Spring is here, flowers a plenty are blooming

Published 12:06 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I smiled upon seeing the many blooms of the dewberries, running wild along the roadsides, along with red, yellow and white clovers, just waiting to be turned into berries for dewberry nectar and dewberry cobblers.

I was among a dozen or so guests Tuesday at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club at Tabby D’s.

Arriving early, I noticed plaques in the hallway, indicating other civic clubs that meet weekly for lunch at Tabby D’s – the Kiwanis on Monday, Lions on Wednesday, Pilot on alternating Thursdays, and Civitan on Friday.

Andalusia does not lack the civic spirit.

Men and women of “the Dimple of Dixie” give a total of thousands upon thousands of volunteer hours weekly for good causes. (Another nickname for our capital of Covington County could be “Activityville.”)

Arriving Rotarians served themselves from the restaurant buffet before the Rotary bell was struck to call members and guests to order.

Wilbur Williams, president, presided.

Joe Proctor led in a couple of songs, such as “I Love to Go A-wandering,” accompanied at the piano by Louisa Baker.

The pledge followed.

After reciting the club creed, members bowed as Richard Jones prayed.

Guests were recognized, including Judge “Trippy” McGuire, Phillip Jones, Suzi Mersmann, Angie Cotton, Paula Sue Duebelt, Caroline Picking, Riley Hill Taylor, Thomas Reid Taylor, Elizabeth (Anthony) Starr, Dr. Herbert Riedel (president of Lurleen Burns Wallace Community College), Blake Bell of the Star-News, Shannon Pugh, Glenn Leuenberger and Scott Noody.

Ron Graham provided attractive, four-page programs, printed in color, detailing the order of program, future programs, history, officers and committees.

After 34 years in Rotary, A. G. Palmore sadly presented his resignation.

Alan Cotton, responsible for the week’s program, introduced Dr. Doug Phillips, a professor at the University of Alabama and host of the Emmy-winning, public-television show, Discovering Alabama.

This TV documentary features the natural history and natural wonders of Alabama.

Dr. Phillips is celebrating 30 years of creating and producing this series, aimed at educating Alabamians about the wild lands of their state and drawing out appreciation for their state’s natural diversity and beauty.

In addition to numerous activities, Dr. Phillips has penned two books, one about Discovering Alabama Wetlands and one about Discovering Alabama Forests.

“Dr. Doug” paused in his speech to recognize Judge McGuire and Phillip Jones, members of the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation, a sponsor of his TV program.

Dr. Phillips’s earnest desire to educate others to appreciate and preserve natural Alabama was apparent.

“Alabama’s in my heart!” he exclaimed.

He said that Alabama, with the possible exception of California, is the most geographically diverse state in the Nation, that it may have the best river system in the world, and that it is certainly one of the most naturally diverse areas in the world.

Dr. Phillips expressed his concern about the long-term fate of natural Alabama, whether the populace will care for the environment, whether the youth of today will “bond” to nature.

He said that the state is a “sitting duck” for changes that will destroy or damage natural Alabama. He doesn’t want another Atlanta in Alabama.

Dr. Phillips concluded with a sentimental “See you down the trail.”

He was assisted by Mike McCracken, who showed video to accompany Dr. Doug’s talk.

Seen at the Huddle House for supper were Randall and Lorene McCart and Donald and Doranda Dozier.

While having our cars serviced, Coy Bennet of Niceville, Fla., and I enjoyed an hour of conversation, rocking on the porch of S & D Garage. It was a sunny day, and the cool breeze felt better than air-conditioning.

It’s a small world, as seen below.

Joe Wingard was talking to Jane Grice at supper at Tabby D’s when Jane told him that her daughter, Candace, who’s planned to be married to Grant Cofer April 12, has been given a shower by Joe’s first cousin, Margie (Cobb) McLendon of Montgomery and her daughter, Stacie, who is best friends with Jane’s daughter, Candace, and with Candace’s daughter, Madisen Thornton.

(That’s a sentence of relativity, worthy of Aunt Pittypat of Atlanta!)

Seen for supper at Tabby D’s were Jimmy and Keron Donaldson, Brian and Mollie Riley, Cindy Hobbie, Dot Simpler and her daughter, Diane, Judge Jerry Stokes, Esker and Ann Thomasson, Charles Ward, Ken and Helen Johnson, and Sonny and Sue Ann Helms.

Seen at Larry’s on their way to the beach for a week were Ora Thompkins and her daughter, Sandra James of Northport.

Congratulations to Judge “Trippy” McGuire, who is retiring even though he’s too young to retire. He can’t be over 45!

Seen at Simone’s for dinner were Judy Stokes and Glen Kendrick, Dan McMullen and Ronnie Paul.

John and Connie Beasley were so impressed with the strawberry-lemonade cake on the cover of Southern Living for April that they asked Valerie Simone to bake them one. Valerie did and made a second cake to sell to her customers.

This coming Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, the Andalusia Chamber Music Society will present a piano-and-violin concert, featuring violin sonatas by Brahms. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Harold’s and Brooks.

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 the last week 150 years ago.

Federal forces massed at Alexandria, Louisiana, on the Red River, under Gen. Nathaniel Banks, commander of the Union’s Department of the Gulf. Banks found the Red River too low to move his troops, though; still, he ordered troops to Shreveport, Louisiana.

Expecting the Federals to attack, Confederates set fire to cottonfields along the riverbank and massed under Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor.

In Charleston, Illinois, Copperheads attacked Federal soldiers in an anti-war outbreak. Copperheads were Northern Democrats who opposed the war. Their badge was the head of Liberty, cut from a copper penny. They were also known as Peace Democrats.

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

The mysterian for the last months has been the bald-headed man who was struck over the head with a walking stick in our public square. He supposedly died from the infected wound. Judy (Ward) Buck has correctly identified him as Henry Opp, whose name has been given to our neighboring town and who was the first husband of Mrs. Hill Guy.

Congratulations, Judy!

The new mysterian was a military man and banker. He served as president of the Andalusia High School Class of 1919. Who was he?

The birthdays this week are those of A. E. Housman, an English poet, and Robert Frost, an American poet.

The poetry of Housman can be read in a few days. His poem I recall best is “When I Was One-and-Twenty,” read by Barbara Stanwyck aboard the Titanic in the black-and-white film of the same name.

Housman’s lines are easily memorized and quite memorable.

Frost read one of his poems at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. The wind was bad that day; and Frost’s paper flapped so that the old man could not read his copy, so he let it go and recited his words from memory. At least, that’s the way I remember it. I was watching the ceremony live on TV.

Facts can interfere with memories, you know.

Frost’s last lines from his “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” may have been the most quoted lines of poetry in the twentieth century. He wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, /But I have promises to keep /And miles to go before I sleep /And miles to go before I sleep.”

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.