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

Published 9:29 am Monday, January 14, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I spotted the fragrant Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate, already blooming at my garden gate. Thoughts of the late Win Murphy flooded back. She introduced me to this early spring flower. In South Carolina, Cousin Jo calls it the Breath of Spring. There used to be a Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate between Old Main of the Andalusia High School and the Old Gym. The plant was in no one’s way, yet it was removed. It could have been used for educational purposes, let alone beauty. Sigh.

Seen, having a birthday supper together at David’s Catfish House, were Judy Turner (the Birthday Girl), Vicki Pate, Hazel Lambert, Ann Steele, Linda Adkison, Judy McCord and Carolyn Elmore.

Seen, enjoying the lunch buffet at the “deli” of the Corner Market, were James Bristow, Jimmy Gillis and Douglas and Frances Castleberry.

James Bristow had out-of-town company for Christmas. His daughter, Edith Bristow Holland, flew in from North Carolina to the Montgomery Airport, bringing her granddaughter, Harper Williams. James picked them up in Montgomery.

Also, James’s grandson, Brian Pope, with his wife Stephanie and their girls, Piper and Pressley, drove down from Birmingham.

Seen at the lunch buffet of Tabby D’s were Nina Keenam (the columnist), Maggie Shelley and Helen Philips.

The congregation of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church here in Andalusia hosted our community at St. Mary’s annual Epiphany tea and evensong this past Sunday, Jan. 6, in St. Mary’s lovely collection of buildings.

January 6 was “Little Christmas,” the last of the famous 12 days of Christmas, associated with the arrival of the Three Kings to see the Christ-Child, for Jesus to be revealed to them – the Epiphany.

Tea was 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the library of St. Mary’s, converted from the original sanctuary of St. Mary’s, moved to the corner of East Three-Notch and Second Street from the church’s old location on nearby Second Avenue.

Tea was elegantly laid on lace cloths, covering three tables, one for finger foods, one for sandwiches, and one for tea, served from a silver tea service.

A beautiful arrangement of white flowers centered a large, round table, on which lay in silver appointments tea sandwiches (cucumber, chicken-salad, pimiento, cream cheese), cheese straws, candies, cookies, Swedish meatballs, cakes and petit fours.

Guests were served tea in china cups and provided embroidered napkins.

Pam Rabren coordinated the tea and was assisted by Tammy Portemont, Suzi Mersmann, Courtney Cook, Joanne Boswell, Debbie Grimes, Sister Barnes, Jan Morris, Candy Kyle, C.J. Agro, Jen Nall, Nancy Eldridge, Kim Ward, Tiwana Luckie, and Jeanie Metzger.

Evensong, a service of scripture, prayers, and music, followed.

The new sanctuary of white and light was decorated for Christmas with live garlands of greenery, framing the windows, wreaths hanging in each window, and lighted candles in each window.

Pots of red poinsettias accented the altar and pulpit.

A crèche lay near the altar, as well as the advent candles.

An image of the Baby Jesus, lying in a manger, was prominent.

A Christmas tree awaited decorating by the children of the congregation.

John Beasley, choirmaster and organist, played the prelude, “We Three Kings.” (Mr. Beasley, a math teacher, retired from A.H.S., is generous with his time and talent, serving also as an organist at First United Methodist and First Baptist Church, and at commencement services.)

Children of St. Mary’s then decorated the Christmas tree with Christian symbols called Chrismons. Each symbol was made of white and gold. As Sydney Ward and Aubrey Nall read about each symbol, another youth marched down the aisle, Chrismon in hand, to hang it on the tree, thus eventually creating a Chrismon Tree. (This practice has been adopted by other churches in this area.) Those placing Chrismons on the tree were Cooper Duffy, Anna Duffy, Mary Margaret Duffy, Ella Ward, Alex Barnes, Ashlyn Nall and Brenna Wells.

A formal procession included participants in black cassocks (gowns ), overlaid with white surplice, and the cross.

There followed readings, confession, chants, hymns, scripture, lessons (readings from the Bible), “The Apostles Creed,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” other prayers, collects (collective recitations on some subject), thanksgiving to God, and a recessional.

The readers were Mike Purnell, Michele Gerlach and George Proctor.

Music in the worship service included the “Magnificat,” sung by the priest, Dr. Cynthia Carter Howard, and “Sweet, Little Jesus Boy,” an anthem sung by John Beasley, choirmaster. (Frankie Lancaster was to sing her traditional piece, “Mary, Did You Know?” but was ill.)

Others participating were Ashlyn Nall and Brenna Wells, torchbearers; George Proctor, crucifer; and Jan Morris and Terry Kyzar, ushers.

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. Include your e-mail address if you wish to be notified of meetings.

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

The Confederates won victories in Springfield and Ozark, Mo. Union gunboats bombarded Galveston, Texas. Federals under General McClernand seized Fort Hindman on the Arkansas River. The Confederate cruiser, Alabama, sank the Federal Hatteras off the coast of Texas. In Richmond, Va., the Southern capital, the third session of the First Confederate Congress met.

No one has yet identified last week’s mysterian, the man who was principal of the Andalusia High School for 18 years.

Special days this past week included Jan. 6, “Little Christmas,” the famous 12th day of Christmas. It is common in Europe for Christmas trees to be burned in a bonfire on “Little Christmas.”

Now, gentle reader, allow me to encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing – a good New Year’s resolution.

Fare thee well.