White blooms a sign of wedding season

Published 12:07 am Saturday, June 14, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I thought of June weddings when I saw the white blooms beyond my window, those of the magnolias, cape jasmine (gardenias), crape myrtle, daisy fleabane, elderberry, and Confederate jasmine.

Karen Pass, who is retiring from the Andalusia City Schools this year, shared that instead of receiving personal retirement gifts themselves from the Andalusia Association of Educators, some eleven retiring staff and faculty members at both Andalusia Elementary and Andalusia Middle schools asked that the gift money, which would have been spent on them, be used instead to buy four benches for the “Town Square” in AES. A plaque at AES with the eleven names accompanies the benches.

The AAE is the organization for educators who belong to the Alabama Education Association.

Mrs. Pass has been the faithful and dedicated treasurer of the AAE for about 15 years and has held that organization together.

Mrs. Pass was honored by members of her Sunday-School class at First Baptist Church with supper at David’s Restaurant June 3. Among those attending were Holly Krudop, Nancy Darnell, Brenda Mooney and Mary Avery.

Seen at David’s were George and Brenda Gantt.

Seen at the Corner Market for the Sunday buffet were Wayne and Lenora Johnson, Beverly Gilder, Kyle and Carol Thomasson, and Roy Wilson.

Twenty of the Fifty Forward group of First Baptist traveled to Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant in Troy June 5.

Good food, fellowship, and fun were enjoyed on this first-time-ever visit to the restaurant, which was originally a one-room schoolhouse. Other rooms have been added to the old schoolhouse over the years for the sake of the restaurant.

Those motoring over from “the Dimple of Dixie” were June Smith, Gillis and Laura Ann Jones, Kim Dyess (the bus driver), Eleanor Dyess, Trudy Vickers, Kittye Wyatt, Vivian Hickey, Bea Miller, Buddy and Betty Brunson, Martha Cordell, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Betty Bass, Nancy Robbins, Bill Law, and Gordon Vickers, director of senior adults at First Baptist.

The Covington Rifles Camp 1586 (local unit) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans met June 5 in the Dixon Memorial of the public library.

Commander Curtis Hampton Thomasson presided.

“Hank” Roberts, chaplain, worded both invocation and benediction.

Jimmy Cobb led pledges to the flags.

Randy “R” Kelley directed all, standing, in “Dixie.”

Following business, officers for next August – July were installed, as follows: John Allen Gantt, commander; Randy Kelley, 1st Lt. commander; Larry Shaw, 2nd Lt. commander; Derek Davis, adjutant; Hank Roberts, chaplain; Morris Mullen, color sergeant; Kenneth Reeves, quartermaster; Sir Francis McGowin, historian; Fletcher Jones, judge advocate; Jimmy Cobb, surgeon; poet-publicist, Joe Wingard; and Gantt, Thomasson, McGowin, and Kelly Veasey, executive committee.

Vaughn Bowers represented the nominating committee.

Refreshments were provided by Davis, Wingard, and McGowin, whose wife, Ann, baked a cake for the meeting.

Sunday morning, June 8, at First Baptist worship service a group of youth, who had attended Vacation Bible School the week before, sang on the steps of the podium.

In the anthem presented by the Adult Choir Jennifer (Smith) Dansby beautifully sang a solo section, accompanied by Sonia Crigger at the grand piano.

At the end of the morning worship service four brothers came forward together to accept Christ as their Savior publicly. They were Sam, Conner, Will, and Gray Dalton.

Graduation exercises at the Andalusia High School, Friday night, May 23, in the high-school auditorium began with Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary,” played by John A. Beasley, pianist, and Joshua Sheffer, ’08, trumpeter. Sheffer is currently the band director at Florala High School. Beasley is an AHS retired math teacher who has played 35 years for commencement and came out of retirement to help yet once more.

For the vespers Angelia (Baker) Sasser, AHS ’72, AHS instructor, and a senior-class sponsor, sang “Gaudeamus Igitur,” with English words written by former grand marshal and her one-time teacher, Joseph Cecil Wingard, for this traditional school song.

The generous-hearted Beasley accompanied Mrs. Sasser and all the vocal pieces that followed.

The seniors in their red gowns and mortarboards marched in to Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” in two lines, to assemble on the stage. AHS graduates have marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” since 1946.

Class president, Altheia Mechelle Jackson, led the pledge to the flag, followed by the national anthem, admirably led by Mrs. Sasser, as all, standing, sang out enthusiastically.

President Jackson addressed the audience briefly, presenting the senior gift, two crabapple trees, given in memory of two classmates, Logan Johnson and Tyler Pugh.

Salutatorian David Michael McCalman III delighted the audience with his humor in his salutatory, “Every Story Has an End.”

Mrs. Sasser returned to the lectern to sing the traditional “Halls of Ivy.” This was her sixteenth time to sing this selection. She gets better and better.

Valedictorian Maia-Alicia Kyrstyn Meredith inspired those present with her valedictory, “The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of,” a quotation from Shakespeare.

Ted Watson, now in his fourth term as superintendent of the city schools, spoke.

At this point a special diploma was presented to Charles Wayne Johnson, who would have been in the Class of 1950, but left in the eighth grade for military service. Born in Kinston, Johnson earned his GED while in service. To return to his alma mater was a long-time hope of his heart.

Members of his family were with him to celebrate. Johnson was given not one, but two standing ovations! I don’t know if I have ever seen that before.

At the end of the ceremony Johnson was greeted by Barbara McCommons, a retired teacher and a pillar of the First Presbyterian Church here, who was in the AHS Class of 1950.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal in his 12th year, presented the 110th class their 119 diplomas, assisted by Bennie Shellhouse, assistant principal. In a brief speech Dr. Shakespeare, like a stentorian orator, addressed the audience.

Mrs. Sasser led all in the alma mater, first sung at Senior Class Night, May 25, 1928, in what is now city hall but once was the second, brick Andalusia High School.

The seniors exited as Beasley played the “Grand March” from Verdi’s Aida, the 45th consecutive year this piece has been used.

Ushers for graduation were Quatasia Wheeler, Haley Booker, Charlie Brock, Ali Brown, Travis Price, Aalea Brundidge, Precious Crittenden, Darious Davis, Halle Burkhardt, and Ali Yant.

Ten seniors were listed on the programme as fourth-generation graduates. Sixteen were listed as third-generation. This continuity of families and teachers is one reason for the success of AHS.

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 last week 150 years ago.

Southern General Beauregard repulsed the Federals at Petersburg near Richmond, Virginia.

The Confederate Congress authorized military service for ages 17 – 50.

At Brice’s Crossroads, Mississippi, Southern Gen. N. B. Forrest defeated the Northern force of Gen. S. D. Sturgis.

General Grant’s troops crossed the James River to approach Petersburg.

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

The mysterian is Mrs. Hill Guy. She built and owned the Red Robin Golf Course along East Three-Notch, which was managed by her manservant. This information comes from our local historian, Sidney Waits, whom we thank for many facts preserved.

The new mysterian is a riddle. I am half, yet I am whole.

Birthdays are those of Robert Schumann, German composer; John Howard Payne, American dramatist of the opera that features “Home, Sweet Home”; Charles Kingsley, English preacher and novelist; and William Butler Yeats, Irish poet.

Payne’s famous “Home, Sweet Home” has appeared as a wall decoration in millions of homes. Another quote from the same opera, “There’s no place like home,” ends The Wizard of Oz.

Kingsley’s novel, Water-Babies, contains a memorable poem, “Old and Young.” Check it out on the computer.

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.