Local played football with Duck Dynasty star

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 15, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I looked for the blooms at Covington Hall, blooms I had enjoyed this week during a stroll with Miss Flora. Everywhere we looked there was beauty – the saucer (Japanese) magnolia, redbud (or Judas tree), henbit, flowering red quince, stately Bradford pears, wild plums, daffodils, camellias, snowdrops, pansies, snapdragons, dianthus,  winter jasmine, violas, tiny bluets in the lawn, peach, pears, and South Carolina yellow jasmine, which cascades this time of year over the iron-wrought fence at Keahey’s Funeral Parlor on Stanley. The S.C. yellow jasmine grows wild in our county and over much of the South. It’s the state flower of South Carolina.

Spring is on its way, as evidenced by all the blooms, and should arrive next week on March 20.

The Covingtons had their own Arbor Day this week, a little ceremony in which they planted a tree. I was among a few friends invited, along with Miss Priscilla Primme, Topper Propper, Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville, and Miss Birdie Purdy. Colonel Covington spoke briefly of the history of Arbor Day. Miss Flora read a poem about trees. Miss Dora sang “Trees,” based on Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem. Miss Cora had baked cupcakes in the shape of trees and had iced them green. Everyone present took a turn to shovel dirt around the roots. Clay Clyde Clump had dug the hole. The tree was dedicated to a dear friend who had passed away.

The Covingtons are planning a kite-flying contest on their front lawn this month. This contest was started in honor of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, who would have been 300 January 17, 2006.

Busts of Franklin are to be given to the one with the best home-made kite, the one whose kite stays aloft the longest, and the one whose kite flies highest.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up March l7, Monday next. Don’t forget to wear green or you may be pinched.

March came in its first day here like a lamb, but a week of rough weather followed. I don’t know if we should say it came in like a lamb or lion. I’ll go with lamb. That means, if I’m correct, that the last of March should be the opposite, rough as a lion. We’ll see.

A group of retired teachers in Covington County was in Florala for a meeting the other day. Afterwards some stayed to eat at the Country Folks Buffet along the main street. They found out, to their disappointment, that the restaurant had closed.

Still hungry, the educators found Bryce’s Family Restaurant, named for the grandson of the owner, Glenda LaNasse, who served up a very satisfactory meal to Sharon Dye, Rosalyn Wright, Evan “Tank” and Ophelia Merrill, Sylvia Taylor, and Joann Geohagan, who taught 48 years and is the mother of Jon Sellers and grandmother of Jeff Sellers.

The Portly Gentleman told me that he ate a hamburger in Yo’ Craving on the Golden Square this week and learned that the owner, Donny Harris, played football at Ouachita (wash-a-taw) Christian School in Monroe, Louisiana, for Phil Robertson, his coach, now a star on the TV show, Duck Dynasty. Donny said that Phil was perfecting his now-famous duck call and used to ask the football boys to listen to the call and approve or disapprove its sound.

Seen at the Dairy Queen, Andalusia’s oldest eatery, the other day were Cindy (Caton) Studstill and her children, Bo and Cozy, and their friend, Hudson Kelley. The D.Q. is special to me because, when I moved to the “Dimple of Dixie,” that was the first place I ate.

Last Saturday a group of “the girls” drove to Ft. Walton Beach to finish shopping for the wedding – today – of Cody Helms and Allison Bass.

The ladies ate at Floyd’s Shrimp House and talked – oh, just a little!

On the road trip were Cindy Hobbie, Mellisa King, Carrie Cottle, Allison Bass, and Allison’s future mother-in-law, Mollie Riley.

Congratulations to A.H.S. graduate, Stephen Caton, son of Todd and Jackie Caton, for being chosen editor of the Auburn yearbook for next year. Young Caton is an exemplary student.

An unusual dinner party was hosted by Tommy “Honey” and Michele Gerlach the evening of March 8 in their attractive home along Prestwood Bridge Road.

Growing from an idea for an “Elba Reunion” by Michele and her fellow Elbarite, Karen Clay Pass, the dinner drew those from Elba now living in the Andalusia area to an evening of gourmet food, fond memories, and heart-felt fellowship. The food was prepared by Tommy and Michelle, who once ran their own restaurant.

Attending were Karen’s brother, Jimmy Clay, Buddy and Betty Brunson, Bud and Murline Manring, Kim and Eleanor Dyess, Bob and Melanie Roberson, Andy and Gypsy Smith, Billy Bimbo, and Scott Brown. Spouses and a few friends, like Joe Wingard, were included. Other Elbarites, like Jimmy and Jeanice Kirkland, were unable to attend.

Tables of black-and-white appointments – black, cloth napkins and gingham placemats – were centered with bright, spring flowers.

The menu included grilled chicken Alfredo over fettuccine, a rich spaghetti sauce over pasta, Caesar salad, grilled asparagus, cherry tomatoes, squash, and zucchini, and decadent bread pudding with rum sauce.

Appetizers were blocks of cream cheese topped with fig and pear chutney.

The Covington Rifles Camp No. 1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans met March 6 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Commander Curtis Hampton Thomasson called the meeting to order.

Chaplain “Hank” Roberts worded both invocation and benediction.

Jimmy Cobb led in the pledges to the national, state, and Confederate flags.

Randy “R” Kelley led in “Dixie.” All stood.

Jimmy Mott offered Confederate flags for sale as a fundraiser.

Hal Sims, a visitor, was welcomed.

