Study Club anniversary to hold gala affair

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I was impressed with all the white blooms about the neighborhood – magnolias, ligustrum, Confederate jasmine, Queen Anne’s lace, oakleaf hydrangea, and daisies.

Thank you, Dairy Queen, for your little garden of snapdragons.

Thank you, First Methodist, for your garden of daylilies.

Seen at the Corner Market for the Sunday buffet were Andy and Christy Clanton and their little sons, Chappell and Hamp, Glenn and Cindy Cook, Esker and Ann Thomasson, John and Amy Dugger, Kim and Eleanor Dyess and their son, Steve, Larry and Mary Avery, Rep. Michael Jones and family, Coach Brian and Nicholas Seymour and their Drew, Maggie, and Mary Taylor, Madison Geohagan, Dr.Tim and Melanie Day and their twins, Jack and Kate, Audrey Ballard, Evelyn Murphree, Rex and Debbie Jones, Sheila Bracewell, Christine Stokes, Fred and Laura Hartin and their daughter, Lyn, Liz Milhorn, Rebecca Maddox, Pat Pippin and Donald and Mary Butler.

Congratulations to Allen Butler, son of Dr. Rex and Billie Jo Butler, who won first in sparing, first in open-hand karate, and third in weapons karate in the Adamsville Tournament in Birmingham. Allen has also been named a member of the United States National Team to compete next year in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a representative of the United States.

Curtis and Margie (Jacques) Thomasson were recently in Oakman, North Alabama, to visit their eldest son, Curt, and his family.

On their way north they stopped in Tuscaloosa to visit a dear friend from Curtis’s college days at the University, Gwen Lollar, who is gravely ill in Northport Hospital.

Curtis and Margie had hoped to see their grandsons, Tyler and Peyton, play baseball; but rain put a damper on that plan.

While eating out at the Bull Pen Restaurant in Oakman, the Thomassons were surprised to run into the family of Sammy Huggins, formerly of Andalusia. Sammy’s son, Pierce, is engaged to an Oakman girl.

The senior adults of First Baptist (East Three-Notch) met May 21 in Fellowship Hall for lunch and a program on cemeteries by Curtis Hampton Thomasson.

Bill Law worded the invocation; Dr. Fred Karthaus, the minister, the benediction.

The hall was decorated by Trudy Vickers, assisted by Kittye Wyatt.

Gordon Vickers, director of senior adults, presided.

Tables were appointed for Memorial Day with centerpieces of red-white-and-blue sparkles, peppermint candies, and flag underlays, with red napkins. A pot of petunias sat on the head table. Hilltop catered with beef stew, rice, black-eyed peas, rolls, tea and Dean’s cakes.

“Happy Birthday” was sung to Dr. Morgan Moore, chairman of the Senior Adult Council.

Mr. Thomasson, who weekly writes the genealogical column for this paper, shared names of historic cemeteries in Covington County, their status, stories of those buried therein, preservation efforts, and registry notes.

A native of Andalusia, graduate of Straughn High School, and alumnus of the University with a B.S., M.A. and educational-specialist degree in counseling and guidance, Thomasson is a retired educator, having taught biology in Tuscaloosa City Schools for three years, math and science at the Andalusia High School for one year, and having served as guidance counselor there for three years, followed by 27 years as director of counseling at the Lurleen B. Wallace State Junior College.

He is married to the former Margie Jacques of Arkansas.

They have three married children, Curt, Christy, and Clay, and five young grandsons.

Thomasson, a gardener, serves as an elder and Bible teacher at Cedar Grove Church of Christ, as a member of Civitan (41 years), as past president of the Covington Historical Society, past commander of the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and as co-author of a history of the Thomasson family, Thomasson Traces.

Seen Wednesday night at the Huddle House were Greg and Jan White, Larry and Margaret Sanders, and Dr. Wayne and Lenora Johnson.

Seen at Larry’s for supper May 14 were Dwight and “Babs” Mikel, Robert Lee Holley, Sandra Davis and Joyce Adams. A group of ladies, dining there, belong to a quilting club. What is your name, ladies?

