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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed the elderberry in bloom along the roadway. Elderberry seems to favor damp spots.

Other plants I could see were petunias, the umbrella-like mimosa, gardenias (the little magnolia), roses, large magnolias, privet hedge, daylilies, Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot), primroses, daisy fleabane, verbena, honeysuckle, spiderworts, Confederate jasmine and trumpet vine.

Seen at Chen’s last Saturday were Valerie (Barton) Carson and her daughter, Katy Fisher. They had come down from Auburn and taken Valerie’s mom, Pat Barton, out for Mothers’ Day.

Have you been over to Rocky Creek Seafood Restaurant in Daleville, just past Enterprise? The buffets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are memorable.

Last Sunday afternoon, May 13, Mothers’ Day, the pupils of Mrs. John Givhan, nee Martha James, were presented in two recitals in the chapel of First Baptist Church.

The chapel was decorated with pots of ferns and baskets of spring flowers.

The Ann Martin Memorial Piano was used.

Performing at 2:30 were Abigayle Mancil (who also sang “You Are My All in All”), Ella Kate Nichols, Katherine Finley, Collin Ward, Rosemary Bass (who also played a duet with Mrs. Givhan), Caroline Andrews, Ali Brown, Mason Barnes, Madeline Pugh (who also played a duet with Mrs. Givhan), Rexanne Butler, Hannah Lawless (who also played a duet with her mother, Deidra Burleson, appropriately on Mothers’ Day), Jonathan Bryant, Tessa Walker (who also played a duet with her teacher), Baylee Robertson, Madison Geohagan, Caleb Geohagan (her brother) (Caleb played a duet with Mrs. Givhan), and Stephen Caton, one of Mrs. Givhan’s two seniors, who played “The Lord’s Prayer” and then the traditional wedding classic, “Because,” with Endsley Givhan Bolen on the flute. Mrs. Bolen is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Givhan.

Caton, an Eagle Scout, is both valedictorian and president of the A.H.S. Class of 2012.

Performing at 3:45 were Stephen Caton and Endsley Bolen again for the second recital, Riley Grace Lowery, Brinnley Stewart (with Mrs. Givhan on one piece), Laura Lea Blatz (alone and then with her sister, Loni Blatz), then Loni Blatz alone, Addison Mount, Ellis Mount (brothers), Caleb Couch, Laura Gatlin, Sung Mo, Lauren Guilford, Adeline Fisher and Greeley Foshee, Mrs. Givhan’s other senior student, who played “Toccata in D Minor.”

One other pupil, Anna Beth Bowden, was listed, but unable to participate.

At the recital I ran into Anne Brown, formerly Anne Evers Mount, whom I had not seen for years. She is Mrs. Brown now, a widow, living in Dothan. Anne told me that she had taught piano for many years and was at the recital to hear her grandsons.

Sunday last, Mothers’ Day, in the distinguished Baraca Class, which meets for Sunday School in the chapel of First Baptist, Jennifer (Smith) Dansby, retired teacher, sang “The Gift of Our Mothers,” which she has done for several years now. Present were her mother, June Smith, also a retired teacher, and Jennifer’s husband, Neal Dansby, also a retired educator. Martha Givhan accompanied Mrs. Dansby at the Ann Martin Piano.

“The Gift of Our Mothers” was composed by S. Daniel Shehan, lyrics by Joseph Cecil Wingard, for their mothers.

Also, in honor of Mothers’ Day, Larry Shaw sang “She Is Sleeping.”

During morning worship at First Baptist red carnations were given to each mother present.

Prior to the sermon by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor, his wife Connie and their daughters, Bethany and Allie, sang “Days of Elijah” to taped music, a fitting trio on Mothers’ Day.

Colonel Covington, speaking at the Andalusia Lyceum, stated that he hears people talking of “rights” they have, “rights” which have been long considered wrongs. He thinks that if something is right, then it has always been right and does not suddenly become right. He thinks that something that is wrong is still wrong.

“Right and wrong,” the Colonel says, “do not have time limits.”

He believes that God sets the standards for right and wrong; and God does not change. God sets the standards, not judges, not the Supreme Court, not congresses, not presidents, not popularity contests, not votes, not diversity, not entitlements, not majorities, not minorities, not Hollywood – God.

Someone said that USA no longer stands for the United States of America. It stands for United Sins of America.

