Alas, clothes, plants come and go in style

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw the ligustrum in bloom. I call it a high-class hedge. It reminded me of the hedge popular in my great-grandparents’ day, the privet, now gone out of style. Yes, plants, like clothes, come and go in style.

In its day the privet was not only good for hedges. It provided effective switches, too.

Last week the Portly Gentleman told us of the Alabama Writers’ Symposium over in Monroeville. Let’s hear him report on his last day there.

“That last morning Dwight Henderson, who drove the Alabama Southern Community College van, picked up us attendees at our motels and drove us to the county courthouse where we enjoyed four sessions conducted by published authors.

“Dwight, an outgoing, friendly soul, spoke unashamedly of his faith and cheered our spirits. He was a one-man revival and a blessing.

“The courthouse was landscaped with blooming plants. A set of statues, new to me, featured three characters from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem, Scout, and Dill, and celebrated reading.

“We sat upstairs in the courtroom made famous by the movie version of Harper Lee’s novel.

“The first speaker was May Lamar, a newspaper reporter and author of a novel about Sidney Lanier, the Georgia poet. Her moderator was Jennifer Horne, who teaches in the University of Alabama Honors College.

“The second author was Roy Hoffman of Fairhope, a journalist and speechwriter, introduced by Dr. Kathaleen Amende.

“The third speaker was Robert “Bob” Ingram, who gave the news for three years each night on WSFA and served as press secretary to Governor Albert Brewer. Ingram said of his time at WSFA that he could boast of putting thousands of people to sleep each night.

“Ingram, author of five novels and six screenplays, left Alabama for twenty years in North Carolina. His 2013 novel, The Governor’s Lady, is based on the lives of George and Lurleen Burns Wallace, which should concern us Dimpletonians because of our local college.

“He was presented by Anita Miller Garner, a teacher of English at the University of Northern Alabama.

“The last author to speak in the morning sessions was Mark Childress, born in Monroeville but reared elsewhere. Childress has written seven novels, including the popular Crazy in Alabama, based in Greenville and made into a motion picture.

“He is at work on a novel called Meteor Boy.

“Childress’s entertaining talk was filled with humor, anecdote, and friendly jabs at the celebrated Harper Lee.

“Childress was introduced by Don Noble, professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama and host of the Sunday morning review of books, Bookmark, on Alabama Public Television.

“The crowd adjourned to the Community House, a recreational center next to the country club in Monroeville, for a breakfast brunch, which concluded the literary weekend.

“Tables were elegantly appointed. The buffet included a breakfast casserole, scrambled eggs, cheese grits with shrimp toppings, chunks of fruit, bacon, link sausage, patty sausage, biscuits, pastries, orange juice, and coffee.

“I sat at table with writers, Richard Modlin, Gerald Dowling, and Stacie Salvo, who has completed her first novel, Believe.

“The main speaker was Sena Jeter Naslund, the noted novelist, who spoke on the weekend’s theme, ‘Saints and Sinners.’ She pinpointed her favorite heroes and villains from her reading, naming some in Dickens, like David Copperfield and Uriah Heep.

“I liked Sena immediately. Later at the autograph table where I bought a copy of her latest novel, The Fountain at St. James Court, I quoted the last words of Dickens’s novel, David Copperfield, to which Sena had referred in her speech. She responded with a quotation from Longfellow, my favorite poet. That did it! We had ‘bonded.’

“That night for supper Richard Modlin, the novelist, and I ate at the original David’s in Monroeville; and that concluded my literary weekend, known as the Alabama Writers’ Symposium.”

Last Monday, May l2, educators in the Alabama Education Association, representing District 24, Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties, met for the final time this academic year at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen.

President Jimmy Ponds, librarian at Straughn Elementary School, presided for his last time. He is retiring this spring. Ponds’s two-year term will be completed by the vice-president, Teresa Hultz of Flomaton. Hultz will be assisted by Marcie Adams of Atmore, elected the new vice-president.

With his retirement Ponds also completes a two-year term as president of the AEA members in the county schools of Covington.

District 24 presented Ponds with a card and gift certificate.

Mother’s Day at First Baptist, East Three-Notch Street, was celebrated with a sermon on mothers by the pastor, Dr. Fred Karthaus, and the presentation of red carnations to all mothers present in morning worship.

The Adult Choir sang an anthem, “The Gift of Our Mothers,” arranged by Dwight Crigger, minister of music, with music by S. Daniel Shehan and lyrics by Joseph Cecil Wingard, and played by Sonia Crigger, wife of the minister of music and church pianist.

The same piece was sung as a solo by Jennifer (Smith) Dansby earlier that morning in the Sunday-School assembly of the distinguished Baraca Class. Guests present to hear Mrs. Dansby were her mother, June Smith; husband, Neal Dansby; and daughter, Judith Anne. Martha Givhan accompanied Mrs. Dansby at the Ann Martin Memorial piano.

In morning worship for the offertory music Mrs. Givhan played “Beautiful Savior,” accompanied by her daughter, Endsley Bolen with the flute. That was a precious sight on Mother’s Day, mother and daughter in church, playing for God’s glory.

Most precious, though, were three baptisms by Dr. Karthaus on Mother’s Day – Jody and Sandra Lasiter, husband and wife, and the young son of Dodd and Jan Riley, Josh. What better present to a mother on Mother’s Day?

Thanks to those who wore red or white roses to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day.

Our Jane Grice and her granddaughter Madi enjoyed a special Easter with friends, Billy and Margie (Cobb) McLendon on the McLendon farm in Snowdoun, south of Montgomery. Besides the good food there were fishing and riding horses. Especially tasty was the strawberry cake. Guests included the McLendons’ grown children, Stacey and Mike, and Margie’s dad and stepmother, Robert and June Cobb.