It was my pleasure to dine at Simone’s, the new restaurant along East Three-Notch Street, this week for my first time.

The storybook house, which encloses the new restaurant and confectionary, has an utterly charming interior.

The three dining areas feature two chimneys, eclectic sets of tables and chairs, wooden floors, quaint woodwork, and ceiling fans. The cloth-covered tables are topped with flowers and the most generous, cloth napkins I’ve ever seen.

The food, with an emphasis on sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts, is served artistically; and portions are more than even the Portly Gentleman could eat.

Randall Holland, I hear, has built a singing hall in Gantt. A community singing is scheduled there third Fridays.

Larry Shaw tells me he was up there last week and saw Dr. Morgan Moore and his wife, Wilda, Bill Blocker, “Hank” Roberts, Miss Charlotte Rogers and others.

This time of year dozens of churches in this area do something special prior to high-school graduation to honor the graduating seniors in their congregations.

At First Baptist (ETN), for example, Jon and Teresa Ward hosted a breakfast in their home for senior students, giving each a devotional book as a keepsake. The Wards, so I hear told, have done this for a number of years, bless ‘em.

The seniors, wearing their robes and mortarboards (caps), marched into morning worship for a service, designed to recognize and challenge them, as the congregation stood.

After worship the seniors gathered with their immediate families to eat in Fellowship Hall and receive keepsakes of 2013 gold-plated dollars, provided by Larry Avery.

The hall, this year, was decorated with centerpieces of tower vases with the school colors (red and white), asparagus fern, carnations, and oakleaf hydrangeas, arranged by Jerri Stroud, retired A.H.S. teacher, who also coordinated the church-provided buffet.

This year’s seniors were Carl Crigger (parents: Dwight and Sonia), Hunter Dendy (Steven and Sandra), Raegan Eiland (Tommy and Ashley), Courey Hopkins (Jeff and Kim), Ethan Jones (Marcus and Sherry), Grant Marcum (David and Debbie), Will Parker (Joe and Candy), Chris Riley (Dodd and Jan), Randy Robertson (Randy and Yvette), Brady Sharpe (Mickey and Kellye), Ralph Sims (Sheila), and Alex Ward (Jon and Teresa).

The seniors and their parents were introduced during morning worship by Judson Blackstock, associate pastor, and presented gift books from the church by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor, who also led in a special prayer for the young men and women.

During worship the Irene Hines Handbells, in white robes and red stoles, rang the senior processional, recessional, prelude, and offertory, directed by Dwight Crigger, the minister of music, and father of Senior Carl Crigger.

The mother of Senior Carl Crigger, Sonia, who serves as church pianist, sang a solo, “Find Your Wings,” while slides of all the seniors through their years were shown on the big screens.

The theme song of First Baptist, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” was sung.

Carl Crigger played the drums as the Adult Choir sang “10,000 Reasons.”

The sermon was divided into sections by Dr. Karthaus, Eric Searcy, Pennye Anderson, and Jennifer Dansby, each of whom delivered Biblical advice, based on Proverbs 3:5-6, to the youth.

That night was also special. Michael Rodriquez, minister to youth, who has recently taken a similar job at Grace Baptist Church in Oxford, Ala., preached his last sermon at First Baptist. The youth turned out in full force to support him.

After evening service a reception was attended in Fellowship Hall for Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez.

Once again, Jerri Stroud, the ever-dependable, coordinated a buffet and decorated the hall with tower vases.

Seen on the buffet were crustless pimiento sandwiches, chicken-salad sandwiches, croissants with chicken salad, nuts, fruit, cheese, pigs-in-a-blanket, meatballs, and golden punch. The Portly Gentleman made more than one trip to the buffet.

The Study Club celebrated its l00th birthday (1913 – 2013) with a program on the front steps of the Andalusia Public Library May 15 about half after three.

The highlight was the unveiling of an historic marker, explaining the origin of the library and its connection to the Study Club, whose members a hundred years ago, planted the seeds for a library in Andalusia.

The grounds of the library had recently been re-landscaped and looked beautiful. The only drawback was the heat, bearing down on a crowd, seated in folding chairs on the asphalt before the library steps.

