, preserved by Joseph C. Wingard and housed through the generosity of the Class of 1948.

While at AHS, Coach Searcy taught history, civics, and physical education and coached football, track, and junior-high basketball.

Searcy was on the football teams of 1944, 1945, and 1946 when he attended AHS as a student. (His coach in 1945 and 1946 was the late, great William Norred.)

Then Searcy helped coach AHS football teams 1955 – 1965 when he returned to his alma mater. Searcy was head coach 1961 — 1965.

His wife, Rachel, told a good story about Shelby. In the fall of 1945 at the Blue-Gray game in Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, all the boys present were invited at half time to participate in a l00-yard dash on the field for the prize of a small, gold football fob.

Shelby was among those who gave it a try.

Also present, witnessing the event, were our Eiland Anthony and the late Charlie Smith.

Well, you know the result. Shelby won, outrunning all the others from all over the place, earning – at least, for the day – the title of “the fastest boy in Alabama!”

When he went on to play four years of football at Troy on a scholarship, he was known as “Flash.”

Searcy informed me that there was no football team at AHS in 1943 (fall) because of World War II.

Also recently donated to the Heritage Room was a photograph from Dr. Zack Studstill, Class of 1956. It captures the AHS Band in July, 1953, in Chicago. They had been invited to march in a parade for the International Lion’s Convention in Chicago. Parents and band members here raised money to go by train from our L&N station.

Gloria Adams, long-time bookkeeper at AHS, as well, donated a box of materials to the Heritage Room.

I asked Mr. Wingard to give me some details about the Football Hall of Fame induction and banquet last week. He told me the following:

“It lasted about five hours, if one counts the visiting before and after. Technically it lasted 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

“It was a grand occasion. Somebody put tons of work into setting up the gym and decorating, inviting and planning. It was like a family reunion – emotional, filled with laughter and tears that all the dams in the world couldn’t hold back. It was a glorious, sentimental journey!

“Centerpieces were bowls of asparagus fern, inset with red carnations and zinnias.

“Tables were laid with stiff, white cloths and topped with lighted candles.

“The menu was a thick, grilled pork chop with fancy mashed potatoes, tasty green beans, a green salad, yeast roll, tea, and peach cobbler.

“On the program were Ted Watson, superintendent of the Andalusia City Schools (welcome); Josh Atkinson, president of the AHS Student Government Association (pledge); Megan Rabren, who sang the national anthem a cappella, daughter of one inductee, Harris Rabren; Mayor Earl Johnson, in his second term; John Croft, emcee, retired educator, ‘the Voice of the Bulldogs’ (announcer at games); Joe Nix, Board of Education, who worded the blessing; John Reilly, keynote speaker; Richard Robertson, beloved basketball coach who has taught at AHS longer than anyone else, who inducted members into the Hall of Fame; Brian Seymore, head football coach; and Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal at AHS.

Coach Robertson inducted Edwin Burnett, Harris Rabren, Fred Crittenden, and Tim Nall into the Hall of Fame. Each inductee was given a chance to respond.

“Also, members of the l947 football team, the first undefeated team in AHS history, were honored.

“The widow of Coach Norred, who coached the 1947 team, was present and made a gracious speech on behalf of her late husband, who coached only three years at AHS. She is the mother of our local Pennye (Mrs. Ziba) Anderson.

“Harris Rabren’s induction was made even more special because the date was his mother’s 82nd birthday and his daughter, Megan, sang the ‘Star-spangled Banner.’ His parents were present; they have been married 61 years.”

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote Jean Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher and author, “I must confess to you that the majesty of the scriptures astonishes me; if it had been the invention of man, the invention would have been greater than the greatest heroes.”

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.

Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, sought help from France, Britain, and Spain, as earlier rebels against Britain sought help in the Revolutionary War.

The Confederacy tried to establish a Confederate state government in Missouri, where many favored the Confederacy.

One Northern newspaper editor was tarred and feathered for expressing sympathy for the South in his paper.

(How’s that for freedom of speech?)

Several Northern newspapers were taken to court for alleged pro-Confederacy leanings.

The 79th New York Regiment, a unit of volunteers, mutinied.

The 2nd Maine Volunteers mutinied.

Gen. John Fremont set up his headquarters in St. Louis, Mo. Missouri was an early battlefield in the War.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps. There’s another new stamp, too, honoring Mark Twain, the author. Ask for it by name.

The mysterian last week was Janette Carroll, identified by her niece, Janna (Douglas) McGlamory.

This week’s mystery person is athletic, a retired educator, sharp-minded, tough, fun-loving, a widow, sociable, interested in everybody and everything, who enjoys company.

