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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed that the sasanqua buds were getting ready to burst into bloom. I associate the sasanqua with November more than any other plant.

Halloween has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is on the horizon; that means Christmas decorations are on store shelves.

Irene (Davis) Butler hosted a reception for her younger son, Dr. Rex Butler, Oct. 30, in his suite of offices, for the occasion of his 30th year in medical practice, Oct. 20.

A family friend and local attorney, Lee Enzor, presided at a short ceremony.

Richard Pass, Baptist minister and teacher of the distinguished Baraca Class, worded a prayer of blessing and thanksgiving for Dr. Butler.

Enzor read a sample appreciation for Dr. Butler from a stack of cards and letters.

Mike Holloway, imaging director at the local hospital, contributed a tribute.

State Senator Jimmy Holley, assisted by State Representative Mike Jones, read a joint resolution from the state legislature, listing Dr. Butler’s accomplishments.

Rebecca Brewer, new director of the Andalusia Hospital, spoke of Dr. Butler’s exemplary life.

Surrounded by family, friends, and well-wishers, Dr. Butler responded, his voice choked with emotion.

Among the dignitaries present were Dr. Herb Riedel, president of the Lurleen Burns Wallace Community College; Ted Watson, superintendent of the Andalusia City Schools; Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist and Dr. Butler’s pastor; and a handful of classmates from Dr. Butler’s Andalusia High School Class of 1971, Robert Lee Holley, Alan Cotton and DeWayne Beesley, who drove over from Monroeville to pay honor to his classmate.

Dr. Butler is the only doctor still practicing in Covington County who was doing so when he began 30 years ago.

Refreshments, prepared by Dr. Butler’s mother, followed.

Each guest was given a favor, a souvenir pillbox, before leaving.

Red and white, the colors of Dr. Butler’s high school and the University of Alabama, were used to decorate a punch table, coffee table, and buffet with red cloths and white, lace overlays.

The colors were used in red punch, red and white utensils, red napkins, red and white Italian-cream cake, and red and white bread, used in making sandwiches.

The buffet included chicken-salad sandwiches, grapes, vegetables and dip, crackers, nuts, mints, bacon bows, party mix, meatballs, “church windows,” pecan pies, fresh fruit and camp stew.

Jean Jones, the wife of Fletcher Jones, told me the other day, “Life is great if you don’t weaken.”

The senior adults of First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch Street, attended their monthly Tuesday luncheon Oct. 30 in Fellowship Hall.

Gordon Vickers, minister to senior adults, presided.

Trudy Vickers and Betty Bass decorated the tables and room with pots of fresh mums and scarecrows, and matching Thanksgiving napkins.

Harry Hinson worded the blessing.

Diane Green catered the meal – fried fish, cheese grits, baked beans, pups, tea, and iced sheet cake, with broccoli slaw by Nancy Smith.

“Happy Birthday” was sung to Carolyn O’Neal, born Oct. 22.

The speaker was Leroy Cole, director of ministries in Covington County for the Covington Baptist Association.

Cole spoke mainly of the Christian Service Center on South Three-Notch, which distributes food, furniture, clothing, and appliances.

There are also Christian service centers in Opp and Florala, all three begun 26 years ago by the late Neal Wyatt, formerly county missionary.

Clayton and Barbara Bryant, retired educators, made a sentimental journey lately to Jekyll Island and Savannah in Georgia. They had gone to Jekyll 46 years ago on their first anniversary.

On their way along Highway 84-east the Bryants stopped in Thomasville for lunch at the Farmers’ Market, the same buffet where Roy and Lynn Parker used to eat when visiting their daughter, then a teacher in Thomasville. That is one of the great buffets of the South!

While on Jekyll Barbara read Sidney Lanier’s signature poem, “Marshes of Glynn.” Glynn is the Georgia county near Jekyll, and the marshes of Glynn fill the space between Jekyll Island and the mainland.

They ate at the Driftwood Bistro, walked along the beach, and drove through the beautiful historic district with its famous clubhouse and millionaires’ cottages. In the Book Store Barbara bought a novel by Eugenia Price, known for her historical romances. This book is part of a series set in the area. Sue (Bass) Wilson is a fan of the Eugenia Price books, too.

In Savannah, Georgia’s oldest town, the Bryants joined the Old Savannah Trolley Company to tour the downtown squares. This company used actors at various stops; for example, a woman at the Sorrell-Weed House, who told ghost stories; a very ugly pirate at the Pirates’ House; and “Forrest Gump” himself (a good look-alike, anyway), who boarded the trolley at Chippewa Square, suitcase in hand.

The Bryants dined at the Pirates’ House, which includes the Herb House, said to be the oldest structure in Georgia, built in 1734.

