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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed that several spring blooms are bursting forth early – forsythia, Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate (also called Breath of Spring) and South Carolina yellow jasmine. They had best wait their turn and let winter run its course.

My dear friend, Jule Browder, and I enjoyed a ‘phone visit this past week. She turned 87 January 9, and turned even more precious in my heart.

Sometimes from the British “sit-coms” on TV I hear an Englishman speak of a “bacon butty.” Cousin Jo Driggers, whom I sometimes call “Computerella,” found the name on her computer and informed me that a “bacon butty” in England is a bacon sandwich, spread with butter. If you are familiar with Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances, you remember that he keeps asking his wife, Daisy, for a “bacon butty.”

This coming February will usher in the bicentennial (200th anniversary) of the birth of Charles Dickens, thought by some to be the greatest novelist in English history. Dickens was born Feb. 7, 1812. Many events, celebrating his life, can be found “on-line.”

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Roy Rogers, a movie cowboy, born Nov. 5, 1911 (died July 6, l998), continues to be celebrated.

Recently I ran into Evelyn Waites, who used to work here for the Auburn Extension Service. She now works in Talladega at the state’s deaf and blind schools, teaching home economics, and is doing well.

Have you seen the new cross at the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery, especially at night when it is lighted? It’s a beautiful sight.

Thanks to citizens of the “Dimple of Dixie” who went to the trouble and expense of putting up Christmas lights. They were enjoyed!

“Clydie” Clump waved at me from the pecan orchard at Covington Hall the other day as I drove by. He picks up on halves for Colonel Covington.

Have you noticed the bleak but beautiful winterscape at dusk when the setting sun makes of the bare branches along the horizon what looks like Spanish, black lace?

Growing camellias was once a “big deal” in Greenville and in Andalusia, especially among the men. There are many camellias still growing in Andalusia from the time when camellias were at their height of popularity. I hate to see the camellia’s popularity wane. Mrs. Gotrocks insists Greenville is still “the Camellia City,” but I wonder if there’s even one Swan camellia to be found there.

Don’t you enjoy the cozy feeling of being indoors during cold weather? Miss Cora calls it “popcorn weather.” It is, indeed, nice to curl up by a hearth fire, spread over by an afghan, and munch popcorn, or drink hot chocolate, or hot cider, or hot tea, or hot wassail, or toast marshmallows, or – nap.

Miss Flora Covington and I went walking through the winter woods the other day; it’s a nice time of the year to walk because there is beauty in the bleakness, one can see the landscape more easily, can walk more easily in the cool air, and walk without fear of bugs and snakes.

Representatives of employees in public education in the counties of Conecuh, Covington and Escambia attended their monthly meeting Monday night, Jan. 9, at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen. This group of three counties is known as District 24 in the Alabama Education Association.

Attending were Eugene Smith, Rita Folmar, Lawrence Goldsmith, Nancy M. Crosby, Dianne McKenzie, Beverly Wade, Ethel M. Robertson, Jacqueline Earthly, Calvin McIntyre, Jenelle Riley, Vivian Jones (District 24 director in the employ of AEA), Marilyn Simmons, Nathaniel Belcher, Adrian Hixon, Holley Tullis, Joyce Belcher and Joe Wingard.

Those attending learned that all AEA members in District 24 are invited to meet the new AEA executive secretary, Dr. Henry C. Mabry, Thurs., Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. in Hillcrest High School Cafetorium in Evergreen. Dr. Mabry replaced Dr. Paul Hubbert, long-time executive secretary, at the end of December.

A free meal will be served afterwards.

Those attending also learned that the annual District 24 banquet is set for February 24 in Bolden Cardwell Hall in Evergreen. Tickets can be purchased from local AEA presidents in Andalusia, Opp and Covington County. (Perry Dillard is the Andalusia president.)

Those attending learned, too, that District 24 has lost some 93 members this year. Several thousand AEA members have been lost over the state. Some attribute this loss partially to the loss of Democratic power in the Alabama legislature and to the increase of Republican power. AEA has long been seen as pro-Democratic party. Some think some Republicans are using their new power to “get even” with AEA, which grew in power and influence over the years under Dr. Paul Hubbert, who ended up one of the most powerful men in Alabama politics, to the resentment of many.

The annual Epiphany Tea of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was attended Sun., Jan. 8, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., in the old sanctuary, now the quaint church library.

Evensong, to celebrate the arrival of the three magi (wise men) to see the Christ Child, followed at 4 p.m.

