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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I focused upon my camellia blooms, the first I have seen this season. My mind immediately went to Richard Krudop, who always offered to take me through his garden of camellias, planted by his dad so many years ago. I looked forward to that each year. I shall miss my rounds of the garden with Richard, bless his heart.

Fifteen senior adults of First Baptist Church gathered for food and fellowship Nov. 15 at Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant, also known as Pop’s Place.

Enjoying the time together were Morgan and Wilma Moore, R. K. and Rose Marie Price, Buddy and Betty Brunson, June Smith, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Fred and Linda Pate, Bill Law, Kittye Wyatt, Vivian Hickey and Betty Bass.

Miss Priscilla Primme shared with me an interest-arresting quotation the other day, “For every Goliath, there is a stone.”

The Senior Adults of First Baptist attended their monthly luncheon in the Fellowship Hall Nov. 20.

Guest speaker was Seth Hammett, speaker emeritus of the Alabama House of Representatives and state representative for our county for years, now the vice-president of Business Development for Power South Energy Cooperative.

Hammett, who has a list of honors a mile long, spoke on his career in politics, emphasizing how he became involved.

He extolled the virtues of Andalusia, saying, “People dream about living in a place like this.”

The invocation was given by Dwight Crigger, minister of music; the benediction, by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor.

Tables were decorated with centerpieces of sunflowers and fall leaves by Trudy Vickers and Betty Bass. Napkins matched the Thanksgiving season. Turkeys, scarecrows and other autumn themes accented the hall.

The meal, catered by Diane Green, included turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet-potato casserole, rolls, and tea, a “classic” Thanksgiving feast.

Margaret Smyly served as hostess.

Among the guests was Mary Frances “Pat” Miller, Harry Hinson’s sister from California.

Gordon Vickers, who works with the senior adults at First Baptist, was recognized for his birthday. He and his wife, Trudy, were also recognized for their 38 years of marriage, as of Nov. 28.

Caught at the domino table before the meal were jolly Bill Law, dignified Herb Carlisle, the soft-spoken Dr. Morgan Moore, and mischievous Gillis “the Combman” Jones.

Miss Birdie Purdy lamented the other day that a young lady of her acquaintance knew neither “We Gather Together” or “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” two traditional Thanksgiving songs.

Said Miss Purdy, “I feared that such a flood of new songs in the church would root out the ones we, our parents, and grandparents knew and loved. I could have told you that the youth would grow up without knowing the treasured songs of old. My fears are confirmed.”

I called Mary Clyde “M.C.” Merrill this week and enjoyed a long telephone visit. M.C. gave me the impression that it’s a little too quiet around her retirement home in the Tuscaloosa area. She misses her friends in Andalusia, but is adapting. For the younger set, M.C. is the beloved piano teacher who came to Andalusia as a young thing from Clanton to teach music in our school system, got married to Jake Merrill, an automobile dealer, and reared their three children, Susan, Fran and Johnny, living here till she lost her Jake. For years, she taught private piano and played the piano at First Baptist. She has as merry a heart as ever there was.

Dr. Wayne and Lenora Johnson welcomed Jerry and Sally Hall and the Portly Gentleman to lunch last Sunday in Johnson Hall. Also at table was the Johnsons’ younger son, Brooks, visiting from Tallahassee, Fla., for Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Johnson served chicken-and-dressing casserole, butter beans, whole cranberries, garden salad with choices of dressing, Sister Schubert’s rolls, tea, coffee and scrumdillilicious peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

The group laughed often over stories from the past, as the one about a Halloween party at the home of Harrell and Joy Sinclair on East Three-Notch. Harrell was then the minister of music for First Baptist.

Guests were to wear costumes. Lenora, who was then expecting Brooks, dressed appropriately as “the Great Pumpkin.” Danny Posey, dressed as a farmer, actually carried a real baby pig. The Portly One was wrapped up as the mummy. Since he was new to town and said nothing, no one knew who he was. It was the first time that some of the group met.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville and I were riding around this week when we came upon an un-harvested cotton field beneath a November blue sky. It was a beautiful sight and brought to mind the appropriateness of the state’s nickname, “the Cotton State.”

Seen at the Steamboat Restaurant for lunch were Bill and Frances Rabren and Jeffery Williamson and his great niece, little, 3-year-old Carleigh McIntyre with a pink ribbon in her hair, who had planned their afternoon – a visit to the new yogurt shop on the Golden Square and then across the street to see her beloved “Uncle Bob” at Brooks Hardware.

Seen “chewing the fat” were Todd Caton, Jimbo Caton, Charles Gantt and their ol’ “ag” teacher, Kennith Mount, who retired from the Andalusia High School in 2005.

I received a check this month from Medicare for 7 cents.

The news reports that Bill Armistead, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, plans to run for another two-year term. If I may brag just a bit, Bill and I were classmates at old Howard College, now Samford University. Don’t tell him I’m an Independent.

First Baptist decorated their sanctuary for Christmas Sunday evening, Nov. 25, as various children’s choirs sang Christmas songs. This was called “Hanging of the Green.” It has become a Christmas tradition across the land. I wonder where it began.

Destiny Pierson of Luverne was baptized at First Baptist.

Maegan McMullen has moved back to Andalusia and joined First Baptist.

Teresa Nelson’s granddaughter, Ashlyn Kilpatrick, was baptized at First Baptist the morning of Nov. 25 by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor.

