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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Miss Cora Covington, my neighbor across the way, coming through my gateway, overarched with a trellis covered in sweet autumn clematis.

She bore in her hands something, which turned out to be a pear cobbler. We enjoyed second helpings as we caught up on tidbits of news.

We also helped ourselves to a bowl of scuppernongs and muscadines from the Covington vines.

“Have you felt the tinges of fall yet?” asked Miss Cora.

“Yes,” I answered, “but it’s still so hot.”

We spoke of the beauty of fields of yellow bitterweed, of cotton fields already whitening, of mowed fields, dotted with rolls of hay, of morning glories, climbing mailboxes, of fresh vegetables and boiled peanuts and of crepe myrtles, still showing off their lace-like blooms, all basking in the last suns of August.

Summer is a-waning.

Cometh September, the yellow month, with its butterflies, a-float on wings of sun-struck stained glass.

Gordon and Trudy Vickers, who work with the senior adults at First Baptist, spoke of eating at the Dew Drop Inn on Old Shell Road in Mobile while down there to see the doctor.

Trudy’s parents dated at the Dew Drop, famous for its hotdogs topped with homemade chili sauce; so, it’s a sentimental stop for her.

The Vickerses also told me of their granddaughter in California, Claire Adams Miller, who flew to Australia as one representative (ambassador) of her high school to another.

Seen, having supper at Church’s Chicken, were a group of senior adults from Cedar Grove Church of Christ, James and Barbara Donaldson, Charles and Autie Thomasson, Bud and Estelle Parker, Dallas and Boncile Merritt, Tom and Carol Black and James and Mary Ann Rabren.

Seen at Wingard’s Farm Market were Randy Curry, Pat Strength and Douglas Castleberry.

At J. C. Penney I ran into Paula Crow. She and Butch were in town from Fayetteville, Ga., visiting their son Phillip. Butch is retired now, but Paula still works five days a week with Delta.

Paula looked better than ever. You’d think she was aging backwards.

If any of you happens to be in Montgomery Labor Day, Sept. 5, for lunch try the 63rd annual sale of the Greek Orthodox Church on Mt. Meigs for barbecue (pork, chicken, lamb) and Greek pastries. The sale is a tremendously popular event every year in Montgomery. There’s the atmosphere of a church homecoming and a family reunion combined, a festival, a Sunday-School picnic! It’s nice!

The Portly Gentleman tells me that he relished supper recently at David’s Catfish House with Greg and Jan White and their sunny daughter, Kelley.

The newspaper poet, Edgar Albert Guest, came up; and three of the little group fell to quoting in unison a poem by Guest known to each, “Somebody Said That It Couldn’t Be Done.”

The conversation hopped around to favorite stories, to missions and all things interesting.

The Whites are a cheerful, interesting, intelligent, cultured, moral, alert, well-educated family, most enjoyable!

Gentle reader, you may recall that Jan writes a religious column weekly in this very newspaper and is a national, award-winning essayist.

Seen at David’s Catfish for supper were Tom and Amanda Albritton and their children, Hunter and James, well mannered and polite. The Albrittons are among the founding families of Old Andalusia, our claim to aristocracy. Their law practice here is the oldest in Alabama, still practicing.

I’ve become aware that the actress, Lucille Ball, would have turned l00 this summer.

The Portly Gentleman shared that, when he was a boy, his dad had ordered a new television, the family’s first, to be delivered. His dad was away at work when the set was delivered late one Monday evening. (Orders must have been backed up for the set to arrive so late.)

The deliveryman installed the set and turned it on. It was exactly 8 p.m., and I Love Lucy was just coming on.

For years Lucy’s show was aired on Mondays at 8 p.m. on Channel 20, Montgomery, the only station broadcasting at the time, and only for certain hours of the day, at that.

Perhaps because it was the first show the Portly One ever saw on his family TV, it was his favorite.

Today, still, the show goes on in re-runs with Ricky, Fred and Ethel, and Lucy, of course.

One of my readers reports seeing two roads named for father and son here in Covington County, the Ed Short Road near the airport and the Judge Lex Short Road near Rose Hill. Lex is the son. Gentle reader, do you know of any other roads, named for fathers and sons, or other combinations?

Seen at the Steamboat for lunch were John (now happily enjoying his first year of retirement from Andalusia High School) and Connie Beasley, Jeanne Bozeman, Pat Wilcox, Mollie Riley, Melissa King, Norma King and Jay Brabner, looking fashionable with his beard.

