As summer winds down, fall activities gear up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 17, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I looked for the sunshine.

The other day Bill Alverson, a local attorney who lives both here and in Georgia, and I enjoyed a conversation over lunch at Yo’ Craving, the yogurt/sandwich/salad shop on the Golden Square.

His older daughter, Blanche, the noted basketball player, plans to move to Spain to play professionally.

Bill’s son, William, who lives here with his wife, is awaiting the results of his bar exam.

Bill’s wife Cindy and their younger daughter, still in school, live in Georgia, Bill’s weekend destination.

All this rain we’ve been having has made many believers in St. Swithin’s Day. If rain on July l5 – St. Swithin’s Day – correctly predicts rain for 40 more days, then the rains should stop around August 24.

Homecoming at the Andalusia High School, honoring classes that end in “4” will be here in about a month. If you want to coordinate any activities, then “be up and doing,” as Longfellow wrote. The honored classes this year are 1934, 1944, 1954, 1964, 1974 (at 200, the largest class in the school’s history), 1984, 1994 and 2004.

Wayne and Lenora Johnson and her aunt, Lilla Faulk, were in Atlanta recently for the baptismal service of Lilla’s great-grandson, John Milton Cummings.

The trio enjoyed brunch afterwards at the Cherokee Town and Country Club as guests of Lenora’s cousins, Dan and Susan Faulk.

Dwight and Sonia Crigger, minister of music and pianist at First Baptist, Andalusia, sang a duet, “I Will Rejoice,” last Sunday.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist, baptized young Drew Seymore, son of Brian and Nicolas Seymore, Sunday, Aug. 11. The older Seymore is head coach at A.H.S.

The solo part in the Sunday-morning anthem was sung by Charlotte Rogers, a teacher at Lockhart, whose beautiful soprano voice is frequently featured at First Baptist.

Also at First Baptist, flowers in the sanctuary were placed in memory of Mildred Hart by the ladies’ Sunday-School class named in her memory. Miss Hart, a graduate of A.H.S., taught home economics there until her retirement. She was living at her death in her parents’ home on Watson Street, which she would decorate in detail for Christmas. Many looked forward to her annual open house at Christmas. Many have cross-stitch art sewn by her.

Seen Sunday at lunch in the hospital cafeteria were Charles and Annette Rogers and their daughter, Charlotte, Rayford and Carolyn Davis, Ron and Caroline (Cumbie) Picking, Glenn and Cindy Cook, Janette Carroll, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Gillis “the Combman” and Laura Ann Jones, Dan Gantt (picking up a plate for his Kathy), the newlyweds, Matt and Clara Mellown, and Willie and Rachel Watson and their daughter, Sherry.

Seen at supper at Larry’s were Johnny and Nelda Godwin, Ronnie Rawls and Ted Watson, the “singing superintendent” of education (Andalusia City Schools).

Have you noticed that waitresses are using terms of endearment more and more when they serve?

The Portly Gentleman tells me that he has been called “sweetheart,” “sweetie,” “darling,” “honey,” and other flattering names.

Some of those waitresses have quite an imagination.

Representatives of public schools in Conecuh, Covington and Escambia counties met Monday night, Aug. 12, in a side room of Beef O’Brady’s to interview two candidates and recommend one for the recently available job of District 24 director. The past director for some 17 years, Vivian Jones of Brewton, retired July 3.

District 24 – the three counties mentioned above – is part of the Alabama Education Association, to which most teachers in Alabama belong.

The interviews, along with supper a la carte, followed the first meeting of District 24 in the new academic year, led by Jimmy Ponds, president of the district, librarian at Straughn Elementary, and president of the AEA members in Covington County.

The interview process was explained by two AEA officials, Darryl R. Sinkfield, assistant executive secretary for field services, and Curtis Travis, regional manager of South Alabama counties.

The Murals Committee of Andalusia met Aug. 12 in City Hall (once the Andalusia High School) to discuss plans for future murals.

Guests included Wes Hardin, the muralist from Dothan who has thus far painted all the new murals in town; Barbara Tyler, city employee who works with grants; and Earl Johnson, mayor of Andalusia.

Presiding was Pat Palmore, chairwoman.

Members present were Elaine Manning, Robert Anderson, Nancy Robbins and Joe Wingard.

Last Saturday we left the Portly Gentleman in Jackson, Miss., on his way to Vicksburg for the annual national convention (“reunion”) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Vicksburg had been chosen, I presume, because of the l50th anniversary (the Sesquicentennial) this year of the siege of Vicksburg by Federals in l863 during the War Between the States. Vicksburg, a major port along the Mississippi River, was wanted by the North for military reasons and surrendered to the North after 47 days of siege on July 4, a day after the battle at Gettysburg concluded.

Let’s hear from the Portly Gentleman himself.

“It took only about an hour to drive a nice four-lane road from Jackson to Vicksburg.

“My first stop in Vicksburg was at the Visitor Information Center to learn what I could. I had only driven through Vicksburg once before and had not stopped; therefore, I was almost lost.

“I drove down Clay Street to old Vicksburg with its brick streets, perched on the high bluffs above the Mississippi River. The streets by the river are exceptionally steep. The town has an aura of yesteryear and many fine churches, homes, and shops. I liked Vicksburg immediately.

