There were meetings of the mind, stomach

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind at the grey weather and falling leaves, I thought of old Mr. Albritton, now gone to attorney heaven, with whom the Portly Gentleman went a-walking one November afternoon.

Lawyer Albritton, the Portly One noted, was “carrying a cane.”

The elder gentleman gently corrected the Portly Gentleman, “One doesn’t carry a cane. He wears a cane.”

Then Lawyer Albritton appropriately quoted from William Cullen Bryant’s “The Death of the Flowers,” “The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year.”

In the Burger King the other day I ran into Johnny Hinson and his little grandson Jason, who calls his grandfather “Poppy.” Also eating out in the Burger King was the energetic Jo Florence, long-time employee of the Green family. Among my earliest memories of Andalusia is that of Jo Florence, chopping barbecue at Green’s restaurant.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association met Wed., Nov. 6, in City Hall.

(City Hall was originally Andalusia’s second brick schoolhouse – built in 1914 – and housed the Andalusia High School, all grades. Later, it became an elementary school only. The school alma mater was first sung in its auditorium, which is still intact.)

Peggy Mobley, CCERA vice-president, presided in the absence of President Sharon Dye.

Mrs. Mobley has served twice as vice-president and twice as president of the Alabama Education Association.

Guest speakers were Jimmy Holley, our senator from this area to the state legislature, and Mike Jones, our representative from this area.

Both men spoke and then took questions and comments on the current state of education in Alabama.

Topics included reasons for failing schools, finances, flexibility to move students to better schools and liability.

Secretary Glenda Presley read the minutes from October.

Treasurer Kim Dyess reported the money on hand.

Committee reports followed, along with old and new business.

Those present voted to give $300 to the local food bank.

A donation in memory of the late Nan Johnson was acknowledged.

Geraldine Boothe of Opp worded a heart-felt devotional and closed the meeting with prayer.

A special guest was Jan Locke, the new director for District 24 of the AEA. She works with members of AEA in Conecuh, Covington and Escambia counties (District 24).

CCERA members attending were Emma Locke, Linda Lucas, Elaine Chavers, Geraldine Boothe, Christine M. Wilson, Mary F. Bass, Gwendolyn Jessie, Elaine P. Johnson, Gayle Weeks, Terry Holley, Earl and Dot Jones, Evelyn Larigan, Louise Anderson, Larry and Glenda Presley, Jerri Stroud, Johnnie Meeks, Kim Dyess, Allen Miller, Peggy Mobley, Ethel M. Robertson, Lucy M. Conner and Joe Wingard.

Frances Cox Koury, whom I met this July while visiting First Baptist in Vicksburg, Miss., has sent me a booklet of her poetry and prose. It is beautifully and inspirationally written. The title is God Gave the Song.
Driving up to Montgomery this past week, I found the Georgiana by-pass closer to completion but still not ready for use.

The colors of the autumn leaves, especially the yellow-gold ones, delighted me with their beauty. People head north to see the changing leaves, but Alabama has colors as lovely as anywhere else.

That reminds me of the story of the man who sold his property to go in search of diamonds. He wanted to be rich, but he never found diamonds and died poor. After his death, diamonds were found on the very land he had sold to go in search of riches. Gentle reader, most – perhaps all – that we seek in life can be found in our own “backyard,” if we but look.

I stopped in Greenville to eat at Cracker Barrel. The Friday special, fried codfish, was really good. I drove through old Greenville and admired the grand, old houses. Greenville really is a beautiful place, as Mrs. Gotrocks continually reminds me.

The football team from Autauga County Academy was eating at the Barrel, too. They were on their way to play Jackson.

In Montgomery I drove past Mr. Brown’s gingko tree on Bradley Drive. It was still green, not yet that golden color that makes passers-by gasp. It stands near the childhood home of our own Bob Harry, who grew up on Oak Forest Drive near the gingko. I hope I can see this wonder when it receives the Midas touch.

On Bradley Drive, where I grew up, a Mrs. Preiss planted some 50 or 60 years ago, a sugar maple. It was in its glory this past week. A passer-by stopped to take a picture of it, so lovely were the golden leaves, turned into stained glass by the filtering autumn sun.