For the tea a central, round table, spread with “Sister” Barnes’s cloth from an island off the coast of Venice, Italy, underlay silver platters laden with tea sandwiches (cucumber, pimiento, and chicken salad), cookies, cakes, cheese straws, strawberries, candies and petit fours, which last especially delighted the Portly Gentleman.

Two other tables, used to serve hot tea in china cups, were laid with cloths belonging to Candy Kyle. A silver tea service graced one table; and a china service, the other.

Fresh flowers centered the tables, making them prettily appointed.

The location of the tea in the old sanctuary made it all the more lovely, like an English parlor. Several recounted advice on teas from Jo Mosdell, an English lady and member of St. Mary’s, sadly, deceased since last year’s tea.

The main sanctuary, beautiful in its old-fashioned glory, was decorated for Christmas with wreaths on the front doors, wreaths and swags in the windows, banks of red poinsettias at the pulpit and altar, a manger scene and a tree trimmed in white lights.

The service began appropriately with “We Three Kings,” played by John Beasley, organist and choirmaster, recently retired mathematics professor at the Andalusia High School.

The children of the church then adorned the Crismon Tree with ornaments of gold and white, symbols of Christianity. Older children read explanations of the symbols as younger youth marched in, displaying the ornaments.

The service included a processional, chants, hymns, scripture, lessons from the Bible, the “Apostles’ Creed,” the “Lord’s Prayer,”other prayers, collects, and a recessional.

Frankie Lancaster sang a solo of “Mary, Did You Know?” as John Beasley accompanied. This song has become a special feature of the evensong, sung expressively, dramatically, and tenderly by Mrs. Lancaster, whose voice suits the song wonderfully well.

Officiating was Dr. Cynthia Carter Howard, the priest, whose clear, soprano voice, also glorifies Christ.

Reading the scripture were George Proctor, Mike Purnell and Jeanie Metzger.

Torch bearers in the processional were the twins, Jon Weed and Catherine Weed.

Mr. Proctor carried the cross.

John Earl Duggan served as usher.

S. Daniel Shehan, retired teacher and businessman, formerly of Andalusia and a citizen of Savannah for the last 10 years, successfully underwent surgery Jan. 5; however, following surgery, he suffered many difficulties. Your prayers are requested.

Driving home from a recent trip, I returned through Enterprise about noon and stopped for lunch at the historic Rawls Hotel, near the famous statue of the boll weevil.

Someone has lovingly restored the old hotel.

I explored the handsome interior, set up in the middle for a restaurant, with tables, laid with white cloths. Square, wooden, Corinthian columns supported the two-story interior. A covered back porch with wicker furniture invited guests to sit outside in fair weather. Two large, banquet halls were to one side. A private room for small parties was available, just off the main dining room. Each table was centered with seasonal poinsettias. Even the washrooms were elegant.

The main restaurant was decorated for Christmas; and beautiful arrangements of Christmas music floated through the air, played by a grand player-piano, as though some ghost were on the bench.

The menu offered imaginative choices.

I noted the restaurant hours as Tuesday – Friday for lunch and Monday – Saturday for dinner, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

While in Enterprise, I stopped at the grave of Sandra Anazia King, born Jan. 1, 1939, died April 20, 2000. Sandra was a friend to many people, an industrious, energetic, busy, active citizen, interested in a dozen projects, all at once. She was greatly admired by those who knew her. A twin, Sandra was married to her work, serving as librarian at our community college.

I placed some poinsettias at her grave and recounted her life, one that ended so unexpectedly and all too soon.

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, AL 36420.

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

The North and South clashed in Kentucky. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops occupied Romney, Virginia. The Northern navy landed 15,000 troops from 100 ships on the North Carolina coast. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commanded. (We get “sideburns” from his surname.) Lincoln chose Edwin Stanton (1814-1869) of Ohio as his new secretary of war. Stanton had been attorney general under President Buchanan, who preceded Lincoln. Stanton is the man who said upon Lincoln’s death, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial and Mark Twain stamps.

Congratulations to Jo Driggers of Lexington, S.C., for identifying the mysterian. It was, indeed, the New Year – 2012. Thanks to Hope Wallace for a near second.

The new cluegraph follows: slow-walking, slow-talking, a Baptist and a tenor, a retired doctor.

The featured birthday this week is that of Horatio Alger, an American minister-novelist, who invented the “rags-to-riches” stories of poor boys, who, through hard work, become rich. Miss Annalee Simmons, one-time teacher of social studies and English at the Andalusia High School, once told me that she was disillusioned with Mr. Alger because she believed his stories and that she could become rich through hard work, but didn’t.

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