Seen for the seafood buffet at Tabby D’s Friday night were Jeff and Tammy Puckett, Sonny and Sue Ann Helms, Wayne and Judy Knox, Joe and Jackie McDanal, Ken and Helen Johnson, Judge Jerry Stokes, Alfagus and Linda Smith, Dan and Rita McMullen, Maegan McMullen, and Lexy Aldrich.

Jimmy and Sue (Bass) Wilson entertained family and friends at a buffet lunch Mother’s Day in their Victorian home, Avalon.

Dining were their daughter, Wynne Glenn; son-in-law, Shannon Glenn; the three Glenn sons, Hampton, Steadman, and Tucker; Natasha Mallory, and Joe Wingard.

Mrs. Wilson, assisted by her daughter, had prepared a cornucopia of good, country eating – fried chicken, chicken and dressing, English-pea/asparagus casserole, squash casserole, deviled eggs, orange fluff, sweet-potato soufflé, potato salad, pear salad, cranberry sauce, Sister Schubert rolls, strawberry pie, lemon pie, and tea.

Seven children from First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch, participated in the Associational Bible Drill, held April l3 at the Covington Baptist Association offices. The participants all performed well and advanced to the next level, held April 24 at Mt. Gilead Baptist in Dothan. All seven children were declared state winners with only four mistakes or fewer. Four children had perfect scores.

The state winners were Drew Seymore, Everett Thompson, Ada Short, Rosemary Bass, Abigail Lee, Ashli Parker, and Hannah Grace Blackstock.

The sponsor was Joan (Hill) Mitchell, assisted by her husband, James Mitchell, and Allison Farrington.

Seen at the Corner Market were Norma Gavras and Raymond Worley.

Congratulations to Roger Powell, retired circuit clerk, for his exhibit in April of his watercolors, shown in the gallery of the Lower Alabama Arts Coalition along East Three-Notch.

Seen browsing at the exhibit were Tammy Reeves of Opp and Lucy Brady of Andalusia. Young Ellis Mount was also present for his guitar lesson from Mr. Rhea, husband of the gallery manager, Sheila Rhea.

I was glad to see that Powell has included in his paintings of Church Street School the Council Oak, planted in 1930 by the first Student Council of the Andalusia High School, as told by its first president, Ed Everage.

The double piano recitals by the students of Martha Givhan were attended May 4 in the chapel of First Baptist Church.

The first recital featured Madeline Pugh, Mason Barnes, Michaelyn Russell, Abigail Lee, Madison Geohagan, Caleb Geohagan, Alan Butler, Carley Tillman, Katherine Finley, Caleb Evers, Rexanne Butler, Adeline Fischer, Collin Ward, Caroline Andrews, and Ali Brown.

The second recital featured Ali Brown, Abigayle Mancil, Madeline Miller, Mary Faith Mitchell, Brooklyn Simpson, Ian Martin, Lauren Guilford, Baylee Robertson, Addison Mount, Ivy Rogers (who also played a duet with Mrs. Givhan), Katie Black, Ellis Mount, Jonathan Bryant, Riley Grace Lowery, and C. J. Philpott.

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. (This week’s entry includes facts from the last two weeks.)

Reconstruction bills to punish the South after the War were debated in the Federal Congress. A Congressman named Thaddeus Stevens especially pushed for severe punishment.

Northern troops under Grant clashed with Lee’s forces in the Wilderness, that area of northern Virginia with dense forests and undergrowth. Fires broke out during the night and burned some wounded, entangled soldiers to death.

Northern General Butler approached the Confederate cities of Petersburg and Richmond from the south but was repulsed.

The Northern General Sherman advanced toward Southern General J. E. Johnston and his Army of Tennessee with the idea of breaking up Johnston’s army in Georgia and then forging on to Atlanta.

At Spotsylvania Lee entrenched against the Northern attack.

One day Southern General Jeb Stuart, the noted cavalry leader, was wounded. The next day he died in Richmond. Many on both sides died at a spot called “the Bloody Angle” of Spotsylvania.

Southern General Beauregard successfully attacked Northern General Butler’s lines, forcing Butler to retreat.

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

The mysterian, Mayor Chalmers Bryant, known for wearing bowties and for his restaurants, was identified first by Roger Miller; then, by Nick Johnson, Frances Ptomey, and Judy Knox. Congratulations, Mr. Miller.

Nick Johnson shared that Hugh King, featured last week, was not the only grocer who wore a bowtie. Before him there was a Mr. Perrett on the square. Thanks, Nick!

The new mysterian was an editor who wore a bowtie.

Louisa Baker, would you please call me?

“Happy Birthday, May 13, to Ruck Ashworth!” It’s difficult to believe that I taught him in public school, yet I am ten years younger than he. Seriously, he had the nicest handwriting. It was so good that I asked him to inscribe the Bible given by his AHS Class of 1973 as their senior gift to the school, the copy that has been used every year since at baccalaureate.

If anyone has a write-up about a senior party, feel free to let me “run” it in my column.

The special birthdays cover the last two weeks. (A little error got me behind a week.)

The birthdays are those of Robert Browning, an English poet known for his Italian themes and for being the husband of Elizabeth Barrett, another English poet; Johannes Brahms, a German composer; Peter Tchaikovsky, a Russian composer; James Matthew Barrie, the Scottish novelist and playwright of sentimental themes, including Peter Pan; Edward Lear, Englishman known for his limericks; and Arthur Sullivan, English composer of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” “The Lost Chord,” and l4 operettas written with W. S. Gilbert, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.

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.