Let’s celebrate, I say; after all, we all love a party

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind last Tuesday, I saw the sun, long-time a stranger to these parts. This summer, however, we’ll wish for some of the cold, rainy, wintry days of January we’ve experienced.

Seen at the lunch buffet at Corner Market was Diane Marshall, with whom I talked over the “old days.”

Jean (Holloway) Ray, Andalusia High School Class of 1945, called me this week in response to a mention in one of my previous columns of Miss Alexine Rollings, one-time teacher at AHS from Montgomery. Jean was taught seventh-grade English by Miss Rollings, whom Jean called a “no-nonsense” teacher, a good teacher who meant business.

Jean divides her time now between Oklahoma, favored by her husband, and Destin, favored by Jean.

The reader may recall Jean’s children, Hal Martin and Nancy (Martin), who has taught school some 35 years and is approaching retirement.

Jean shared that years ago a friend of Miss Rollings, Essie Vardaman, was gifted by Miss Rollings with a pretty pink vase. In her old age, Mrs. Vardaman, who had no children, passed that pink vase on to her friend, Jean, who still treasures it.

Mrs. Vardaman was a clerk at Turner’s, a women’s clothing store on one corner of the square (across South Three-Notch from Brooks Hardware; some say this is the oldest building on the square).

Representatives of educators and support personnel in the Alabama Education Association, which includes most of the educational employees in Alabama, attended their monthly meeting Monday night, Jan. 13, on the campus of Reid State Technical College, Evergreen.

These representatives represented members in three counties, Conecuh, Covington and Escambia, known as District 24 in AEA.

The business meeting was presided over by Jimmy Ponds, librarian at Straughn Elementary, now in his first year of a two-year term as district president. Ponds is also president of the AEA members in Covington County for his second year.

Janice Locke, the new AEA director of District 24, was also on hand.

Supper was provided by Dianne McKenzie of Brewton, district treasurer, who prepared her famous “cowboy soup,” a kind of hamburger soup.

The next meeting was set for Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m., in Reid State, Evergreen.

Cynthia “Cyndy” Shaw was honored by the Southeast Alabama Gas District with a retirement reception on Fri., Jan. 10, 2-3:30 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch Street, where Mrs. Shaw has her membership.

The reception began with prayer by Cyndy’s preacher, Dr. Fred Karthaus, and words of praise and appreciation by SEAGD CEO Greg Henderson and Lex Colquett, director of corporate services, to which Cyndy responded.

She began service with SEAGD in November of 1973 and worked for 41 years.

Cyndy wore a black blazer, hound’s-tooth-check slacks, a red scarf, and flowers of blue and yellow.

Joining Cyndy for the special day were Mr. Larry Shaw and their two children, Coral, who came all the way from Oklahoma, and Josh, who came from Gulf Port, Miss.

A steady stream of well-wishers flowed in and out of the hall.

Four tables, draped with white cloths, featured registration, a buffet, punch, and cake.

The cake, decorated with the SEAGD emblem, was placed next to a bouquet of blue delphiniums and yellow daisies, blue, being Cyndy’s favorite color.

The mock champagne punch rested in Frances Grimes’ silver bowl.

The buffet, set about a large arrangement of blue-and-yellow blooms, included chicken-salad croissants, roast sandwiches, white and red grapes, raw vegetables and dip, an assortment of fruit, featuring strawberries and apples, mixed nuts, a hot, cheese casserole dip, variety of crackers and cheese ring.

The food was catered by Jeff and Laquetta Grimes.

Alan Cotton arranged the bouquets of blue and yellow blooms along with potted palms.

Jule (Bradley) Browder turned 89 on Thu., Jan. 9, and celebrated with cards, calls, gifts, flowers, cake and candles, “Happy Birthday,” and TWO parties on the same day!

Jule and I used to teach together at the Andalusia High School. She is precious to me, a sweet, dear heart, a lovely spirit, a lady, through and through, top-rated, first-class, cultured, kind, caring and refined.

Many happy returns of the day, Jule, dear.

Fifty Forward, the senior adults of First Baptist, East Three-Notch, met for food and fellowship at Hilltop Restaurant the evening of Jan. 9, invited by their church director, Gordon Vickers.

Attending were Trudy Vickers, Gillis “the Comb Man” and Laura Ann Jones, Betty Bass, Larry Shaw, Cyndy Shaw, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Bill Law, June Smith, Vivian Hickey, Bea Miller, Herb and Sue Carlisle and Joe Wingard.

Others seen at Hilltop that cold and misty night were Rhett and Lynn Butler, Mickey and Jenny Pitts, Donnie and Nancy Tillman and Jo Florence.

Gentle reader, have you been yet to the Smithsonian exhibit on “The Way We Worked,” displayed in our newly renovated Chamber of Commerce?

I spent two to three hours there on a rainy afternoon. Not only is it informative, but it is also interesting and fun. It is also a treat to see the chamber if you haven’t already.

Jerri Stroud, the retired science teacher and adviser to our town’s Ambassadors, has organized local docents to conduct visitors through the exhibit and answer questions.

The day I went Carla Mooney and Ken Johnson were on duty.

Mrs. Stroud is a treasure to our town, efficient, dependable, and cooperative – with the highest of standards.

While visiting the Smithsonian exhibit, I met Ben Farr, who impressed me by naming the 67 counties of Alabama in rapid order. He also quoted well the lines from “The Prologue” to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

The celebration of the War of 1812 (1812 – 1815) 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.

White males between 17 and 50 were conscripted for service in the Southern army, despite protests.

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

The mysterian is a bald-headed man who was struck over the head with a walking stick (his own, I think) in our public square by a man who was angry at the victim. The wound became infected, and the man died. Who was he?

Birthdays this week are those of Horatio Alger, an American preacher and author of rags-to-riches stories, and Benjamin Franklin, an American printer and “grandfather” of the American nation.

Alger’s stories are similar. They tell of poor boys, who, through hard work, become rich. They came to be known as “rags-to-riches” stories.

Miss Annalee Simmons, one of the respected Simmons family of Bay Branch Hill, who used to teach English and social studies in the old Annex of the AHS, told me that she used to read the Alger books and work hard, just knowing that one day she would be rich like all the heroes of Alger’s books. She never became rich, however, and turned sour on Horatio Alger.

Benjamin Franklin did so many wonderful things in his life that it’s difficult to list them all. Had he been younger, he may have been our first president as well as the respected scientist, statesman, author, printer, wit, philosopher, and humanitarian he was.

A painting of his likeness hangs on my wall, placed there because Franklin is such an inspiration.

Now, gentle reader, allow me to join Buffalo Bob Smith in encouraging each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing.

Fare thee well!