Oh, my the lantanas are blooming vibrantly

Published 12:04 am Saturday, June 21, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw the lantana in bloom over at Covington Hall. Miss Flora Covington was out with a basket, gathering blooms.

The June day was quiet with the blue sky and great mountains of white clouds over all. The grass was fiercely green, and I thought of the June section of James Russell Lowell’s poem, The Vision of Sir Launfal, in which the poet wrote, “And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.”

James Whitcomb Riley, an Indiana poet, also wrote a June poem, “Knee-Deep in June,” meaning in the middle of June. Here we are, gentle reader, in the middle of June; today, in fact, is the first official day of summer, the longest day of the year.

I “hear tell” that daylilies are being shown “on line” by Judy Buck and Jerry Andrews. Some say Judy has the prettier ones; some say Jerry does.

The Butler siblings, children of Dr. and Mrs. Rex Butler, are to be congratulated. Rexanne has won a spot on the All-American Team in Dance, qualifying her to participate in the Thanksgiving parade in Disney World. Her older brother, Allen, has recently won honors in an open karate tournament at Straughn with three first places in fighting, weaponry, and musical karate. Allen also won third in open-hand karate.

Seen at David’s for supper June 13 were B. J. and Hazel McClain, Judson Blackstock and family, and Jimmy Ponds.

Irene (Davis) Butler had as guests for lunch June 16 Porter and Mary Harris, “Chuck” Patterson, Chris Byrd, and Joe Wingard.

The buffet cornucopia included steak, chicken tenders, ham, pineapple casserole, sweet-potato casserole, carrot salad, corn salad, flat bread, boiled eggs, colored butter beans, fresh English peas with potatoes, cabbage, mashed potatoes, Italian cream cake, tea, and coffee.

Fifty Forward, the organization for the senior adults at First Baptist on East Three-Notch, assembled for their monthly luncheon in Fellowship Hall June l7.

Seen, playing dominoes before lunch, were Buddy Brunson, Dr. Morgan Moore, Gillis Jones, and Herb Carlisle.

Tables were decorated with spring flowers, skirted by jelly beans, and polka-dot napkins, arranged by Trudy Vickers, assisted by Betty Bass and Kittye Wyatt.

Judson Blackstock, associate minister, worded the blessing. Dr. Fred Karthaus, minister, prayed the benediction.

Recognized for a June birthday were Bill Law, Dr. Fred Karthaus, and Gillis “Combman” Jones. Gillis was also recognized, along with his gracious wife Laura Ann, for the couple’s 61st wedding anniversary June 12. Dr. Karthaus turned 50 Friday, June 13, “Friday, the Thirteenth!”

The buffet, catered by Gary’s Restaurant in Wages Market, River Falls, included chicken pie, fried “okrie,” garden salad, bread, banana pudding, and tea. As an extra treat Robert Lee Holley contributed a pan of fried bread he had cooked for the group.

Eileen Mitchell of the Alabama Baptist Convention State Board of Missions, presented an inspiring, patriotic program about Flag Day and Memorial Day, singing a cappella some two dozen related songs with her beautiful voice.

Eileen, a member of Pinedale Baptist in Montgomery, was educated at Dallas Bible College and Southwestern Seminary.

Last Sunday at First Baptist, East Three-Notch, young Colby Lee, the son of Randall and Katie Lee, a piano pupil of Sonia Crigger, played two hymns, “Oh, How I Love Jesus” and “Wonderful Words of Life,” as the special music in the Baraca Class Sunday-School assembly.

A special visitor to the distinguished Baraca Class was Harland Taylor, a former member who now lives in Missouri.

A group of youth from the past week’s Music Camp at First Baptist sang a song for the congregation. Young Connor Dalton sang the solo part.

Clay Stephens was baptized by Dr. Karthaus.

At the time of decision Ian McMath, only child of Jeremy and Jennifer McMath, came forward. What a special blessing that Ian professed his faith in Christ on Fathers’ Day.

Fathers in the congregation were asked to stand and be recognized. Each was given a certificate for a Gideon’s Bible to be placed in his name, and all were applauded.

A couple of weeks ago I promised a report on a bus tour, organized by “Miss Betty” Mitchell, “the Travel Queen.” She took a busload of tourists to Michigan for nine days, May 24 – June 1.

Today the Portly Gentleman, one of the “Buskoteers,” will share his notes.

“Traveling with ‘Miss Betty’ from the Opp area were Pat Armstead, Effie Brooks, Gayle Clark, Janie Clark, Roy and Margaret Donaldson, Barbara Eaton, Virginia Merritt, Jo Ruth Sasser, and Dorothy Waldrop.

“From DeFuniak Springs, Florida, came Mack and Nell Baker.

“From Dozier came Kent and Lucy Davis, and Linda Hammett. Kent was the poet of the group and wrote a humorous travel poem, read to us as we headed home.

“Gloria Loser and Liz Pike joined from Enterprise.