Some 21 senior adults, known as the Glory Singers of First Baptist, and five guests motored to the Shack April 25 for an annual outing.

The Shack is a get-away near Opp owned by Lucille Foley, who served as hostess.

The Glory Singers practice weekly and sing whenever they have the chance.

The meal was catered by Charles and Laurette Blair, who provided catfish filets, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, French fries, banana pudding and pound cake.

“Alabama caviar,” provided by Dwight Crigger, the choir’s director and minister of music at First Baptist, as well as boiled peanuts were also enjoyed.

“Miss Lucille” served up her popular lemonade.

Following the meal, a “white-elephant,” gift swap provided fun and fellowship.

Attending were Diana Bledsoe, Dwight Crigger, Kim Dyess, Margaret Eiland, Martha Givhan, Martha Griffin, Vivian Moore, Nancy Robbins, June Smith, Margaret Smyly, Susan Underwood, Trudy Vickers and Gordon Vickers, who directs senior-adult activities at First Baptist.

Guests included Judson Blackstock, Eleanor Dyess, John Givhan, Fred Karthaus, and a former Glory Singer, Mary Nell Johnson, sister to Lucille Foley.

James Warren Merrill, best known as manager of the Service Department of Merrill Motors, was laid to rest on a sunny, warm Tuesday afternoon, May 15, in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery.

His funeral was at First Baptist Church at l p.m. with his pastor, Dr. Fred Karthaus, presiding.

Martha Givhan, church organist, played “In the Garden” during the family processional.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music, led the congregation in two verses from “He Lives.”

Dr. Karthaus read from Psalm 121 and prayed.

Mr. Crigger sang a solo, “The Old Rugged Cross,” accompanied by Mrs. Givhan.

Dr. Karthaus delivered the eulogy, with prayer at the beginning and ending, mentioning that Warren was the oldest of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Merrill, that he was a veteran of World War II, a graduate of the Andalusia High School, service manager at Merrill Motors for years, a member of the Kiwanis Club, a member of First Baptist, and a Christian.

Dr. Karthaus read again from scripture.

Mrs. Givhan played “Amazing Grace” as the family followed the pallbearers and flag-draped coffin out of the auditorium.

At Andalusia Memorial Cemetery Dr. Karthaus read Psalm 23 and led once again in prayer. Norman Hobson, funeral director, and Earl Dorman folded the American flag; and Mr. Hobson presented it to Warren’s son, Mike Merrill of Montgomery.

Warren was born June 3, l923, and died locally May l2, 20l2, just shy of 89.

Among the mourners was Mary Clyde “M.C.” (Mims) Merrill, long-time piano teacher here in Andalusia and pianist at First Baptist, who came to the funeral from Tuscaloosa with her elder daughter Susan and Susan’s husband, Robert. (“M.C.” has retired to Tuscaloosa to be near her daughter.) The late Warren Merrill was brother to M.C.’s late husband, Jake Merrill, who also worked at Merrill Motors. M.C.’s other children, Fran and Johnny, also attended.

Representatives of chapters of the Alabama Education Association in Conecuh, Covington and Escambia counties assembled for their last meeting of the academic year at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen the evening of May 14.

These three counties make up AEA District 24.

Attending were Adrian Hixon, Jimmy Ponds, Jacqueline Earthly (district president), Kimberly Gibson, Teresa Hultz, Janelle Riley, Linda Gibson, Calvin McIntyre and Joe Wingard (district secretary).

Mr. Ponds, librarian at the Straughn Elementary School, is immediate past president of the district and has been elected again to serve a two-year term as upcoming president of AEA members in Covington County.

AHS Class Night Monday, May 7, was again housed in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church. Bless the Methodists for allowing this tradition to go on in their bounds. I suppose Class Night has been hosted by the Methodists for as long as anyone can remember, certainly before any of our current faculty and students were born.

The entry table was decorated with white lilies, the class flower. Each student wore a class T-shirt and a bow of cardinal and silver, the class colors.

The dining tables were centered with candles in globes, skirted with pittisporum.

The upcoming senior officers for the Class of 2013 served the food and cleaned up, as is traditional.

That way, they can learn what to expect when their turn comes to be the honored guests.

Sponsors present were Angie Sasser (valedictorian in 1972), Coach Richard Robertson (who has now served longer than anyone else in the school’s history), and Dr. Louise Anderson, Daniel Bulger and Tina Rogers were unable to be present.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal, was on hand, as was the guidance counselor, Donna Cauley.

