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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed the South Carolina yellow jasmine, climbing over my picket fence. The blooms reminded me of those dangling over the old Mallette picket fence at Keahey’s along Stanley Avenue, probably the best display of the yellow blooms in Andalusia.

Curtis and Margie (Jacques) Thomasson visited their son, Curt, his wife Heather, and grandsons, Tyler, l0, and Peyton, 9, in Oakman, Ala., Feb. 10-12.

The proud grandparents enjoyed watching the boys compete in the Cub Scouts’ annual Pinewood Derby with the cars they had built themselves.

Tyler won third place; and Peyton, fourth, out of some 50 participants.

The grandparents attended Parrish Church of Christ Sunday morning with Curt and his family and were among the “Golden Agers,” honored after service with an annual Valentine banquet. The older folks were served by the younger adults and the youth, among whom were Tyler and Peyton, who had the joy of serving their grandparents.

On their way back to Andalusia, Curtis and Margie stopped off in Tuscaloosa to visit Gwen Lollar, a close friend in the Church who had befriended Curtis in his college days.

Miss Sue tells me that Adellum Baptist on the Brooklyn Road extends a standing invitation to members and friends to attend their fifth-Sunday- evening, hymn singing. The pastor is Bobby Morgan; the choir director, Dale Ward.

Miss Sue also reports that at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce banquet, Andalusia High School received the Golden Palette Award from the Lower Alabama Arts Council, represented by its president, Paula Sue Duebelt. A.H.S. art instructor, Joni Brannon, and principal, Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, both art enthusiasts, have been instrumental in an art project that hangs copies of famous paintings in the hallways of the school so that students, just in passing the pictures daily, can “absorb” the names of paintings and artists and thus increase their cultural knowledge.

The copies have been donated by former students and staff. One copy was brought back by hand from Scotland.

One of the great men of Andalusia passed away on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 – Zelmer Jones.

The Star-News has printed already a lengthy obituary as well as a feature on its front page. I shall add what may not already have been recorded.

The funeral service was attended Fri., Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, with Keahey Funeral Home, directing.

Mr. Jones had worked for Keahey about 20 years, following his retirement as an insurance salesman.

Mr. Jones was laid in an open casket at the altar of the Baptist church. Mourners paid their respects the morning of the funeral, 10 a.m. until noon, and during the lunch hours.

Several dozen red roses, interspersed among asparagus fern, served as a blanket in church. When the casket was taken to the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery, however, an American flag covered the coffin.

Mr. Jones was clothed in a dark suit with a print tie, his Kiwanis pin on his coat and his Kiwanis medal of honor on a lanyard about his neck. His glasses and wristwatch were buried with him, but his marriage ring was removed.

Martha Givhan, organist at First Baptist, played the pipe organ.

As the family filed in to their pews, Mrs. Givhan played “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which has become the theme song of First Baptist.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, Mr. Jones’s pastor, led in prayer and followed with his eulogy.

He spoke of Mr. Jones as one with a good name, as a humble servant, and a devoted Kiwanian (a service club).

David Coram Jr., who is married to Mr. Jones’s granddaughter, Erin, sang “Midnight Cry” to taped music. It was pointed out that Mr. Jones died just past midnight.

Mr. Coram, the manager of a hotel in Birmingham, is chairman of the deacons at First Baptist in Pelham.

John Foster, who was Mr. Jones’s pastor for 20 years and knew him for 35 years, delivered his eulogy, stating that Zelmer was a “doer” and a “finisher,” that he was loyal, gracious, sincere, and the backbone of his civic club, the Kiwanis.

Brother Foster said that Zelmer was a heavenly valentine to his late wife, Katherine.

Don Lingle, former minister of music at First Baptist for 28 years, sang “How Great Thou Art,” accompanied by Mrs. Givhan.

