She’s motoring around town, about the country

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I admired the borders of pink daisy mums, lining several of the flowerbeds across the way at Covington Hall.

I hear from Lucy Martin that Clinton Clay of Huntsville was in town on a sentimental journey a couple of days in September.


Clinton and his late wife, Edna, lived here in Green Acres for four years during the early 60s. They were neighbors to Lucy and her late husband, Fred Price.

Clinton worked with the welfare department along with Vera Hall and Virginia Mills (recently deceased).

Edna taught at East Three-Notch with our own Lucy Price (now Lucy Martin) and attended First United Methodist Church.

The Clays had their first experiences with jobs and house buying when they lived here.

Clinton said that he was impressed with our town, but it was a bittersweet journey for him to return because there was no one left with whom to share memories.

He later got in touch with Lucy Martin, whom he remembered as Lucy Price.

Said Clinton of Andalusia, that it was “a good place to live” and “I’m glad I made the trip.” Then he added sadly, “I will likely never return to Andalusia.”

We hope you will, though, Clinton!

Mrs. Gotrocks and I went a-motoring the other day and were over-whelmed at the miles of roadside goldenrod, the fields of cotton, patches of sunflowers, adjuratum and Confederate rose (or cotton rose – probably named that because its blooms also turn from red, to pink, to white, like cotton).

Looking at the fields of cotton reminded me that Alabama’s nickname is “the Cotton State.” The first money my dad ever made was from picking cotton.

Watching TV and how the visiting Veterans were shut out, so unnecessarily, from the World War II monument in Washington, I thought that the law is sometimes exactly what Mr. Dickens said it was.

I cheered the Veterans as they pushed past the barriers and saw the monument anyway.

Those people in Washington have gone too far – too far.

Miss Cora Covington had me over this week for some pear cobbler, hot from the oven.

Clay Clyde Clump stuck his head in the back doorway and hinted that he could do with some cobbler, too. Said Clydie, “When I can’t remember something, I say I have ‘sometimers’ disease.” (I’ve noticed that it never occurs at meal times.)

The Portly Gentleman tells me that he has really come down in life. When he was a boy and shared a room with three of his brothers, each had one drawer and a fourth of a double closet. After he moved out, he was still allowed the drawer on visits home; but had to hang his suit in a smaller closet in a separate room. Over the years, he lost the drawer and the space in the other closet. Nowadays, when he visits home, he’s allowed a nail on the back of his old bedroom door. Such is life.

Seen at lunch at Simone’s, that quaint, storybook restaurant on East Three-Notch, were Mike Jones (the retired reading teacher), Margaret Goodspeed, Helen Hess, and Shirley Rogers, all friends of the late Jo Mosdell from England, whom they were remembering fondly in conversation.

Shirley belongs to A Cup o’ Tea and a Biscuit Club. The members are all from England – Pat Luckie, Margaret Topping, Frank Gray, Margaret Goodspeed (honorary), and Shirley Rogers. They meet each Wednesday or Thursday at each other’s home for tea and perhaps a “shandy.”

(All I know about a shandy is that it’s no Arnold Palmer!)

Have you noticed, gentle reader, that the love-bugs went as quickly as they came?

The Covington Rifles Camp l586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans met Oct. 3 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library.

Commander Curtis Hampton Thomasson presided.

“Hank” Roberts, chaplain, offered prayer.

Jimmy Cobb led in the three pledges.

Randy “R” Kelley led “Dixie” as Sue (Bass) Wilson played it from memory at the piano.

Sir Francis McGowin reported Confederate battle anniversaries.

Derick Davis, adjutant, reported the treasurer’s account.

Vaughn Bowers led a discussion of a monument to be placed to honor Confederates from Covington County.

Mike Williams, a native of Covington County and a graduate of Straughn School, the state adjutant and web-master for the Alabama Division of the SCV, delivered an inspirational message, encouraging members to enlist youth to carry on the work and to remember and honor Confederate ancestors.

He shared a tag design, mentioned that there are 65 SCV camps in Alabama, and warned against political correctness.

The closing prayer by “Hank” Roberts was followed by refreshments.

Three ladies were guests – Irene (Davis) Butler, Sue (Bass) Wilson, and Margie (Jacques) Thomasson.

John Potts from the Evergreen area was also a guest.

Members present were Derick Davis, Curtis Thomasson, Joe Wingard, Sir Francis McGowin, Larry Shaw, Jimmy Cobb, Morris Mullen, Hank Roberts, Vaughn Bowers, Randy Kelley, William Blocker and Kelly Veasey.