Colonel Covington in a talk at the Andalusia Lyceum lamented the lack today of sinners like Belle Watling, the good-hearted prostitute in Gone with the Wind.

“Belle knew what sin was. She knew she was a sinner. She didn’t make any excuses for herself or attribute her behavior to sexual orientation or anything else. It was sin. Belle didn’t try to justify it. She knew by instinct what was right and what was wrong. Belle still blushed, especially around the likes of Melanie Hamilton. That meant Belle knew she sinned; it also meant that there was hope for Belle.

“Belle knew that one day she’d have to pay the price, and she was a sport about it. That was the way it was. She had ‘made her bed,’ and she’d have to ‘pay the piper.’ She knew she couldn’t ‘have her cake and eat it, too.’

“I like to think that Belle repented and went to Heaven.

“John Wayne understood, too. Right was right, and wrong was wrong. True men didn’t excuse sin; they took punishment on the chin.

“Today many sinners don’t want to think of their sins as sins. Some do not even acknowledge sin. Some are self-righteous. They play god. They say what is right and what is wrong. They do not submit to a higher authority. They do not acknowledge the Bible. They do not acknowledge God. Their beliefs stop with the Constitution as the highest authority, unless the Constitution blocks their desires. If so, the Constitution can be twisted to support almost any view.

“It should be observed at this point that just because one does not see himself as a sinner doesn’t mean he isn’t one, as the sun exists whether one believes in the sun or not.

“This attitude of being sin-less is where being an American can be a drawback because we Americans like to think we have the freedom to do as we please. This attitude may lead us to think that, if we are restricted in what we want to do, we can always protest or sue or somehow get around authority to have our ways. Some Americans deny any authority over them, including the Bible and God. They may, however, acknowledge the Constitution when it’s convenient.

“American or not, some sinners deny sin is sin. They certainly don’t want anyone else to call what they do sin. That hurts their feelings. In fact, they want their sins to be accepted as admirable social behavior. A little praise would be nice, too. Add to praise, popularity.

“It comes to me, though, that without sin, there is no need for salvation; so Christianity becomes unnecessary, the sacrifice of Christ becomes unnecessary.

“Also, sinners want to remove all reminders of Christianity because the thought of God and His Way bothers them.

“No wonder sinners want to get rid of Christianity.

“No wonder there are enemies of Christianity coming out of the woodwork. “No wonder there is a movement to remove the Name of God from public places.

“No wonder sin is being swept under the carpet.

“Without Christianity there is no restraint on doing as one pleases, except for man’s law, which can be manipulated. A sin-less society wants unrestricted freedom, even from the Bible and God.

“The federal government, which facilitates sin, financially and legally, has fallen right in line, even led the move toward a no-fault, sin-free society.

“So, the list of sins becomes shorter. It seems there are those who want to eliminate the idea of sin altogether. Who knows? For the right amount some attorney might be able to eliminate even abuse and murder as sins.

“Yet, O Reprobates, one day sinners will know sin for what it is. On Judgment Day, though, it will be too late. Then, no slick lawyer or liberal federal judge or ‘Supreme’ Court will be able to save you. Being an American will not entitle a Social Security salvation, nor an appeals process above God, nor insurance against Hell. What hurt feelings there will be on that day! To whom will one protest on that day? To whom will one go for legal advice? Who will sue God? The gavel will have fallen.”

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I quote Charles A. Dana, an American journalist, “Of all books the most indispensable and the most useful, the one whose knowledge is the most effective, is the Bible. There is no book like the Bible. In every controversy the Bible contains the right answer and pleads for the right policy.”

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 1582, 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 l50 years ago.

Commodore Silas Strigham and Gen. Benjamin Butler landed at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and took two Confederate forts in order to stop blockade-runners in that area.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial stamps.

There’s another new stamp, too, honoring Mark Twain, the author. Ask for it by name.

No one has identified the mysterian yet, so I repeat the cluegraph: athletic, retired educator, sharp-minded, tough, fun-loving, a widow, sociable, interested in everybody and everything, one who enjoys company.

Who is she? I wonder.

The notable birthday this past week was that of Edgar Lee Masters, an attorney-poet, whose masterpiece is Spoon River Anthology, some 200 epitaphs in free verse.

Now, gentle reader, let me encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing. Those who still believe in sin might want to confess yours and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. That’s what my Momma told me, and I believe it. I never doubted that I was a sinner, and it gets more obvious year by year. Fare thee well.