It is also said that Robert Louis Stevenson set one of his scenes in his novel, Treasure Island, in the Pirates’ House. An original manuscript can be seen there.

From their convenient hotel on Bay Street, the Bryants “walked and walked and walked,” as Barbara put it, to see the City Market, to eat at Vies on River Street, to take the ferry across the Savannah River, and to ride a ped-a-cab to St. John’s Cathedral for a look-see.

I hear tell that a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to reach Andalusia in 2013 – 2014.

Fred and Barbara Rhinehardt were houseguests of Bill and Tillie Hamiter.

Don and Dot Lingle were houseguests of Jimmy and Sue (Bass) Wilson.

Dorothy Clark and Carolyn Simmons were houseguests of Lillian Dickson.

I attended the funeral of my friend, Roy Windham, once the postmaster for Andalusia, Oct. 24, in Foreman Funeral Home Chapel, at 2 p.m. Roy died Oct. 21.

The casket was open with a flag over part of it, flanked by urns of red roses, white mums, and blue blooms, patriotic arrangements. Roy had served in World War II. These flowers were later used to decorate the sanctuary at First Baptist on Sunday, Oct. 28.

Roy’s body was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and red four-in-hand, watch on wrist, glasses over his eyes.

The organist was Martha (James) Givhan of First Baptist.

The service began with Mrs. Givhan’s playing of “It Is Well.”

Then Harrell Cushing, twice Roy’s pastor at First Baptist, now semi-retired and living near Montgomery, read Roy’s obituary.

Don Lingle, retired, who was Roy’s minister of music for some 28 years, led all in “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by Mrs. Givhan.

Dr. Cushing then read scripture and prayed.

Mr. Lingle followed with a solo of “In the Garden.”

Dr. Cushing spoke personally of Roy, how they met in 1967 when Roy was on a pulpit committee to find a new pastor to follow Bob Marsh. Roy told Harrell at the time that if he couldn’t accept the offer, the committee wanted his wife, Ann, anyway.

Dr. Cushing read Tennyson’s poem, “Crossing the Bar,” and spoke of Roy and Eleanor’s locally famous New Year’s Eve parties, of other memories, Roy’s philosophy, his being a Sunday-School teacher and director, deacon, and Christian witness.

After Dr. Cushing’s closing prayer, Mrs. Givhan played “Trust and Obey.”

At the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery Dr. Cushing read scripture and prayed again.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and a gentle breeze blew – a perfect autumn day.

The funeral director, Norman Hobson, and his son, Hunter, folded the American flag from Roy’s casket and handed it to Roy’s son, Alan Windham, to share with his brother Mike.

While Turner Johnson, a jeweler, was in business on the square, I bought many an item from him, some for me, many for gifts for weddings. I found him always polite, easy-going, and professional, a gentleman. I thought of him as a friend over the years. I was saddened when he retired. During his last days on the square he pulled some pictures of P. Lewis out of his safe and showed them to me. P. Lewis was the jeweler whose business Mr. Johnson had bought all those years ago.

So, when I learned that Mr. Johnson had died, I wanted to pay my respects.

Here are my notes from his funeral.

His casket was closed and covered with dozens of red roses. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more roses in my life. I believe the “blanket” matched the one that had covered Mr. Johnson’s wife, Lorraine, at her funeral.

Martha Givhan, organist at First Baptist, played “Trust and Obey” as the family entered.

Mr. Johnson was a member of the Baraca Class at First Baptist, for whom Mrs. Givhan plays on Sunday mornings.

One of his class members, Herb Carlisle, led in prayer and worded the eulogy. Mr. Carlisle had also spoken at Mrs. Johnson’s funeral, I understand.

Mr. Carlisle shared that Mr. Johnson was in World War II, that he came from Mississippi, that he bought out P. Lewis in 1946, was in business 38 years, and retired in 1984. His wife had been a schoolteacher. They met when she brought in her watch for repair. They were married in 1947 and lived together happily for 55 years. Mr. Johnson was a member of Rotary.

After reading scripture and a poem, Mr. Carlisle concluded with “Psalm 23.”

Mrs. Givhan ended the service by playing “Victory in Jesus.”

Burial was in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery on a sunny, perfect fall day. A gentle breeze blew.

Mr. Carlisle read scripture and worded a prayer.

In a touching moment the funeral director, Norman Hobson, presented Janet Johnson, Turner Johnson’s only child, with a folded American flag. Norman and Janet were classmates in the A.H.S. Class of 1971.

Savannah Cotton was baptized by her pastor, Dr. Fred Karthaus, Sunday morning, Oct. 28, in First Baptist Church. Present to witness her baptism were her parents, Chase and LeAnne (Burkett) Cotton; her younger brother, Crews; her paternal grandparents, Don and Cheryl Cotton; her maternal grandparents, Gwin and Jane Burkett; her uncle, Raine Cotton, his wife, Lauren, and their son, Easton; Savannah’s Aunt Amy Glisson and her children, Grant and Laurie.