Let me recommend a buffet along the Atlanta Highway in Montgomery – Fried Tomato.

Another good buffet along the Atlanta Highway is Sundown East in Forest Hills Shopping Center. There I ran into “Terry O,” who sends his greetings to his friends who regularly meet for coffee at McDonald’s in Andalusia.

I hear that Tim Willis has been song director for some 32 years now at Ridgecrest Baptist in Dothan. Those who remember the local Bicentennial project to raise funds for the celebration will recall Tim Willis when but a youth. He played the male lead in the local production of

Little Women, a musical version of that famous book.

The Covington Historical Society met Oct. 31 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library.

Members had to compete for parking with those attending “Trick or Treat” on the Golden Square and those buying Low-Country Boil at the Presbyterian Church.

A capacity crowd filled the Dixon Memorial.

All the parking spaces, being used, reminded some of the need at night for a street light for the library parking lot. (City Council, please take note.)

William Blocker, president, called the 389th meeting to order.

Bill Law led in the prayer.

The pledge to the flag followed.

All sang “Alabama” as Sue (Bass) Wilson, dressed in Halloween colors, accompanied at the piano.

Members and guests took time to introduce themselves.

A financial report was distributed by Harmon Proctor.

Sue Wilson reported from the museum committee that the miniature railroad is being restored.

Mrs. Wilson introduced the program, “Tracking Your Roots with DNA” by Lisa Franklin, RN, OSN, from Houston. Her grandfather is from River Falls. Lisa grew up in Mobile and established her web site in 1995.

This presentation was her fourth, in which she detailed what DNA tests can tell us about our family.

Refreshments were served after the program. They were provided by Bill Law, Jan White, Sandy Williamson, Irene Butler, Nancy Robbins and Sue Wilson, who also decorated with a “tombstone,” paper pumpkins, black-and-orange table coverings and plates, Halloween cupcakes, a “Magnolia Cemetery” re-creation, and various “treats,” such as cookies, fruit, cheese, crackers, and sandwiches, in keeping with the Halloween theme.

Jim Locklier and I enjoyed a visit in City Hall the other day. He manages the golf course at LBWCC for the city.

We talked about his wife, Lisa, who has been running half marathons lately, and their daughter, Anna Malorie, who is head manager for women’s basketball at the University of Alabama. All three finished at Andalusia High School – Jim (1977), Lisa (1978), and Anna (2011).

I want to add a few notes to the obituary of Zane Thompson, who died Oct. 28, at just 26 years of age.

Classmates from his AHS Class of 2005 sat in a group at Zane’s funeral in Foreman’s and wore red-and-white ribbons, the school colors, in memory of Zane.

Zane lay in state, dressed in a dark, Sunday suit and tie with a red rose on his lapel and another in his hand.

The blanket over the casket was made of red roses, skirted with red and white carnations.

There were so many mourners present that every seat was taken and the overflow crowded the lobby, the back of the chapel, and the parlors.

There were banks of floral tributes.

Since Zane was a member of the Church of Christ, the music was a cappella. Larry Turman led the congregation in “Living by Faith” and “Farther Along.” The beautiful harmony filled the chapel.

The eulogy was preached by Jason Green, Zane’s one-time preacher at Central Church of Christ along South Three-Notch Street.

Eddie Boggess, Zane’s current preacher at Cedar Grove Church of Christ, worded the closing prayer.

The celebration 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 Bragg sent his General Longstreet’s corps to reinforce Confederate troops at Knoxville, which was occupied by Federal General Burnside.

President Lincoln attended the theater, enjoying a play, The Marble Heart, starring – of all people – John Wilkes Booth.

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

For the 11th 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?”

Birthdays this week are those of William Cullen Bryant, the American poet of “Thanatopsis” and “To a Waterfowl”; John Philip Sousa, “the March King,” an American bandmaster, composer of marches such as “The Stars and Stripes Forever”; and James Arthur Wilson, born in Andalusia, a graduate of its high school, a teacher at AHS for 36 years, 18 of those as principal, “Mr. Andalusia High School.”

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

Fare thee well.