Mr. Lingle and his wife Dot, who came with him, have retired to Margaret, Ala., and are attending Vestavia Hills Baptist, where Mr. Lingle sings in the choir. He is still active in the Century Men, a traveling choir of 100 ministers of music.

At the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery the sun came out and made a spring-like afternoon.

Among those present was Mr. Jones’s granddaughter, Erin, expecting her second daughter.

The brother of the late Katherine (Kilpatrick) Jones, James, spoke at the grave, using prayer, scripture, anecdotes about Zelmer and Katherine, and a poem.

Following “Taps,” two soldiers, a young man and a young woman, folded the American flag from the casket; and he presented it, on bended knee, to Mr. Jones’s only child, Larry.

The burial site is near the new fence along Easley Drive.

Many will look for Zelmer in his old place at First Baptist, always faithful, always ready to serve, always dependable. I should not be surprised to find him in Eternity at the Gates of Pearl, standing there, waiting to greet the new arrivals.

Seen at David’s for lunch were Bob and Flora Roland, with their granddaughter, Lauren Williams (daughter of Mary Lynn), and her beau, Spenser Walker; Benny and Esther Barrow, former mayor and first lady; and Terry and Mia Wilson and her parents, Tony and Jeanice Fendley.

Clay Clyde Clump told me the other day, “It wasn’t the apple; it was the pair.”

John Bolen was baptized by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist, last Sunday, Feb. 19.

Present for John’s baptism were his mother, Endsley Givhan Bolen; his father, Brandon Bolen; his maternal grandparents, John and Martha (James) Givhan; his Great-Uncle Sonny James (Martha’s brother) and Sonny’s grandson, Matthew Heath; his Uncle John Givhan II (Endsley’s brother); his godmother, Kay Hugghins; and friends, David and Carol Moore.

Last Sunday at First Baptist a praise team, using a keyboard, drums, guitar, violin and voices, led the congregation in morning worship.

They were joined by Chris Brooks, a youth pastor at Calvary Baptist in Tuscaloosa, in an effort to bring young souls to Christ.

The service, which involved dozens of youth from the area, all wearing themed, blue T-shirts, was the culmination of a weekend, youth revival in Covington County, similar to others across the nation, going under the name of Disciple Now.

At the end of the service youth went forward to rededicate or surrender their lives to Christ.

The senior adults of First Baptist attended their monthly luncheon in Fellowship Hall, Feb. 21.

The guest speaker was Joyce Ogutu, originally from Kenya. She is now living in the United States with a green card, along with her husband, Bishop Joseph Ogutu, bishop over St. John’s Gospel Churches in Kenya, and their two sons, who are enrolled at the Lurleen Burns Wallace Community College.

The family had to flee Kenya because of political upheaval.

Educated in Kenya, Mrs. Ogutu told of her life in Kenya and her eventual arrival in Andalusia.

Assisting her in her presentation was Lenora Johnson, who has become a mother figure to Mrs. Ogutu.

Recognized at the luncheon were the alliterative Harry and Helen Hinson, who have been married 62 years.

Valentine’s was the decorative theme. Several chairs had numbers under them. If a person just happened to sit in that special chair, he received a Valentine’s surprise – a box of sweets.

The tables were decorated by Trudy Vickers, wife of Gordon Vickers, the minister to senior adults.

Pink, paper valentines were used as placemats. Centerpieces were placed on red napkins beneath crystal dishes filled with valentine candy corn, surrounded by camellias from the gardens of Richard and Denise Krudop, who live in his parents’ house and “inherited” a large collection of camellias, perhaps the largest in town.

Valentine napkins, pink-colored newsletters, and red-velvet cake also carried out the Valentine’s theme.

The meal was catered by Green’s – ham, cabbage, some really tasty fried bread, black-eyed peas, tea and coffee, the latter served by Margaret Smyly.

Jim and Martha Williams, retired missionaries to Africa, were guests of Bill Law.

Herb Carlisle worded the blessing.