Notable birthdays this past week included Sir Walter Scott, a poet and novelist of Scotland, the “Great Scott,” who lived in a castle like a Medieval lord and tried to recapture a style of living long gone by. In his writings he tried to make every place in Scotland special by weaving stories about it, using its name in his works, and setting his stories there.

Scott’s masterpiece may be Ivanhoe, a novel.

Among the quotations he has given us is “Oh, what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive.”

Some lines he wrote in a poem, beginning with “Hail to the Chief,” are the words to the song used by bands that play when our President enters a room.

Here in America we have our own version of Sir Walter Scott – William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, the greatest writer of the Old South, whose life can be paralleled to that of Scott.

The Portly Gentleman told me of his attending the regular Monday meeting/lunch of the Kiwanis Club at Tabby D.’s this week.

Sue (Bass) Wilson played a “set” of songs on a piano as members gathered in a private dining room, having served themselves from the buffet. There sat a roomful of fine people.

Sue played several, beloved songs, including “In the Good, Ol’ Summer Time.”

Casey Thompson, past president, led “Happy Birthday” to Steve Thomas, the current president.

Following prayer and introductions of guests, Casey reported on the state Kiwanis convention, held last weekend in Andalusia.

Guests included members of the Dixon Foundation, David and Ellen (Corlew) Beasley from Florence, and the Portly Gentleman.

Beasley, who has served twice as lieutenant governor of Division 2 of the 14 divisions that make up the Alabama District of Kiwanis, was guest speaker, sharing news of an international Kiwanis project called Eliminate. The Kiwanians have undertaken to eliminate a type of tetanus that infects new mothers and their babies, causing horrible deaths for the babies in 14 days.

Beasley is coordinator for the Alabama District.

The hope is to vaccinate mothers before births and thus eliminate the tetanus problem all over the world by 2015, the l00th anniversary of Kiwanis. The financial goal is to raise 110 million in four years, 2 million and 40,000 in Alabama.

To “get the ball rolling,” Beasley auctioned a T-shirt to the group to raise money for Eliminate. The Portly Gentleman won with a high bid of $35. He was trying to “prime the pump” and got soaked.

The Portly One and Beasley have been friends since the fourth grade at Morningview Elementary School in Montgomery, finishing Capitol Heights Junior High and Lee High together; then, going on to Howard College, finishing in 1966 and 1967. Beasley took an extra year as a pharmacy student. Ellen and the Portly One were graduated in 1966, the year that Howard became Samford University.

The Beasleys have three grown children and are grandparents. David worked in hospital pharmacies 39 years; the Portly One, 39 years in education.

All are Baptists.

David grew up on Oak Forest Drive in East Montgomery, one of the first streets opened beyond Capitol Heights on the old grounds of the Morningview Plantation. That’s the same street where our Bob Harry, a local educator, was reared.

The Portly One was reared one street over from David and Bob, on Bradley.

During a seven-hour visit Sunday afternoon the Beasleys and Portly One enjoyed catching up with news. It had been about twenty years since they had seen each other.

They spoke of Oak Forest where Beasley, Bob Harry, Morris Dennis, George McCain (now mayor of Tallassee), Norman Connell (“the Old Chunker”), Pat Scott (the Portly One’s girlfriend), Bill Carden (whose parents ran the Dutch House in Montgomery), and Marvin Chatfield, had lived.

They talked of Bradley Drive and the Casmus boys, of Carol Sue Brown, the Taylors and Williamses.

The Portly One was saddened to learn that his childhood friend, Morris Dennis, had passed away.

The three friends remembered old teachers, Miss Margaret Steiner, Miss Marion Bumpers, friends such as Pat Mitchell, Yancey Park, Howard days, Ellen’s working in the library with Miss Helen Stamps, Fanna K. Bee, Mr. Helmbold (the librarian), Miss Winona King (who worked at Howard in the library to earn her teaching degree), Mary Mitchell, Dr. Lee Allen and his Catherine Bryant, the Little Rascals, Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Dick Tracy, the comics, the Crimson, Savannah, reunions, Panama City, Billy Austin, Mickey Castleberry, the Marriott at Wilson Lake, and much more.

Beasley is writing a book, by the way, on the Florence Kiwanis Club.

Seen at Chen’s last Sunday for lunch were Roy and Audrey Wilson, Kyle Ray and Carol Thomasson, William and Beverly Gilder, Dwight and Sonja Crigger, their Callie Marie, and Carl, sporting his Tom’s shoes.

At Tabby D.’s I ran into Abbie (Taylor) Miller, that beautiful person, and asked about her mother, who is recovering.

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