Oh, happy day! It’s birthdays and get-togethers galore

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw the first promise of spring – a few blooms on the Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate, planted near my gateway. Cousin Jo in South Carolina calls it the Breath of Spring.

The late Win Murphy introduced me to that little flower. How I miss Win and her delightful personality, so full of life and fun, appreciation and enjoyment!

There used to be a Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate at the Andalusia High School, minding its own business until the Old Gym was replaced by the new addition of classrooms, gym, and library. The poor old plant wasn’t in anyone’s way. Zip! There she goes!

Colonel Covington says that’s the way we lose our heritage. It falls into the hands of those who do not know its worth and do not care. Alas.

Earlier this week, while having lunch at the Corner Market, James Bristow, retired car salesman, told me that when he was in Japan on business, he was located on the second floor of a building and General Douglas MacArthur was located on the sixth floor. One day James happened to end up on an elevator in that building with none other than the general, who spoke politely to young James, who responded with his own respectful greeting. That’s a memory for the ages.

Seen at Simone’s for Sunday brunch were John and Connie Beasley, Dwight and Sonia Crigger, their son Carl, a student at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Laura Darby and her mother, Helen Griffin, Allen and Dorothy Cook, the Bill Kings, E. E. Anthony, his daughter, Elizabeth Starr, her daughter, Katherine Starr, and the vivacious Ann Proctor.

Simone’s is housed in a charming, storybook-style of building, built as a residence by David Tadlock long years ago. The interior is charming. The tables are appointed with cloths, cloth napkins, and bread plates.

Simone’s is the kind of place one goes to as a special treat when he’s on vacation.

Larry Shaw, president of the distinguished Baraca Class of the First Baptist Church, sang a solo, “The Master Hath Come,” in the opening assembly of the men’s Sunday-School class.

Seen recently at David’s Catfish House for lunch were Rose Marie and R. K. Price and Audrey and Glen Swicegood.

Audrey is R. K.’s sister.

The Swicegoods are retired Baptist missionaries, living in Dothan after serving in Brazil for more than 30 years.

There are birthdays and there are birthdays!

Irene (Davis) Butler certainly had a memorable one.

It started with breakfast with her grandson, Ashley Butler, on the big day, Tue., Jan. 14.

Cathy Enzor, a good friend, treated Irene to lunch at Tabby D’s at 1 p.m. so that the two could officially celebrate Irene’s turning 88 at exactly 2 p.m. The restaurant waitresses, the Tabbyettes, joined in with “Happy Birthday.”

That night at 6:30 Irene’s older son, Rhett Butler, hosted a party for his mother at David’s Catfish House. Some 13, including Irene’s younger son, Dr. Rex Butler, celebrated with dinner and cake and “Happy Birthday,” sung by the waitresses.

(Perhaps the waitresses at David’s and those at Tabby D’s and perhaps others at other restaurants ought to have a sing-off to see who’s more enthusiastic.)

One special gift during the day was a pot of collards, prepared by Irene’s friend, Anna Lois Nall.

The next day another friend, Shirley Stokes, took Irene breakfast at 6:30 a.m.

At 11:30 Wednesday, Doyce Cox and Voncile Newman honored Irene with lunch at David’s.

In all, Irene received 71 birthday wishes on Facebook. (I don’t know what Facebook is, but it sounds like an electric postbox.)

Some 39 telephone calls congratulated the Birthday Girl, and some 15 cards arrived.

That wasn’t all.

Irene was declared the WAAO winner of six cupcakes from the Corner Market and the balloon bouquet from Alan Cotton’s, a local floral shop on South Cotton Street. (It’s interesting that Alan Cotton works on Cotton Street.)

June Smith, a retired teacher here, has purchased an assortment of primroses, those violet-like, brightly colored, little wildflowers that love cold weather. About the only way we can enjoy primroses around here is to find them in the floral section of a few grocery stores. They do not grow here because of our hot weather most of the year.

The Covington County Federal Credit Union assembled for their annual business meeting, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m., in the Covington County Board of Education building.

Clayton Norris, president of the board that governs the credit union, presided.

Wayne Bennett worded the invocation.

The business included the president’s financial report, membership, scholarship funds, loans, supervisory report, and nominating report.

Names of members were drawn for door prizes, which were deposits into accounts. One person won $100. Fifteen won $50 each.

A buffet supper was enjoyed afterwards, prepared by Angie Cotton.

Teachers in the Alabama Education Association are notified that the annual district banquet (that’s for AEA members in Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties) is planned for March 7 at Oakwood Lodge in Andalusia. Tickets to the banquet can be purchased from AEA officers. In Andalusia that’s Perry Dillard at AHS. In the county that’s Jimmy Ponds, librarian at Straughn Elementary.

The guest speaker at First Baptist Sunday last was Jeff Thompson, an attorney from Macon, Ga., who told of his near-death experience, following an operation.

In a moment of humor Thompson, who is a Presbyterian, spoke of himself as one of the “Frozen Chosen.”

If you haven’t yet, you may want to purchase Threads: Essays about the Way We Worked in Covington County, published in connection with the Smithsonian exhibit here in our new Chamber of Commerce.

The paperback book, rich with 126 biographies and many historical pictures, was published by our town and edited under the supervision of Linda (Adair) Kyle. It sells for $10.

The exhibit, here through Feb. 8, is available for guidance by docents, coordinated by Jerri Stroud.

Docents on duty to assist visitors are Pat Palmore, Emma Locke, Mary Jane Winkler, Roger Powell, Marcia Reichert, Dr. Barbara Linder, Mary and Larry Avery, Elaine Chavers, Tommy Gerlach, Betty Bass, Louise Anderson, Pat Stewart, Amy Till, Nancy Robbins, Gloria Short, Terry Holley, Linda and Jerry Andrews, Jackie and Joe McDanal, Carla Mooney, Ken Johnson, Norma Riley Goolsby, Sharon Dye, Jean Jones, Doris Tyler, Kathy Enzor, Wayne Bennett, Martha Duggan, Melissa Gambill, Jenny Pitts, Jewel Curry, Hazel Griffin and Barbara Nichols.

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.

Federal bombardment on Confederate Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, continued, continuous since August.

Confident of victory, Lincoln announced plans for amnesty, Reconstruction, and freed slaves.

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 Robert Edward Lee, Confederate general of the Army of Northern Virginia; Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia poet and short-story writer; “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate general, accidentally killed by his own men; George Gordon, Lord Byron, English poet; Francis Bacon, English essayist; John Hancock, American revolutionary who signed the “Declaration of Independence” in so large a hand that the king of England did not need glasses to read it; and Robert Burns, the Scottish poet of “Auld Lang Syne,” the song we sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

January 20 was St. Agnes’s Eve, a night girls may dream of their future husbands if they do certain things before going to sleep.

Poe’s best-known poems are “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.”

Today one’s “John Hancock” is his signature.

Lee and Jackson are both buried in Lexington, Va., where Lee served as president of Washington College (later, Washington and Lee University).

Are you aware, gentle reader, that there is a parody of a famous quotation by Byron in the movie, Mary Poppins?

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!