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

Published 10:14 am Monday, February 13, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville, driving up to my postage-stamp yard to park. I opened the door for her to come in a moment. We were on our way to see the camellias about town as well as the South Carolina yellow jasmine, growing over the iron-wrought, picket fence at Keahey’s on Stanley Avenue.

Mrs. Gotrocks later told me that our camellias didn’t begin to measure up to those in “the Camellia City” (Greenville), but I brought up the Swan camellia and asked just how many of those could be found in Greenville. (I still find it difficult to be charitable in my heart toward a woman who helped replace the state flower – the native goldenrod – with the foreign camellia.)

Congratulations, by the way, to Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrated her 60th (“Diamond”) anniversary as Queen of England Feb. 6 at the age of 85. The only other monarch who ruled as long was Queen Victoria, Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother, who was queen some 63-plus years.

I remember hearing in the second grade in 1952 that Elizabeth had inherited the crown after the death of her father, George.

Seen at Hook’s for lunch were Ashton and Katy Sue Wells, her sister Pam Brannon and Pam’s husband, Buddy, Mark Craig and Benny Gay.

One Accord, the ladies’ ensemble at First Baptist, beautifully sang a special number in worship last Sunday morning.

I’ve been reading about charter schools and feel they are not in the best interests of Alabama’s school children.

The centennial of the birth of Roy Rogers, the movie cowboy, continues through Nov. 5 of 2012.

Seen Sunday at the hospital cafeteria for lunch were Rayford and Carolyn Davis, James Hugh and Keron Kyzar, Betty Bass, Ed and Judy Buck, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Herb “the Barbecue King” and Sue Carlisle, Jack and Marian Perry, Brenda Poole, Barbara (Poole) Teel, Roy and Caroline Picking and Ab and Judy St. John.

It was fun, talking to Dan and Virginia about the yellow-brick house on Sanford Road where they and I have lived at different times.

The Covington Rifles Camp 1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans assembled for their monthly meeting Feb. 2 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Sir Francis McGowin, commander, dressed splendidly in period clothing, presided over a round-table discussion of points of interest to members.

John Allen Gantt, chaplain, led in both invocation and benediction.

Following pledges to the national, state, and Confederate flags, Larry Shaw, songster, led all in “Dixie.”

Among those attending were Sir Francis, Jimmy Cobb, Derrick Davis, Larry Shaw, Curtis Hampton Thomasson, Vaughn Bowers, John Allen Gantt and Joe Wingard.

Do you remember the late Jo Mosdell, a member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church who spearheaded the community dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas, now memorials to her?

Her wish was to be cremated and for her ashes to be scattered in the Gulf of Mexico, as those of her husband (Ernie) were.

Six of her friends made that wish come true.

Jo died Nov. 9, 2011; and on a Mon., Jan. 30, 2012, Mike Jones (the retired teacher), Reggie Arnett, Frankie Lancaster, Margaret Goodspeed and Lenora Johnson drove to Navarre Beach to follow the wishes of their dear friend, Josephine (Peake) Mosdell. There they were joined by Joy Tway of Destin, Fla., formerly of Andalusia.

On the way down the group enjoyed Frankie’s reading of some of Jo’s poetry.

Before strewing the ashes, the friends read scripture passages and prayed.

Each took a turn, scattering Jo’s ashes from an English teacup – Jo was an English citizen.

Then they ate at Jo’s favorite place, Red Lobster, taking time to toast their ol’ friend.

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, AL 36420.

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

The Federals took Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. General Burnside’s Northern troops took Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The Confederates lost gunboats in North Carolina and on the Tennessee River. Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River was eyed by the Federals as the next prize for their invading troops. The South was being elbowed into losses left and right.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial and Mark Twain stamps.

No one identified last Saturday’s cluegraph, so I shall repeat it – soft-spoken, quiet, professional, a bookworm, known for growing violets in her windowsills.

Birthdays this week included those of Abram Joseph Ryan, a Catholic priest and poet of the Old South, known especially for two poems, “The Conquered Banner” and “The Sword of Robert E. Lee”; Christopher Marlowe, English author of several plays, especially The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus; Charles Dickens, English novelist; Thomas More, English statesman who died rather than compromise his beliefs; Charles Lamb, English essayist; and Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor who defined genius as l percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

Ryan, mentioned above, lived part of his life in Mobile and lies buried there.

Marlowe wrote the famous lines, “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium (Troy)? Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!” (He would be immortal in the memories of mankind because he had kissed Helen of Troy. A thousand ships went to bring her home after she was kidnapped.)

Dickens, born Feb. 7, 1812, some 200 years ago this week, is considered by many the greatest novelist ever to write. He considered his best book to be David Copperfield, which would be the greatest novel ever written if Dickens is the greatest novelist. Perhaps, gentle reader, you can read it during this year of his bicentennial in the way of celebrating dear, old Dickens, who also gave us A Christmas Carol. There are celebrations of Dickens this year all around the world. Join in!

Thomas More’s life is celebrated in the book and movie, A Man for All Seasons. His is one of the most inspirational lives known to man.

Miss Sue tells me that she’s enjoying Downton Abbey, the Sunday-night, Masterpiece Theater series on PBS.

She praised “the period costumes, hairstyles, dialogue, war snippets and setting of the English story that takes place on an estate, with all of the actors portraying a long-gone era that merits being remembered by history enthusiasts and Anglophiles among us!”

Miss Sue continued, “I remember traveling to London with a Samford University literary tour group, led by Dr. Mark Baggett, that visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. At the entrance on the side wall was a large bomb hole commemorated with a plaque that read, ‘Lest we forget the Battle of Britain.’”

Miss Sue also told me of seeing Rebecca (Seymour) Barton, along with a host of family and friends, all celebrating Rebecca’s 90th birthday at Hilltop Restaurant in Gantt. Sue admired the new painted-beach murals that brighten the covered pavilion where fresh seafood from the Gulf is served by Billy Green and his family on weekends. Sue added that, “bold color is the theme from the ‘beaches’ out front to the bows in Gina Green’s hair!”

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