S. Daniel Shehan of Savannah and Joseph C. Wingard of Andalusia have published Christmas Songs, a booklet of 25 original songs, lyrics by Wingard, music by O’Sheehan (pen name).

Most were written for an annual Christmas Carol Sing in Andalusia, a neighborhood, Christmas sing-a-long, begun by Shehan in his home, Dovecoat, and continued by him and others for some 25 years.

The publisher is Job’s Turkey Press. September is the date of publication.

Copies sell for $10 each and may be purchased from Mr. Shehan and reserved through Mr. Wingard.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association met October 2 in the Covington County Board of Education Building (old Bethune).

On hand were Ruby Roberts to administer flu shots and Denise Krudop to screen blood.

The retired teachers were welcomed by Shannon Driver, new county superintendent.

Sharon Dye, CCERA president, presided.

Geraldine Boothe offered a devotional and prayer.

Following the pledge, new members were introduced – Dr. Louise Anderson, who has 36 ½ years in education; Terry Holley, former county superintendent; and Joyce Holley, his wife.

Glenda Presley read the minutes, moved by Peggy Mobley and seconded by Emma Locke.

Kim Dyess presented his treasurer’s report.

Elaine Chavers reported on membership.

Joe Wingard collected service hours.

Peggy Mobley, CCERA vice-president, introduced the speaker, Carolyn Davis, who spoke on Project Lifesaver, a project of the local Pilot Club, aimed at placing identification bracelets on loved ones who tend to wander off so that the at-risk person can be rescued if lost.
Jerri Stroud announced an upcoming display from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, to be staged here in Andalusia Jan. 3 – Feb/ 8 in the new Chamber of Commerce. She requested volunteers to act as docents for the exhibit, “How We Worked.”

Refreshments were offered by the County Board – chicken nuggets, rolls, cornbread salad, chips and dip, congealed salad, cookies, and butternut cake.

The table was decorated with fall colors and flowers and with soda, iced in a “witch’s pot.”

Attending were Louise Anderson, Linda Andrews, Dean Morris, Christine M. Wilson, Mary F. Bass, Terry and Joyce Holley, Lucy Conner, Larry and Glenda Presley, Earl and Dot Jones, Sharon Dye, Carolyn Davis,  Jerri Stroud, Johnnie Meeks, Geraldine Boothe, Elaine Chavers, Elaine Johnson, Gwendolyn H. Jessie, Ethel M. Robertson, Emma Locke, Allen Miller, Kim Dyess, Evan Merrill, Ophelia Merrill, Lynda Powell, Joe Wingard and Peggy Mobley, who has served twice as Alabama Education Association vice-president and twice as president.

This week we hear the fourth and last section of an essay written about Betty Mitchell’s bus tour to Chicago.

“Thursday was our last day in Chicago. As usual we began with a hearty breakfast at the hotel – sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes (no grits), pancakes, French toast, fruit, cereal, milk, juices, coffee, etc.. After prayer we made our way into town to the Art Institute of Chicago, the second largest art museum in the United States. There are two lion statues outside the front of the museum – one on each side of the steps. Our tour guide told us that when an honest politician walked by, the lions would roar.

“The museum is on the western edge of Grant Park. We were allotted four hours to explore and eat lunch in the café of our choice. The museum houses more than 300,000 works of art, spanning more than 5,000 years of history (Greek, Roman, Ancient Egyptian, African, American, European). Paintings seen were by Monet, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, El Greco, Manet, etc…

“Our next stop was the John Hancock Center where we debarked the bus and had several hours on our own. Most went to the Water Tower Place Mall with 100 stores and several eateries on eight floors.

“Across the street from the mall was the Chicago Water Tower, one of the buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It was built to house a large water pump, intended to draw water from Lake Michigan. It now serves as a Chicago Office of Tourism art gallery.

“Directly behind the Water Tower was the Hershey’s Chicago Store where some in our group made purchases and enjoyed chocolate milkshakes.

“The Fourth Presbyterian Church with beautiful stained-glass windows was just down the street from the mall. A few of us visited the church and listened to the organist practice. We noticed several homeless people there, either sleeping or listening to the music.

“That evening we ate dinner at the Embassy Suites with the same groups from North Carolina and Missouri. A musical ensemble, consisting of drums, trombone, guitar, keyboard, and a vocalist, provided the entertainment.

