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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw the little snowdrops, nodding in bloom. Even if we usually can’t have snow this far south, we can have “snowdrops” every winter.

Senior adults at First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch, met in their Fellowship Hall Feb. 19 for their monthly luncheon.

Gordon Vickers, director of senior-adult activities, presided.

The tables were appointed with a Valentine’s theme, heart napkins, and centerpieces of paper valentines and candy hearts, all arranged by Trudy Vickers and Kittye Wyatt.

Gillis Jones worded the invocation; Judson Blackstock, the benediction.

Hilltop provided a buffet of ham, cabbage, black-eyed peas, fried bread, rolls and red-velvet cake (in keeping with the Valentine theme).

Two couples were recognized for marriage anniversaries, John and Mary (“the Belle of Excel”) Hill and Harry and Helen Hinson, (“Mr. and Mrs. Alliteration”). Both couples have been married for 63 years.

A fascinating program was given by Rebecca (Terry) Brewer, the new chief executive officer of Andalusia Regional Hospital, whose subject was “The State of the Hospital.”

Born in Beaufort, S.C., Mrs. Brewer was educated in nursing at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina (Columbia). She has served as chief nursing officer and CEO in several hospitals.

She and her husband, Ross Brewer, a real-estate agent, have two children, Leslie Brewer Burton and William Ross Brewer Jr. The couple’s one grandchild is Liam Michael Burton.

Mrs. Brewer’s hobbies include travel, scuba and outside activities.

She said of Andalusians, “I have never met nicer people in my life,” and added, “People in Andalusia go the extra mile.”

She enjoys she-crab soup, and, not only eats shrimp and grits, but also catches the shrimp.

The senior adults of First Baptist also gathered for an outing Valentine’s Day to eat supper at the Old Barn Restaurant in Goshen. Neal Dansby drove 25 participants in the church’s new bus.

On the hour-long drive to “the Land of Goshen,” drawings were made for door prizes, mainly stuffed animals and Valentine candy, provided by Gordon and Trudy Vickers, who minister to the senior adults at First Baptist.

The most popular items on the menu were steak, seafood, and quail. The Portly Gentleman could be seen, eating fried quail.

Said he, “It’s not often that I have a chance to enjoy quail.”

The Old Barn, literally a renovated old barn, was decorated with rustic wall hangings, such as farm implements.

The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday for lunch.

Among the other diners were Mr. and Mrs. Billy Rathel and their child, residents of Goshen. Billy finished the Andalusia High School in l989.

Attending from First Baptist were Buddy and Betty Brunson, Bill Law, Gillis and Laura Ann Jones, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Kittye Wyatt, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Kenneth and Helen Johnson, Joe and Jackie McDanal, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Neal Dansby, June Smith, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Vivian Hickey, Bea Miller, John and Rebecca Lankford and Joe Wingard.

Seen at the Friday-night, seafood buffet at Kayla’s along Highway 55 in the McKenzie area were Sir Francis and Lady Ann McGowin, Larry Shaw, Robert Lee Holley and the Portly Gentleman.

Kayla Ledbetter and her mother run the restaurant and provide quick and friendly service. The food is excellent, especially the fried oysters. Kayla, for whom the eatery is named, once ran a restaurant along 106 in Georgiana.

Jerry “Catfish” Eiland of Troy stopped by the paper for a quick visit. His twin, Jimmy “Not Catfish” Eiland, and older brother, Tommy, are residents of the “Dimple of Dixie.”

Irene (Davis) Butler entertained in her home Feb. 13, hosting a pecan-shelling party.

Following lunch, guests were provided cracked pecans to shell for an hour or two, all the time enjoying each other’s company and a spirited conversation.

Talk included a book of poems, Mumzit, by John G. Breedlove of Opp, published in 1961 and dedicated to his wife, Jeanie.

Mrs. Butler provided a buffet lunch of pulled pork with a choice of dressings, chicken potpie, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, garden salad, congealed salad, butter beans, vegetable relish salad, pasta salad, sweet-potato casserole, rolls, tea and a scrumptious Italian cream cake.