“Down by the river I found the Convention Center, a simple, modern structure with meeting rooms where the SCV assembled July 17 – 20.

“After registering, I motored down Washington Street toward the Lady Luck Motel, my home for the next few days. Washington ran parallel to the Convention Center, and I used it to come and go each day.

“It was several miles out to the casino to which my motel was attached. On my way I passed several other casinos down by the river, as well as a Mississippi Welcome Center, homes, and businesses.

“By the time I had checked in, I was ‘plopulated’! After a brief rest in my motel room, I threaded my way through the casino itself to the buffet, which was up an escalator and in a large, domed dining room with walls of glass through which one could leisurely view the Mississippi, flowing, wide and swift, not far beyond.

“After supper I sat a long time and watched the sun go down over the ‘Father of Waters.’

“Meetings began the next morning with opening ceremonies in the Convention Center.

We assembled in a large room decorated with period flags. The program included a color guard, the singing of ‘Dixie,’ pledges, prayer, and messages of welcome from dignitaries, including the lt. governor of Mississippi.

“Among those I saw and knew on the floor were Dr. Charles Baker, Alabama SCV chaplain; Philip and Rose Mary Davis, a couple from Montgomery; Michael Givens, national commander-in-chief; Gary Carlisle, Alabama commander; Joe Clark, Alabama brigade (area) commander from the Enterprise area; Paul Vaughn, an old friend; Chris Sullivan, member; and Charles Bray from Columbia, S.C., another member who impressed me with his knowledge of Henry Timrod, the Wingard Nursery in Lexington (near Columbia), and the Catholic priest-poet, Abram Ryan.

“A business meeting followed the opening ceremonies.

“ About this time I spotted one of the most colorful characters in Andalusia history, Sir Francis McGowin, dressed to the nines, past commander of the Covington Rifles, our local SCV ‘camp’ in Andalusia. Sir Francis and his beloved Ann had driven over for the reunion, too.

“The most interest-arresting speaker during the business meeting was a Britisher from Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of France. He had traveled all the way from there just to be at this convention. Among the comments he made was that the Germans in World War II treated his islanders better than the Yankees had treated Southerners in the War for Southern Independence. He said that for 40 years, every day, every hour, he has flown a Confederate flag at his home. He also said he dislikes the song, ‘Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.’

“A luncheon followed. Then I joined a bus tour of the National Military Park, scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Vicksburg today may be best known for this park, dedicated to those who fought even unto death on the hills around Vicksburg, and decorated with hundreds of memorials. Alabama is among those represented.

“We departed from the Hampton Inn where most of the SCV members were staying. I had tried a reservation there, but found all rooms reserved already, even a few months before the ‘reunion.’ I had waited too late; therefore, I ended up at a casino. No, I did not gamble.

“The bus tour took almost three hours. I was amazed at the size of the park – located where the soldiers had fought and died. Our guide was excellent in telling us details and pointing out memorials – hundreds – to the dead.

“The largest memorial was to the soldiers of Illinois. We stopped and walked up the 47 steps to the rotunda. The steps matched the number of days of the siege – 47.

“Another stop was to see the Northern U.S.S. Cairo, an ironclad that had been raised from the river and reconstructed. We were able to examine it in detail.

“It was at the ironclad that I tripped over a brick path liner and fell on my right hand and side. It was a wonder that I didn’t break apart. I was sore for a month. I thought for a while that I had waddled my last, but the Lord had mercy.

“Our group returned to the Hampton, just ahead of a terrific storm. It soon broke, though, and rained for hours. I had left my car at the convention center and had ridden the tour bus over to the Hampton where the tour started. Now I was stranded at the Hampton, miles from my motel, and at the mercy of the bus driver, Terry, who in the midst of driving rains, and with a kind heart, drove me, his only passenger, back to the Convention Center and right up to my car, which I drove, as best I could, to the Lady Luck through driving (pun intended) rains and flooded streets. Yes, I heavily tipped good, ol’ Terry. God, bless him.

“Back at the Lady Luck I was wet, worn-out, and in pain as I waddled over to a snack bar in the casino and bought supper. I took it to my room, ate, and turned in for the night.”

Thank you, Portly One. Perhaps you can finish your stay in Vicksburg next time.

The celebration of the two-hundredth 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 upcoming meetings.

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

Federal troops bombarded Fort Sumter at Charleston.

Forces, North and South, gathered for conflict in southern Tennessee.

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

Lucy Brady correctly identified the mystery building at the corner of Pear and South Three-Notch as the old Opera House, erected by her relatives. It later burned.

The mysterian this Saturn’s Day is a building, which stood in what is now the front yard of City Hall.

Birthdays for the past week include those of Carrie Jacobs Bond, an American song writer, and Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish poet and novelist.

Mrs. Bond wrote sentimental, lovely pieces such as “I Love You Truly” and “When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day.”

Sir Walter, according to Mark Twain, helped cause the War Between the States by popularizing in his novels the feudal system of Europe, the model for the Southern plantation.

Sir Walter’s castle-like home, Abbotsford, still stands, occupied until recently by his own descendants.

Perhaps his most famous words are as follows: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

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

Fare thee well.