“Friday morning it was time to leave Chicago. We found it to be a very beautiful and clean city with many friendly people. Wayne Bennett prayed for our safe journey, and we headed toward home around eight o’clock. As we motored along, we chatted, read, passed around goodies, looked out the window again at the wind turbines and the Indiana farmland, changed our watches to Eastern Daylight Time, and arrived in Indianapolis for lunch. Some ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken and others at nearby Steak and Shake.

“We drove by Victory Field, located in the White River State Park beside the White River, which runs through the city. It is the home of the Indianapolis Indians and has been called the best minor- league ballpark in America.

“Our destination, also located in this park, was the Eiteljorg Museum. It contains one of the finest collections of Native American and Western art in the world. In addition to the art we were shown displays on the history and culture of the various Native American tribes. We saw headdresses, pottery, baskets, and beautiful beaded costumes.

“A special temporary exhibit at the museum featured more than 100 guitars owned by Roy Rogers, Woody Guthrie, Buddy Holly, Les Brown, George Harrison of the Beatles, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Sr., and others. The guitars had never been displayed together before. The exhibit featured many different kinds of guitars – electric, Spanish, steel, double neck, etc. One rare guitar was made in 1837.

“Leaving Indianapolis, we saw Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. The Super Bowl was played there in 2012. Maybe we should have called this trip “The Tour of Sports Arenas” – seems like we saw a lot of them.

“Dinner that evening was in Louisville, Kentucky, at – guess where – Cracker Barrel. After eating, some sat in the rocking chairs on the porch while others shopped.

“As we traveled south, we entered Central Daylight Time and stopped for the night at the Sleep Inn in Cave City, Kentucky.

“Saturday, the last day of our journey, began early as we departed for home around 7:30, after prayer. Southward we went into Tennessee and through Nashville again. We passed the time talking, napping, and eating more goodies. After all, we didn’t want to have any leftovers!

“Between Nashville and Alabama we got into a traffic jam. Traffic was backed up, and we inched along for miles because of road work. It took around 40 minutes before we were able to be on our way.

“After crossing the state line into Alabama, we played bingo; and prizes were awarded. Lunch was in Cullman at you-know-where.

“On down the road we stopped at our favorite spot – Durbin Farms Market in Clanton. The old saying goes, ‘If you want a good place to eat, always stop where the parking lot is full.’ Well, this parking lot was FULL; but our driver, Julio, managed to find a spot for the bus, and we made a bee line for the ice-cream counter. Yum! Yum!

“A little farther down the road James Simmons made an announcement, telling ‘Miss Betty’ how much we appreciated the hard work and effort she had put into making this trip so enjoyable for us. He also thanked Julio for a safe journey.

“After a brief rain shower near Greenville, we made it to Andalusia and Opp – safe and sound. A good time was had by all.”

Thank you, Jo Driggers, for your excellent and delightful account of the bus tour to Chicago.

Jo was among the travelers and kept detailed notes on each step of the journey.

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 upcoming meetings.

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

Confederate General Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia flanked General Meade’s Federal Army with limited success.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis visited the siege of Chattanooga.

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

For the seventh week the mysterian is still a mystery. The answer is part of a riddle. “Where can one park at Straughn and yet not be at Straughn?” Roger Powell made a good guess by using the old name for Straughn, but…

Birthdays this week are those of Jenny Lind, the famous soprano known as “the Swedish Nightingale,” said to have had the greatest female voice in history; James Whitcomb Riley, an American poet, known as “the Hoosier Poet”; Edward W. Bok, an American magazine editor and author; and Giuseppe Verdi, an Italian composer of operas.

Riley wrote “Little Orphant Annie,” which Jeanice Kirkland can recite from memory and did so to her students many a time. Riley’s poem led to the comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, which led to the musical Annie and its hit song, “Tomorrow.”
Riley also wrote “When the Frost Is on the Punkin,” a good poem to read this time of the year.

The Bok Singing Tower in Florida is named for Edward William Bok, who is buried there. One of our high-school graduates sang with a choir at the dedication of that tower, Miss Lillian Brawner.

Bok lived by the philosophy of his grandparents, who taught him so to live that he would leave the world a better and more beautiful place because he had been in it – a good philosophy for all of us.

To me, Verdi is the most enjoyable of all writers of opera.

Today is Columbus Day when “In 1492 Columbus sailed the blue.”

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

Fare thee well.