The table was appointed with a lace overlay on a red cloth and china centerpiece.

One of the guests, Robert Lee Holley, contributed two tiers of his popular biscuits.

Others attending were Joyce Leddon, Janice (Bowman) Miller, Dr. Barbara Linder and Joe Wingard.

Seen at Larry’s were Cliff and Connie (Reeves) Maddox, Robert and Barbara Linder, and their daughter, Elaine (Linder), visiting from Prattville.

Maegan McMullen sang a version of “Just As I Am” to taped music in the Sunday-School assembly of the Baraca Class of First Baptist Church last Sunday morning.

Colonel Covington, speaking at the Andalusia Lyceum, commented on the word old. He said that he was surprised at the attitudes of certain people in Andalusia when using old.

One attitude was apologetic, as if ashamed of anything old. The Colonel said that this attitude was responsible for the loss of our heritage and much beauty, such as old buildings, old music, old silver, old crystal, old literature, old culture, old manners, old art, old dance, old character, old morals, as if anything old were worthless.

The Colonel particularly condemned the modern attitude that anyone living is automatically superior to anyone and anything in the past. There are countless persons, dead but not gone, whose lives far outshine the majority of those living today, whose works exceed those of today, whose character can but be matched.

I heard recently reference to a piece of music as “old,” as if it could be discarded, as if it no longer mattered, as if it were only to be tolerated. That bothered me because that piece of music seemed superior to much of the so-called “music” I have heard of late. That old piece of music brought to my heart precious memories and will, as long as I live, mean much more to me in comfort and inspiration than modern pieces that have not stood the “test of time.”

I would be reluctant to look with disdain upon anything which is old or anyone who is old simply because of age. Keats, the English poet, once wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” I believe that.

When I was in college, someone put a note on the dormitory bulletin board that “God is dead,” at the time a popular point of discussion. The author of that line, Nietzsche, was signed beneath it. A few days later I looked at the note again. Someone else had written under “God is dead” that “Nietzsche is dead” and had signed it “God.”

Before we throw out beauty and heritage because of age, we might recall that God is the oldest of all.

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 continues.

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 reminded of upcoming meetings.

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

Forces, north and south, gathered near Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, anticipating a fight to conquer the bluff town. In Keokuk, Iowa, Federal troops ransacked a local newspaper office because of the paper’s anti-Union sentiments.

Buy stamps, recalling the Sesquicentennial, Mark Twain, O. Henry, and War of 1812.

Once again, here’s the clue for the mysterians.

The story goes that two high-school boys were smoking on the school campus. Suddenly they were aware that their superintendent, J. H. Johnson, was approaching. The one, smoking, quickly threw his cigarette down. Mr. Johnson came upon the cigarette and asked whose it was. One of the boys quipped, “You saw it first; you can have it.” Of course, the student was punished. There are many versions of this story about town. Who were the two boys? One was Keltys Powell; the other (I think) was Marvin Walker. Thanks to Nick Johnson for half the answer.

The question for next time follows: Why was Superintendent J. H. Johnson called “Jeep?”

Birthdays this week are those of David Garrick, an English actor known for his Shakespearean roles; George Washington, first president of the United States; James Russell Lowell, American poet; Frederic Chopin, Polish composer and pianist; George Frederick Handel, German/British composer; and Samuel Pepys, English diarist.

Washington, “the Father of our country,” was born Feb. 22. When he died, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee said of Washington that he was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Henry Lee was the father of Robert E. Lee, the most famous of Confederate generals. Henry Lee was also Washington’s favorite general.

Handel’s best-known piece of music is Messiah. In that piece, when the “Hallelujah Chorus” is sung, the audience is supposed to stand because the King of England stood during it at a previous performance.

Pepys’s diary was written in code. He often closed an entry with “And so to bed.”

Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the Confederate States of America, was inaugurated Feb. 18.

In pronouncing the name of this month, one should say “Feb-ROO-ary,” not “Feb-U-ary,” even though the second pronunciation sounds prettier.

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

Fare thee well.