Of funerals, dining and boys caught smoking

Published 12:22 am Saturday, March 2, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed the Bradford pears in bloom over at Covington Hall. Have you noticed, gentle reader, how plants come and go in fashion, just like clothes? Time was that the Bradford pear was the most popular tree to plant.

Speaking of trees, February is usually the month designated for Arbor Day, when one plants a tree in a special ceremony. The Covingtons have their own Arbor Day each year. It is not always the same date as the state’s. I was invited last week to be a guest when the Colonel planted a live oak in honor of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, saying he hoped the tree would live to be the scene of memorial services for the Bicentennial and the Tri-centennial.

Miss Flora recited “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer (a man, by the way).

At the tea after the planting, Miss Cora served petit fours with “leaves” iced on top.

Miss Dora played and sang the music to “Trees.”

The funeral for Lucille (Meadows) Donaldson was Sat., Feb. 23, in the Foreman Funeral Home Chapel, at 3 p.m.

Visitation began at Foreman’s at l p.m.

Floral tributes and pictures of Lucille and her husband, A. W. Donaldson Jr., flanked the open casket, which was topped with a spring “blanket” of various blooms and pastel colors, on a bed of asparagus fern.

Lucille died Feb. 21. She would have been 90, had she lived to Christmas Day, for she was a “Christmas Baby.”

Clothed in a peach-colored dress, which Lucille had made herself, her body was adorned with glasses, ring, pearls as earbobs, a circle-of-pearls pin and a lace handkerchief in one hand.

A folded quilt with a picture in the center of her only child, the late Patricia “Pat” Ann Kennedy, was placed in the casket. It had been made by Lucille from her daughter’s things.

Lucille was known for her sewing, especially her quilting.

She had made quilts for those in her family and many others.

Among the mourners were Lucille’s husband, A. W. Donaldson; Pat’s husband, Jerry Kennedy; the grandchildren, Melissa and Thad Chandler, Kim and Casey Thompson, Matt and Nichole Kennedy; eight great-grandchildren, and Lucille’s sisters, Clara Nell Wambles and Bonnie Norman.

Jeanice Kirkland, pianist, played the preludes and postludes.

Don Lingle, who had been Lucille’s minister of music at First Baptist for some 28 years, began the service by singing “Because He Lives.”

Don and his wife Dot drove down from St. Clair County, where they retired.

Harrell Cushing, a retired Baptist minister, spoke of the mourners and read scripture and prayed. He said that Lucille and A.W. were married almost 70 years. He was twice their pastor at First Baptist, where the Donaldsons became members around 1964.

Don Lingle then sang the song for which he is known, “The King Is Coming,” accompanied again by Mrs. Kirkland.

Dr. Cushing read more scripture and spoke on godly, Christian women in the Bible. He said that Lucille was such a woman.

He concluded with a prayer.

Jennifer (Smith) Dansby ended the service by singing, a cappella, “Amazing Grace.”

Mrs. Kirkland played as the congregation left.

Family and friends drove in a procession to Andalusia Memorial Cemetery where, as they stood in a gentle rain, they heard Dr. Cushing read scripture and pray.

The Covingtons invited me over to a dinner Feb. 22, the birthday of George Washington.

In a toast at the table Colonel Covington raised his glass and repeated the words of Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, following the death of Washington, “First in war; first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen!”

Miss Cora served cherry pie in honor of the “Father of Our Country,” remembering the story in which Washington cut down a cherry tree and confessed to his father, unable to tell a lie. (Those days have passed.)

Miss Cora has begun gathering candy for Easter baskets, which she prepares for the less privileged. She likes to put a little “remembrance” in each basket, perhaps a toy rabbit or biddy. I still treasure a little set of “rabbits,” a mother and her two kits, made of plaster-of-Paris, given me by my grandmother in an Easter basket when I was but a child.

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville is planning to attend the Cherry Festival in Macon, Ga., some time during March 15-24, to see the 300,000 cherry trees in bloom. Macon, to me, is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. Its show of cherry trees in bloom outdoes Washington, D. C., if you ask me.

I was able to attend the grand opening – perhaps I should say the grand re-opening – of Green’s Monday night, Feb. 25. The new owner, Joe Garner, told me that he had another name picked out for the riverside restaurant; but people wanted him to keep the old name of Green’s so much that he did.

Among the crowd that showed up to welcome Green’s back was the long-time employee of the Green family, Jo Florence.

A limited “sampler” menu offered ribs, steak, pulled pork, and hamburger steak. Side orders included beans, potato salad and slaw. A salad bar and desserts were included with the “sampler.”

The food was quite good.

The crowd was so big that most of the meats were soon sold out, and some patrons had to leave disappointed; but it was an evening to be remembered.

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.

Confederates captured the Federal ironclad gunboat, Indianola. Inflation in the Confederate States of America saw a loaf of bread, priced at $25.00. The USS Montauk, commanded by the former commander of the Monitor, Commodore J. L. Worden, destroyed the Confederate steamer, Nashville.

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

I have it upon good authority that the two boys, caught smoking on the high-school campus those many years ago, were Keltys Powell and Tom Farnell. Marvin Walker had nothing to do with it. I was told that Marvin never smoked a cigarette or drank a beer in his life.

Bless the guilty pair; they have provided many a smile and laugh to generation after generation and are firmly entrenched in the annals of A.H.S. I bet that school administrators today wish that such an infraction of the rules were the worst problem they faced.

When Superintendent of Education J. H. Johnson sped around the drive of the old Church Street School and caught our two boys, he was living up to his reputation of being the “Jeep.”

Sidney Waits, one of our hometown historians, told me that the Jeep was a cartoon character in the Popeye comics, known for always “popping up” unexpectedly. (Check the computer for a picture.)

Abner R. Powell III recalls being told that his Uncle James O. Powell called Mr. Johnson “Jeep” (after the cartoon character) in The Andy Hi-Lite, the school newspaper.

The mysterian for next week is the cook, known for his restaurant on North Cotton Street and his chicken sandwiches, made with generous portions of fried chicken, bones and all, between two pieces of light bread (no condiments).

Birthdays this week are those of Enrico Caruso, Italian singer of opera; Victor Hugo, French novelist; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet; John Tenniel, English illustrator; and Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer of opera.

Hugo is still very much in the public eye because of the modern musical made from his novel, Les Miserables, featured last Sunday at the Academy Awards.

Longfellow, the centerpiece of American literature, left us a wealth of memorable poems and lines, as well as the example of an ideal poetic life.

Tenniel drew the famous pen-and-ink drawings that illustrated Lewis Carroll’s two Alice-in-Wonderland books.

Rossini composed William Tell, an opera the overture of which is perhaps the most popular, single piece of music in the world. The overture became more famous in America as the theme song of a fictional cowboy, the Lone Ranger, on radio, in movies, and in comics.

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

Fare thee well.