Summer – the time of bar-be-cue, parties and dresses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw my neighbors across the way at Covington Hall, Miss Cora and Miss Flora, baskets in hand, heading down a trail to the blueberry bushes. I hummed a bit of “In the Good, Ol’ Summer Time,” anticipating a gift of blueberry nectar or jam or just fresh blueberries.

The longest day of the year, June 21, has come and gone; and summer is officially here.

Boy, does it feel like it!

Did you see the “big moon” June 22?

My childhood friend, Carol Sue Brown, now Mrs. Terry Jay Coker, was in Montgomery last week with her husband and their daughter, Ashley, for medical appointments. They drove up from Naples, Fla., where they have retired. She and I grew up on Bradley Drive, one street over from Oak Forest where our own Bob Harry was reared.

While in Montgomery, I ran into another childhood friend from Bradley, Charles Casmus, who still plays in a band – Charlie C and the Cuzmatics.

Down the Atlanta Highway in Montgomery lies a restaurant, Sam’s, which opened in 1980, specializing in barbecue. Sam’s recently won second place as the best barbecue in Alabama. I had never eaten there, but had heard good things about the food; so I stopped for lunch. I asked a waitress for Sam’s last name, but she didn’t know. The barbecue sandwich was good, but I still would challenge it with the barbecue from old Green’s hereabouts. One of my earliest memories here in the “Dimple of Dixie” is eating at Green’s and hearing Jo Florence’s chopping barbecue for sandwiches.

Driving up the Double Nickel to Georgiana, I found the Georgiana By-pass nearer to completion but still not ready to drive.

Motoring up I-65, I saw something new to me. A couple had parked their motor home by the side of the road and were sitting in separate lawn chairs in the deep grass by the side of the highway, as if enjoying their own backyard. I could only suppose that they were tired of driving and wanted simply to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and scenery. My second thought was about redbugs. If the folks were from out-of-state, later on, they might regret sitting in that deep, roadside grass.

Curtis Thomasson has informed me of a series of dinner-theatre productions by Faulkner University in Montgomery. The following are scheduled – The Baker’s Wife (August), Les Miserables (October), The Game’s Afoot (December), Flight of the Lawnchair Man (February 2014), and The Importance of Being Earnest (April 2014). I believe that Curtis and Margie saw one this month – The Good Samaritan, written by Angela Dickson, on the staff of the Faulkner University Fine Arts Department.

It has come to my attention that this year is the one-hundredth anniversary of “Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer, an American poet, a man, not a woman. This is a poem that most people were taught in school and asked to memorize.

Various places claim the inspiration for the poem is a tree in their location.

One such place is Mahwah, N.J., where Kilmer and his family lived about five years.

The poem has been set to music and sung or recited at Arbor Day ceremonies. Alfalfa of the Little Rascals (Our Gang) sang the song on film. Mrs. Gotrocks said, “Even his voice couldn’t dim the beauty of the song.”

One of the sentimental high points of life is attending an Arbor Day ceremony and hearing someone recite “Trees” or sing it and helping to plant a tree.

Kilmer, a soldier, died at 31 in World War I.

There is a section of forest named in his honor.

In a meeting of the Andalusia Lyceum, Colonel Covington quoted the following, “Tell someone that there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you, but tell him that a bench has just been painted and he’ll have to touch it to be sure.”

Clay Clyde Clump has his own bits of wisdom to pass on – “Men’s hair has three basic styles: parted, un-parted and departed.”

Clydie also said, “Waterbeds aren’t new. Oysters have been using them for centuries.”

When I was teaching, one of my students was Becky McNeese. One day she slipped the following note to me – “Jesus is my Shepherd. I am just a lamb. Although I’m not a prize sheep, He loves me as I am.” I have saved that little note all these years.

Let’s offer our thanks to those serving on the Board of Education of the Andalusia City Schools – Dr. David McCalman, president; Amy P. Dugger, vice-president; W. David Bryant, member; Dr. William G. King Jr., member; and Joecephus Nix, member.

Let’s also offer congratulations to the departing, senior-class officers at AHS, as follows: Anna Elizabeth Bowden, president; Lora Raegan Eiland, vice-president; Morgan Brannan Dove, secretary; Mason Levi Wishum, treasurer; Michael Tyler Peacock, poet; Catherine Anne Wofford, historian; Courtney Ann Tisdale, songstress; John David Thompson, pianist; and Jasmine Marie Botta, artist.

The flower of the Class of 2013 is the camellia; the colors, cardinal and silver; the song, “Hall of Fame” by the Script; and the motto, “If we cannot find the road to success, we will make one.”

Class sponsors for the seniors were Dr. Louise Anderson, Daniel Bulger, Richard Robertson, Angelia Sasser and Marshall Locke. Dr. Anderson retired this year. Coach Robertson is the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the school.

The AHS school colors are red and white; the motto, Semper Perseverate; and the flower, the daisy.

First Presbyterian Church of our town publishes a monthly newsletter called “The Epistle.” This excellent paper doubles as a history of the church. Looking back over the June issue, I was drawn to a picture from Mother’s Day, May 12. Pictured were Helen King, the oldest mother present; Cathy Powell, the youngest mother present; and Barbara McCommons, a single, retired teacher, who has “mothered” the most children in the congregation.

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

Again, I ask that citizens 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 up-coming meetings.

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

Vicksburg, Miss., continued to suffer from a siege by Northern General Grant’s forces. Southern supplies in Vicksburg ran out. The people suffered terribly. Elsewhere, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry successfully raided the Gettysburg area in Pennsylvania. Southern Gen. Jubal Early and other Southern generals moved their forces into the Gettysburg area. Newly appointed Northern Gen. George Meade (replacing General Hooker) moved the Army of the Potomac toward Gettysburg, as did Southern Gen. Robert E. Lee his Army of Northern Virginia. In the early days of July these two battles – Vicksburg and Gettysburg – would help determine the outcome of the War.

For those who collect stamps, consider those associated with the War of 1812 and the Sesquicentennial of “the War.”

The mysterian last Saturday was a place. No lady dared to be seen there on a Saturday night. No decent woman would show her face there. The answer is “The Bottom,” correctly guessed by Curtis Thomasson. The Bottom is a nickname for the lower part of South Cotton Street where all sorts of activities happened. The new mysterian is a double answer. What were the two places advertised in the Bottom when trains arrived?

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

Fare thee well.