Rogerl Reeves sang “When They Ring Those Golden Bells” a cappella in the Baraca-Class, Sunday-School assembly last weekend. In keeping with the theme of bells, the class sang Mr. Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” accompanied by Martha Givhan at the Ann Martin Memorial Piano.

Today I want to begin a series about a trip to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, Sept. 24 – Oct. 5, one of those bus tours organized by Betty Mitchell, “the Travel Queen.” The series is based on notes taken by Joyce Adams of Opp.

Along for the ride were Wade and Joyce Adams, Patricia Armstead, Effie Brooks, Judy Burchfield, Wayne and Peggy Caylor, Donald and Bea Kelley, Virginia Merritt, all from Opp; Cupie Jacobs, Betty Long, Ann McGowin, Jimmy and Crystell Prestwood, Trudie Steele, Betty Tyree, Calmese Veasey, Glinda Simmons, Doris Hutcheson, all from Andalusia; Jan and Jerry Scroggins from Ozark; and Bobby and Alice Sewell from Montgomery.

The first day the group departed Opp and then Andalusia, stopping again in Montgomery and Gadsden, to gather in Doris’s Friends, a travel group from Gadsden. The first night was spent in Memphis, Tenn.

Day 2 brought a stop in Little Rock, Ark., to tour the Old State House Museum with its battle flags of the War Between the States, items about President and Mrs. Clinton, and Johnny Cash memorabilia. The night was spent in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Leaving Oklahoma, on Day 3, the group came across a windmill farm with the energy makers stretching for miles. Some of them were 226 feet tall with blades of 180 feet. One rest area was the Texas Safety Rest Area, which doubled as a storm shelter. The next stop was the Texas Panhandle War Memorial with a beautiful garden and meditation center. Monuments recalled each of the wars in which Texas had been involved. Those who died in each war were listed. Before leaving, the group heard “Taps” and then “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes. Passing through Amarillo, Texas, the travelers stopped in Tucumcari, New Mexico, for dinner at Del’s on the historic Route 66. The night was spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Day 4 saw a “special gift of Vienna sausage” for Miss Betty “in case we got stuck in traffic.” Jimmy Prestwood was soon on the spot with Doris Hutcheson’s toothpick (the unused end) to share the sausage.

An early stop was at the Perry Null Trading Company to examine handmade crafts by the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi Native Americans. Lunch was at Gallup, New Mexico, where Miss Betty met a 94-year-old Navajo Indian lady and her two daughters. The lady had 14 children and lived in Tohatchi, New Mexico. She could not speak English, so Miss Betty talked with her daughters. Jimmy Prestwood got permission to take her picture.

Dinner that night was in Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Day 5 brought a visit to the award-winning Museum of Northern Arizona. Some of the rugs on display took three years to weave. Beautiful items were on sale in the bookstore and gift shop.

This day Betty’s “Buskoteers” arrived in Las Vegas and ate at Dessy B’s Steakhouse.

Said Joyce, “After dinner we were off to see the sights of night life in Las Vegas; and, boy, did we see some sights! It didn’t take long for some of us to have enough of the night life, and we headed back to the hotel.”

Joyce went on to say, “There were so many people on the streets that night, you couldn’t move without running into someone. That was just a little crowded for Opp and Andalusia people!”

There are seven more days to anticipate, based on notes by Joyce Adams. We shall save those for another day. Thank you, Joyce; we look forward to more.

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

We also continue to 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.

Federal General Burnside decided to attack Fredericksburg, Virginia, where most of Confederate General Lee’s troops were concentrated. Confederates suffered losses at Frankfort, Va., and Cane Hill, Ark. The Confederate steamer, Alabama, threatened Northern shipping in the Atlantic. President Lincoln delivered his State of the Union address to Congress, suggesting plans for colonization for slaves and financial compensation to previous slave owners and cooperating states.

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

Here is a new mysterian – a couple that sold catfish dinners on the river in a simple restaurant. Who were they?

Birthdays this week are those of John Harvard, for whom America’s oldest college (l636) is named; William Blake, an English poet of mystical verse; Louisa May Alcott, the American author of wholesome novels about young people; John Bunyan, an English preacher known for his allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress; Mark Twain, American novelist, made famous by his short story about a frog-jumping contest, author of such classics as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and The Prince and the Pauper; and Winston Churchill, prime minister of Great Britain, perhaps the greatest man and orator of the 20th Century, probably more quoted than anyone else since Shakespeare and Pope.

Miss Alcott’s most popular novel is Little Women, dear to me because it was the moneymaker to fund our local celebration of the American Bicentennial in 1976. Two locals, S. Daniel Shehan and Joseph C. Wingard, wrote a musical version of the novel, which was presented in the Andalusia High School Auditorium. Out of the Bicentennial celebration here grew the Covington Historical Society and the World Domino Tournament.

Every Christian should read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I have read that people who traveled west always took three books, the Bible, Shakespeare, and Pilgrim’s Progress.

Churchill’s life is rich with lessons. After a lifetime of service to his nation, he was “turned out” of office in his old age. He had warned his people about Hitler and war. Hardly anyone took him seriously. They shook their heads at him. Then, war came. Suddenly Churchill was back in fashion. Almost alone, he had been right after all. He was called upon to come to the rescue of his nation and was called back into service as prime minister, to lead his nation to victory in World War II. Then, after the war, he was turned out – again! Don’t you just love human nature? That would never happen in our time, would it? Gratitude is the shortest lived of flowers in the garden of life.

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

Fare thee well.