The offertory music that Sunday morning was a trumpet solo, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” played by Erica Ziglar, a freshman at our community college, accompanied by Martha (James) Givhan, church organist. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” has become the unofficial theme song of First Baptist.

Why didn’t Noah swat the two mosquitoes?

Seen at Arby’s for Sunday lunch were Benson and Ruby Tomlin, Robin’s parents.

Turn your clocks back an hour before sleep tonight.

Is the restaurant, Mama T.’s, closed? I hope not. I went there Sunday for lunch, and it was locked up.

Old Man Winter poked his nose around the corner this week. The sun was shining, but, oh, those cold winds!

The “centerpiece” on the Golden Square is beautiful with its autumn colors, pots of mums, pumpkins, bales of hay, and old wagon.

The Covington Historical Society met Oct. 25 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library. Bea Miller, hostess, decorated with pumpkins.

John Scherf, president, a descendant of the Scherf family, so prominent in Andalusia history, presided.

Dr. Morgan Moore, a member, introduced his visiting cousins, Morgan and Mary Simmons from Evanston, Ill., Carolyn Simmons and Dorothy Clark of Dothan, Lillian Dickson of Andalusia, and Angela Nelson of Andalusia.

Other guests were Lucy Brady, Pat Thompson and Barbara McCommons, all of Andalusia.

Following the pledge, Bill Law delivered the invocation.

Larry Shaw led the state song, “Alabama,” accompanied by Sue (Bass) Wilson, pianist.

Evelyn Murphree, secretary, distributed copies of the minutes, which were passed.

Harmon Proctor made a treasurer’s report.

Refreshments were provided by Sue Wilson, Jan White and Norma King, with Bea Miller as hostess.

Nancy Robbins, vice-president, introduced the speaker, Morgan Simmons, a nephew to Miss Clyde Simmons and Miss Annalee Simmons, well-known teachers upon a time in the Andalusia City Schools.

Mr. Simmons, born April 6, 1929, gave a delightful and detailed account of his life and times in Andalusia. He was in the AHS Class of 1947.

He mentioned that pride is evident everywhere in Andalusia.

He spoke of many old-time characters in Andalusia and shared a number of anecdotes.

I believe he said that “Uncle Aus” Prestwood was his great-uncle and had arrived in Andalusia upon his 17th birthday. Uncle Aus is probably the most colorful character in Andalusia’s history.

Mr. Simmons remembered that his first date was with Sara Foreman, to the circus, which they found closed, thus, spoiling the date.

He said that most of his kin are in the Magnolia Cemetery.

His first piano teacher was Mrs. Josie Lyons, who played for the Methodists.

There were so many fascinating facts shared by Mr. Simmons. I hope he lends me his script. I couldn’t keep up with my notes.

There was one story Mr. Simmons told about Sidney Waits’s grandfather, Henry Shaver. I asked Mr. Waits for his version after the program. Here’s my effort to combine the stories, told differently by both men.

It seems Mr. Shaver, missing a bridge, drove his car into the Conecuh River, barely escaping death. Mary Olive Henderson, an insurance agent, visited Mr. Shaver and said sympathetically, “The Lord sure was with you.” Mr. Shaver quipped, “If He was, he sure had a ___ of a ride!”

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

This year we also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Christian movie cowboy, Roy Rogers, born Nov. 5, which ends Monday. “Happy Trails,” ol’ Roy! “Happy Trails!”

We also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts.

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.

General McClellan, motivated by President Lincoln’s ridicule, moved his troops into Virginia, forcing General Lee to move his forces south. Federal troops pressed south through Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Remember to purchase Sesquicentennial, Mark Twain, O’Henry, War of 1812, and Girl Scouts stamps.

Does anyone have more to say about Mrs. Hill Guy?

Birthdays this week are those of Erasmus, Dutch scholar; Harvard, the first college in America (l636); the Statue of Liberty, a gift of appreciation from France in l886 (how times have changed!); Jonas Salk, the American who found a vaccine for polio (my generation owes untold gratitude to this man); James Boswell, the Scot biographer of Samuel Johnson (said to be the greatest biography written in our language); John Adams, second president of the United States (here is a man, greatly underappreciated); Jan Vermeer, the Dutch painter; John Keats, the English poet who wrote the most famous line of poetry ever written,“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”; the 95 theses, nailed to a church door in Germany by Martin Luther as a protest against the Catholic Church (thus, Protestants); and William Cullen Bryant, American poet of “To a Waterfowl” and “Thanatopsis.”

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

Fare thee well.