The senior adults are in the process of finding a new name for their group, to replace “senior adults.”

Some senior adults of First Baptist drove over to Opp Thursday a week ago to eat supper at Barr’s Seafood.

Barr’s has been under several owners. The latest is Terry Kilpatrick, who re-opened the locally famous eatery last Oct. 21.

The interior is attractive and inviting.

I hear tell that a Mr. Couch, a former owner, is chief cook. He’s Jan White’s brother.

Attending from First Baptist were Bill Law, Bea Miller, Vivian Hickey, June Smith, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Joe Wingard, Lucy Martin, Allene Ezzell, Myrtle Ruth Williams, Gillis “the Comb Man” and Laura Ann Jones, and Kim Dyess.

I read in the Feb. 14 issue of The Montgomery Advertiser that Ed Richardson plans to serve as executive director of the newly formed Pike Road Education Leadership Council, taking the job as consultant and adviser to the group now planning a public school system in Pike Road.

Dr. Richardson served eight years as principal of the Andalusia High School and went on to become state superintendent of education and president of Auburn University.

Bill Law tells me that the RFD TV station shows a Roy Rogers film each week. This year, you know, is the centennial of the birth of the famous movie cowboy, born Nov. 5, 1911.

This year is also the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Dickens, the English novelist, born Feb. 7, 1812. Tomorrow night, Feb. 26, on Masterpiece Theatre on public television a new British production of Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop is scheduled.

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. l582, Andalusia, AL 36420. I especially want to thank Gillis Jones for his generous contribution of late.

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

President and Mrs. Lincoln lost their little son, Willie, 12, to typhoid fever.

Confederate troops were still being pushed out of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Nathaniel Gordon, a slave trader, was hanged at New York City.

In the New Mexico Territory Gen. H. H. Sibley led his outnumbered Southern troops to defeat the Northern forces at Valvarde.

Jefferson Davis, who, until now, had served as provisional president of the Confederate States of America, was officially inaugurated president of the C.S.A. at Richmond, Virginia.

The North took by force Harper’s Ferry, Va., and Nashville, Tenn.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial and Mark Twain stamps.

For the fourth week no one has identified correctly the mysterian, though there have been some good guesses. Here is the cluegraph again – soft-spoken, quiet, professional, a bookworm, known for growing violets in her windowsills.

Birthdays this week include those of David Garrick, an English actor, famous at one time; George Washington, first president of the United States, born Feb. 22, not on a day convenient for state, long weekends; James Russell Lowell, American poet; Frederic Chopin, Polish pianist and composer; George Frederick Handel, British-German composer; Samuel Pepys, English author of a secret diary; and Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor and opera singer.

Washington is known as the “Father of His Country” and was eulogized by his favorite general in the Revolutionary War, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, the father of General Robert E. Lee, with the following: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen!”

None of us would be enjoying the freedoms we do now if it were not for the bravery, sacrifice, and dedication of General Washington. God, rest his soul! What a man! What a man! What a man!

The poet, James Russell Lowell, is buried in Mount Auburn, that beautiful cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. I have stood in the snow at his grave in admiration, as well as the graves of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, also buried in Mount Auburn. Lowell was born in and died in the same house in Cambridge. Today, it serves as the home of the president of Harvard.

The composer, Handel, is best known for Messiah and its “Hallelujah Chorus.” I heard that the king of England was so impressed upon hearing the “Hallelujah Chorus” that he stood. Naturally, others stood. That is why we stand today as the piece is sung.

In our community every few years Messiah is presented by a local choir and ballet; so, Andalusia should be familiar with and appreciative of Handel and his work.

Pepys (peeps), whose diary is perhaps the most famous in our language, typically ended his entries with “and so to bed.”

Caruso, the great Italian tenor, has been said to be the greatest tenor in history. Rough recordings of his voice exist. One can listen today and decide for himself.

Allow me to encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing.

Fare thee well, gentle reader, “and so to bed!”