Commander Thomasson presented a detailed program on his family’s connections to the War Between the States, especially the chapter (2471) of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, named for his ancestor, Thomas Randolph Thomasson. Eight sons of T.R.Thomasson fought in the War; three died. Commander Thomasson is descended from one of the eight brothers, known as “Syl,” a survivor of the war.

The Commander was assisted by Tammie Evans, a leader in the local UDC, who showed slides to accompany Thomasson’s history.

The April meeting, the first Thursday in the month, will be a time to “show and tell” about something connected to the War.

Refreshments were provided by Derick Davis, adjutant, who set up decorations for the meeting.

Others attending were Kelly Veasey, William Blocker, Morris Mullen, John Allen Gantt, Larry Shaw, Vaughn Bowers, Tony Wells, and Joe Wingard.

Representatives of teachers and support personnel belonging to the Alabama Education Association met March l0 at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen for their monthly meeting. These AEA members represent three counties, Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia, known as District 24 of the AEA.

Jimmy Ponds, president of District 24 and also of the AEA members in Covington County, librarian at Straughn Elementary School, presided.

Also present was Jan Locke, director (employed by AEA) for District 24. Mrs. Locke is new this year, having replaced Miss Vivian Jones of Brewton, who resigned after some 17 years as director for District 24.

A business meeting was followed by supper, provided by employees of Reid State.

The next meeting was set for April l4 with supper provided by Conecuh County.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association met March 5 in the library of the Florala High School on a cold and grey morning.

Principal Brent Zessin, in his 30th year in education, welcomed the retirees.

Refreshments, provided by the FHS faculty, were offered on a buffet – pretzels, mixed nuts, fruit, cheese ball and crackers, dip, coffee, and soda.

The hostess was the librarian, Missy Zessin, wife of the principal.

She was assisted by Kaylee McDaniel and Grace McNeil, students.

CCERA President Sharon Dye, once the superintendent of education in Covington County, presided.

A program by students of FHS followed.

Morgan Stokes and Katherine White spoke of their photography. Both had won contests to have their pictures used in the state-parks calendar.

A display of FHS photographs was available.

Nick Bedsole told of the fisheries maintained by FHS.

Caleb Zessin, son of the principal and librarian, played his guitar and sang “How He Loves,” a religious song. Caleb plans to enter religious work.

Angel Maxley sang “Hallelujah” a cappella.

Geraldine Boothe, a teacher legend in the county, presented a devotional, prayer, and the pledge.

Glenda Presley read the minutes.

Kim Dyess gave the treasurer’s report. He had driven all the way from Millbrook this morning to make his report. That’s dedication.

President Dye installed officers for next year — Peggy Mobley, president (unable to be present); Terry Holley, vice-president (former county superintendent); Elaine Chavers, secretary (unable to be present); and Kim Dyess, treasurer.

Members, reporting service hours, were Geraldine Boothe, Betty Bryan, Sylvia Taylor, Joann Geohagan, Elaine Johnson, Dean Morris, Glenda Presley, Terry Holley, Christine M. Wilson, Evan Merrill, Ophelia Merrill, Larry Presley, Jerri Stroud (who set a record for service hours), Sharon Dye, Jenny Pitts, Jean Jones, Johnnie Meeks, Kim Dyess, and Joe Wingard.

Representatives of the local district of AEA (Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties), known as District 24, assembled the evening of March 7 in Oakwood Lodge, Andalusia, for their annual district banquet. Several said that this district is the only AEA district in Alabama that still sponsors an annual banquet.

The program began with an invocation by Joe Wingard, representing retired teachers.

Jan Locke, the district director, emphasized the special occasion.

Dr. Herbert Riedel, president of the Lurleen Burns Wallace Community College of Andalusia and Opp, welcomed guests to this area.

Teresa Hultz, vice-president of District 24, welcomed special guests.

District President Jimmy Ponds introduced the keynote speaker.

Anita Gibson, president of the AEA, spoke on the state of education in Alabama.

President Ponds and Jan Locke supervised the distribution of door prizes.

President Ponds dismissed the banquet with closing remarks.

District officers for 20l3 and 20l4 are Jimmy Ponds, president; Teresa Hultz, vice-president; Charlotte Ewing, secretary; and Dianne McKenzie, treasurer.

Round tables, each covered with two white cloths, were appointed with white, cloth napkins and centerpieces of red-white-and-blue carnations and ribbons, interspersed among fern and baby’s breath, arranged by Alan Cotton.

The buffet offered filet mignon, baked potatoes, green beans, Sister Schubert yeast rolls, garden salads, and peach cobbler topped with ice cream, catered by Marilyn Williams.

Gentle reader, please mark your calendars for April 4 at 7:30 p.m. for a piano/violin concert in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, an event sponsored by the Andalusia Chamber Music Society. Tickets are $l5 each and can be purchased at Harold’s and Brooks’ Hardware. Violin sonatas by Brahms are planned.

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

Again, I ask the citizens of Andalusia to 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, Alabama 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.

A Federal fleet and other federal forces headed toward Alexandria, Louisiana, by means of the Mississippi and Red rivers with Northern generals, A. J. Smith, Banks, Sherman, and Steele, combining their forces.

This expedition was known as “the Red River Campaign.”

Opposing the federals was Southern Gen. Kirby Smith.

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?

The birthday this week is that of Catherine “Kate” Greenaway, an English painter and illustrator, especially known for her drawings for children’s books.

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.