Part of South Three-Notch had been blocked off to protect the attendees.

Jeremy Boyd of Scout Troop 46, a freshman at A.H.S., presented the colors, borne by Quint Inman, Dalton Palmer, Ryan Palmer and Jonathan Williamson. Boyd led the pledge.

The American and Alabama flags were flown at half-mast because of its being Law Enforcement Memorial Day.

The Scouts of Andalusia once shelved from the old library (currently, office of the Superintendent of Education) to the “new” library (the former post office) thousands of books, so there is a connection between the Study Club and the Scouts.

Tim Trent, minister of the First United Methodist Church, prayed the invocation.

Paula Sue Duebelt, choral director at the A.H.S., sang the club’s traditional song, “Alabama,” a cappella. This is the state song, penned by Julia Tutwiler.

Elaine Smith Manning, club president, recognized descendants of original club members – approximately 50 – as well as those in the City Council.

Member Amy (Russell) Spurlin, in possession of original papers of the Study Club, gave a partial history of the club and its connection to the library. Her “Aunt Sister,” Ethel (Darling) Chapman, was the driving force for both.

Member Nancy Hammett, who also serves on the Library Board, continued the club’s history.

She was followed by Karin Taylor, our city librarian since 1992, with an update on the library.

The Honorable Michael Jones Jr., then read a resolution for the occasion from the Alabama House of Representatives.

Mayor Earl Johnson, assisted by Robert Williams, president of the library board, unveiled the marker.

Said Mayor Johnson, when he approached the lectern, “I’m the guy you’ve been looking for – the last speaker.”

Mrs. Manning announced an art exhibit in the Dixon Memorial by the students of Margo Russell and invited guests to refreshments inside.

Ushering for the event were the Ambassadors, the select city youth who help out at public events, directed by Jerri Stroud, their adviser.

Refreshments included petit fours, cheese crisps, cucumber sandwiches, pimiento-cheese sandwiches, nuts, and punch.

The library was decorated with spring flowers, arranged by Barbara Posey, club colors of white (cloth) and lavender, and African violets (club flower).

A printed program featured a poem, “Who Hath a Book,” used at the 50th anniversary of the club, a history of the library, and the club emblem (first used in 1920).

Congratulations to both the Study Club and our library, especially the idealistic and dedicated, hard-working ladies of Andalusia.

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 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.

The Federal troops tried to crush the defenses of Vicksburg, the Southern stronghold on the Mississippi River, but failed twice. The North wanted to take Vicksburg to secure the river for itself.

The Federals also besieged another Southern stronghold on the river, Port Hudson.

The Federals set off an explosion beneath Vicksburg in an effort to take the town, but it did little harm.

Two Southern steamboats were captured by the Federals.

The CSS Alabama seized two Northern ships off Brazil.

For those who collect stamps, consider those associated with the War of l8l2 and the Sesquicentennial of “the War.”

Thank you, Patsy Moon, and Helen King, for identifying the Covington Stores as the popular department store on our Golden Square.

The new mysterian ran a millinery shop, was married to a Baptist pastor, and was one of the three “sweet girl graduates” in the A.H.S. Class of l905, thought to be the first graduating class.

Birthdays this week are those of Alexander Pope, English poet; Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish creator of Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World (the inspiration for Jurassic-Park movies); South Carolina, the rebellious state, the first to leave the Union in the War Between the States; Victoria, queen of the British Empire, who ruled it longer than anyone else in England’s history (although her descendant, Elizabeth, may outdo her); and Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet, who advised us to “hitch your wagon to a star!”

Pope is said to be the most quoted of English authors, next to Shakespeare.

Doyle in his novels never has Sherlock Holmes say, “Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.” That came from Hollywood.

During Victoria’s reign it was common to hear, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”

Personally, I believe God blessed the Empire because of Victoria. She was a firm believer in God and in the right.

Roger Powell, don’t give up on me. I have your notes, plus those of others. I’m still open to share notes on senior parties.

Don’t forget Memorial Day.

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

Fare thee well.