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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 7, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I found myself humming “In the Good, Ol’ Summer Time” and thinking that the title should be “In the Good, Ol’, HOT Summer Time.”

It’s so hot Miss Cora Covington said she could fry eggs on the hood of her car!

The auditorium of First Baptist looked mighty handsome last Sunday, all decorated for the Fourth of July. American flags backed the choir loft, bunting draped over the railings, and long, thin, narrow, two-story banners, resembling the flag, hung in each of the twelve great windows, put there by Alan Cotton, deacon and florist, assisted by Jay McCord. On the altar was a red, white, and blue floral arrangement, given in memory of Ray Butler by his family. Mr. Butler died June 29, 2005.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor, in a jubilant spirit, reminded the congregation not to forget the “landmarks” of the past that have honored God and allowed his blessings upon this nation.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music, led patriotic hymns, including “The Star-spangled Banner.”

In the distinguished Baraca Class, during the Sunday-School hour, Richard Pass, teacher, read a sermon given him by Frank Moore, who, along with his wife Tina and her mother, had heard the sermon, “Can God Bless America?” preached in Montgomery by Billy Austin, a guest Baptist minister at the church the Moores attended. I wish everyone could read that sermon.

Ever so often I hear an expression that seems popular at the moment. One heard lately is “rocket scientist,” as in “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand something.” Another is “under the bus,” as in “He was thrown under the bus that time.”

These expressions and others can be researched on the Internet.

My friend, Beatrice “Bebe” (Faircloth) Greene, born Dec. 10, l9l4, died June 16, 2012, at the age of 97, the oldest known living former teacher of the Andalusia High School.

Her body was clothed in an aqua-colored dress with her ring, watch, pearl necklace and pearl earrings. A blanket of various flowers, multi-colored, covered the bottom of the opened casket.

Mrs. Greene left one son, Huey, his wife Sharon, and their children, Sara Greene, Brad Taylor and Chris Taylor.

Mrs. Greene also left great-grandchildren, Aaron, Matthew and Brody Taylor.

Mary Weissinger, a sister, also survived Mrs. Greene.

Her service in Foreman Funeral Home Chapel was attended Tuesday morning at 11, June 19, 2012, the last full day of spring, a sunny and hot day.

Sue (Bass) Wilson, a local businesswoman, now teaching music in our high school, played several preludes at the piano.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music at First Baptist, sang a solo, “In the Garden,” accompanied by Mrs. Wilson.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, Mrs. Greene’s pastor at First Baptist, prayed; then presented the eulogy, copied below.

At the end of the service Dr. Karthaus prayed again; and Mr. Crigger led all in singing, “When We All Get to Heaven,” accompanied by Mrs. Wilson.

As family and friends left, Mrs. Wilson, a graduate of the AHS Class of 1965, played the AHS alma mater. Mrs. Green had taught at AHS for years; and, until recently, had never missed a homecoming.

Interment was in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. Dr. Karthaus said a few words, read Psalm 23, and closed with prayer.

Here follow excerpts from an edited copy of Dr. Karthaus’s eulogy.

“Mrs. Bebe was a remarkable woman who was blessed with an exceptionally long life.

“Her life was long at 97 years, which is a tribute to her strength; but, even so, her life was brief. Compared to eternity this life is but vapor; it is like a flower that grows up and withers in a day. Because life is so brief the psalmist writes, ‘So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’

“The important statistic of life is not how long we live but how we live. In this area Mrs. Bebe was blessed as well.

“She was born December 10, 1914, in Troy, Ala., to Joseph Erastus and Annie Mearl Faircloth. Mrs. Bebe had two brothers and two sisters. Mary Weissinger of Mobile is her only surviving sibling.

“Bebe went home to be with her Lord on June 16, 2012.

“Mrs. Bebe attended Troy High School and Troy Teachers College, graduating with a B.S. in education in 1937. While at Troy college, she lettered in tennis and swimming. From 1937 – l946 she spent her summers as the camp counselor at Lake of the Woods in Michigan, traveling by train each summer to the camp.

“Mrs. Bebe’s teaching career began in 1937 in the school system of Louisville, Ala., followed by work in Red Level as of 1946 and work in Andalusia as of 1950. She taught in the Alabama public-school system for 39 years, retiring in l976.

“Mrs. Bebe married James Huey ‘Pete’ Greene on December ll, l949, at the First Baptist Church in Andalusia.