At the end of the evening, Ander Helms, class treasurer, prayed; and Michael Kelley, class pianist, played as his classmates formed a circle, arms about each other, to sing the alma mater.

Ander, I found out, is short for Anderson. She was named for her great-grandparents, who opened the now famous Captain Anderson’s seafood restaurant in Panama City, Fla. Her dad coaches baseball at our junior college.

Omarria McGee, vice-president of her class, worded the invocation.

For more information about Class Night see the May 9 issue of this newspaper. Look under “Bulldog Bytes.” I would have written more; but I didn’t see any sense in repeating what has already been done so well. I just added my “two-cents worth.”

Irene (Davis) Butler recently visited the State House in Montgomery, calling on several ol’ friends and making new ones.

In Senator Jimmy Holley’s office she met his new receptionist, Miss Stallworth, who informed Mrs. Butler that she was from Greenville and that her physician was none other than Mrs. Butler’s younger son, Dr. Rex Butler.

In Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey’s office, one new employee said, “I know you; I was maid of honor in Brooks Butler’s wedding!”

Another asked, “Did you really name your son Rhett after Clark Gable?”


The senior adults of First Baptist met in Fellowship Hall Tuesday, May 15, for their monthly luncheon.

Tables were decorated by Trudy Vickers with spring napkins and with bouquets of spring blooms from the gardens of Morgan and Wilma Moore and Irene Butler.

Robert Lee Holley worded the blessing.

Diane Green, the “Singing Chef,” catered the meal of roast with potatoes and carrots, gravy and rice, butter beans, fried bread, rolls, chocolate cake and tea.

Gordon Vickers, minister to senior adults, presided, and prayed.

The speaker was Rhett Johnson, president and co-founder of the Longleaf (pine) Alliance, and, for 27 years, director of Auburn University’s Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center just south of Andalusia.

Mr. Johnson gave an interesting, fact-filled, impressive talk on the importance, history, and future of the longleaf pine, sharing several pamphlets on the subject.

Johnson not long ago spoke on the subject at the White House, conversing with the President himself.

Johnson’s program is excellent; and I hope you, gentle reader, will get a chance to hear him.

Congratulations to our own Helen Hinson of the South Central Mental Health Board, who has been named outstanding volunteer in Alabama!

Jasmine Hills Gardens above Montgomery but below Wetumpka is open “for the season” now through June, each Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Celebrations continue for the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, English novelist. On a tour to America Dickens was a guest for dinner in Craigie House, the home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One can see the table yet where the two famous men ate.

This is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of the movie cowboy, Roy Rogers, born November 5.

This year is also the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

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.

Many Southerners, including President Davis’s wife, left Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, because the Union Army of the Potomac under General McClellan had advanced so closely in the so-called “Peninsular Campaign.”

The North was “closing in” on Richmond, aiming to take it by force.

Things looked bleak for the South.

Natchez on the Mississippi River had already fallen to Farragut’s gunboats.

A Confederate steamer, the Planter, was seized by eight blacks and delivered into the hands of the North.

In New Orleans, taken already by the North, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler, the “tyrant” of the city, issued General Order #28 in which he stated that any woman who insulted any U.S. officer or soldier would be regarded as a prostitute and treated as such. Butler also stopped two New Orleans newspapers.

Some hope for the South came from Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, who was somewhat successful against the Union troops in the Shenandoah Valley.

Farragut, that successful naval officer of the North, set his eyes next on taking Vicksburg, an important port along the Mississippi.

President Lincoln reversed an order by General Hunter, who intended to free some slaves. Hunter is not the first Union soldier to take it upon himself to free slaves. Each time, however, Lincoln undid what had been done; he believed such decisions were his.

Remember to buy the two new Sesquicentennial stamps, as well as those of Mark Twain. So far, four Sesquicentennial stamps have been issued.

The cluegram is again the man who lost his teeth in the War.

This week’s birthday belongs to Sir Arthur Sullivan of England, the composer who wrote the music for that famous piano piece, “The Lost Chord,” and the famous hymn, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”

Sullivan also wrote the music to some 14 operettas (comical operas) with William S. Gilbert, as the lyricist. Their three best are The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore. Sullivan’s music is among the best gifts life offers.

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

Bless all of you who remembered your mothers by wearing either red or white roses on Mothers’ Day.

Fare thee well.