“Pete and Bebe welcomed their son Huey, Jr., into their lives in August of 1951, and made their home on Stanley Street; then Chapman Street. In the early 1960’s Pete and Bebe bought a cabin on Gantt Lake and began a wonderful period of fishing, gardening and gathering with friends and family. Every weekend and summers were spent on Gantt Lake until moving there permanently in 1973.

“Mrs. Bebe’s loves were her family, Pete, and Huey. She was very proud of her family, her son Huey’s naval career; and his business and education career always made her beam. She was extremely proud of Sharon, her daughter-in-law, who is a nurse and educator. Anyone visiting Mrs. Bebe saw the enormous pride she had in her granddaughter Sara. She liked to brag about Sara’s dance accomplishments and educational achievements. This pride included the extended families of the Greenes, Snowdens and Faircloths, all of whom Mrs. Bebe loved like her own.

“Her interests were varied; but at the top of her list was fishing, fishing and more fishing. (I must confess that I was always envious of her trophy bass that hung in her room.)

“She loved Andalusia and Alabama football, Atlanta Braves baseball and tennis. She also devoted much of her volunteer time to the Covington Historical Society and Maggie Rogers Park, as well as staying close to the Andalusia City Schools. Mrs. Bebe ran the Andalusia City Pool for many years and also coached and played tennis, winning her last tournament at Lurleen B. Wallace at age 78. Then at the age of 80 she reluctantly gave up her beloved bass boat, deciding that fishing from her pier was a little easier.

“Mrs. Bebe Greene was born to teach. I have often told people that I thought Mrs. Bebe could still teach her physical education class if she wanted to do so. She loved her students; and, as they will attest, she demanded respect and hard work; but she also expected her class and assignments to be fun. She always said that she never had ‘class favorites;’ but she did – and many of you are here today. She loved the fact that many of her students became teachers, like Amy (Russell) Spurlin, Betty (Radcliff) Kleiss and Carol (Henry) Moore – and that many of her favorite coaches, like Robert Waller of Opp, Shelby Searcy of Greenville and Clayton Bryant of Andalusia, became well-respected principals and superintendents. Many students will also remember the ever-full Mason jar of water on her desk and the ‘feared’ paddle that the coaches made for her. Occasionally, some unruly students felt that paddle, including son Huey! Bebe loved her school, her students and teaching. As one of her close friends said about Bebe, ‘She would have been a natural as a pioneer or colonial woman – teaching in a one-room schoolhouse on the frontier, catching her supper, and sitting on the porch with Pete, having coffee and some conversation.’

“Mrs. Bebe not only lived a long life and a good life, she lived a wise life. During her years she discovered her need for the Lord. She trusted in Jesus and was saved. Her life from that point on was guided not by the wisdom of men but by the wisdom of God. She loved the Lord.

“If there is one truth that this woman’s life cried out, it is this, ‘Make your life count.’

“Your life counts when you trust in Jesus as your savior. Mrs. Bebe trusted Jesus, and now her trust has been rewarded. Now Mrs. Bebe is with her loved ones in their mansions in Heaven. Her struggle is over. She doesn’t have any pain, and she is with those she loved and doing what she has always loved to do.

“Bebe Greene had a full life. She left nothing behind and got every last minute out of life. We will miss her presence, we will miss her spirit; but if our trust is in Jesus, we will see her again.”

Departing from his prepared text at the end, Dr. Karthaus imagined that, as we approach Heaven someday, Bebe will be standing at the Pearly Gates with a paddle in her hand.

Thank you, Dr. Karthaus, for lending your eulogy.

The celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, England’s greatest novelist, continues.

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

This year is 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 l50 years ago.

The Seven-Days battles, a weeklong effort to defend Richmond from the Federals, came to an end, holding the Federals off and saving Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, from conquest. In Kentucky Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan led successful raids. Union General McClellan and President Lincoln disagreed on how to conduct the war.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial and Mark Twain stamps.

The mysterian for the second week is as follows: hard-working, faithful, a retired teacher, member of the Class of 1950 of the Andalusia High School, youthful, dedicated, and a friend-to-the-end.

In the weeks to come, Lord willing, I want to feature travels to Guntersville State Park, Gorham’s Bluff, Savannah, Charleston, and the story of a boy who grew up with polio.

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

Fare thee well.