“Jerry and Jan Scroggins came from Ozark.

“Andalusians were Wayne and Margaret Bennett, Sharon Dye, Thelma Glisson, Beverly Gilder, Mark and Cynthia Gunter, Charlotte Hawkins, Doris Hutcheson, Cupie Jacobs, Betty Knowles, Betty Long, Susan Maddox, Jo Ray, Glinda Simmons, Gaylen Sims (from Red Level), Trudie Steele, Gladys Trawick, Mazel Wiggins, Joe Wingard, Rosalyn Wright, and Barbara Teel.

“Bobby and Alice Sewell joined from Montgomery.

“Emily Snowden of Prattville and her sister, Sara Lolley of Douglasville, Georgia, came along.

“The long-suffering, patient, cooperative bus driver was Earl Richardson.

“Early Saturday morning, May 24, the Andalusia crowd met the bus at West Highland Assembly of God and loaded up, heading out ‘the Double Nickel’ to I-65 and thus north to Tennessee, stopping for rests along the way and passing ‘goodies’ individuals had brought along to share.

“Miss Betty had asked us to bring along breakfast so we could postpone our first main meal till Saturday afternoon in Pottsville, Tennessee, at a restaurant called Marcy Jo’s, housed in a converted country store. There in limited space we ate home-cooked meals in shifts. I was ‘the cow’s tail,’ waiting my turn as I sat on the rustic front porch, admiring a red clematis, twirling up before my eyes.

“Mark and Cynthia Gunter and I sat with Thelma Glisson’s niece, Linda, and her husband, Norris Hall. Linda is the daughter of Thelma’s twin sister, Elma, and was born in Opp. Linda and Norris drove over from Murphreesboro, Tennessee, just to meet Thelma and visit briefly. Norris illustrates children’s books and drew the fish used on a Tennessee tag, as well as the fish over the counter at our David’s Catfish House in ‘Scandalusia,’ as Norris calls Andalusia. Note it the next time you eat at David’s.

“The Pottsville restaurant, by the way, has been featured on the RFD channel on TV on the Joey and Rory show. Joey is a girl and the sister to Marcy; thus, the name Marcy Jo’s.

“Earl drove us into Nashville for the night where we stayed in the Alexis Inn.

“Most of us went that night to the new Grand Ol’e Opry House for a show, seeing the following: Little Jimmy Dickens (who’s 93), Jeannie Seely, Keni Thomas, John Conlee, Jan Howard, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, the Whites, Jimmy C. Newman, Suzy Bogguss, Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press, and Jason Crabb. I enjoyed most seeing Little Jimmy Dickens and the Opry Square Dancers.

“Sunday morning we worshipped on the bus as Sharon Dye worded a devotional and prayed. ‘Miss Betty’ then played a tape of religious music recorded by Earl Henderson of Brantley. We were told that Earl’s wife and three daughters were all valedictorians of Brantley High School.

“As I listened to the Earl Henderson tape, he sang ‘Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go,’ a song that I had heard sung in college many and many a time. The song took me back. When a student at Howard College, I had no car. To get to church, I depended on a bus sent over to the campus each Sunday morning and evening by Dawson Memorial Baptist in Homewood. We students would sing church songs all the way to Dawson and all the way back to the campus. My favorite song was ‘Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go.’ When I heard Earl sing it, my heart filled with memories and my eyes filled with tears.

“Before we knew it, we were in Kentucky with its rolling hills and pretty countryside with white Dutch clover ‘everywhere.’

“Kent Davis reminded us in his wry way that we needed to have our passports ready to cross the Mason-Dixon line.

“We continued on I-65-N, heading to Louisville.

“For lunch we stopped in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, in the midst of a cluster of fast-food eateries so that each could select, according to his taste. I waddled over to White Castle, which is the Northern version of the Krystal here in the South. ‘Miss Betty,’ Jerry and Jan Scroggins from Ozark, and I ate together.

“Shepherdsville was once known for salt production.

“I had heard some complain of late that Krystals don’t taste the way they used to taste. The sliders I ate at White Castle were very tasty, though. I think that’s because White Castle uses more onions and steams the buns more. The White Castle sliders are greasier but tastier.

“Earl drove us through Louisville and over the Ohio River into Indiana. In Louisville my mind turned to a college classmate from Louisville, David Graves, who attended Howard when I did, returned home, and spent his life and reared his children in Louisville. He’s now retired. As a boy, David had an idea to make some money. He got permission to take dirt from the racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville and market it in vials with labels as a souvenir. It didn’t pay off as he had hoped, though, bless his heart.

“Our bus stopped at Love’s in Whiteland, Indiana, to gas up.

“Wayne Bennett, by the way, loves chocolate. There’s no telling how much he devoured on the trip.

“It wasn’t long before we were in a residential area in the capital of Indiana, Indianapolis. There we drove through Garfield Park, named for President Garfield, a large and lovely place, where we toured a conservatory and sunken garden.

“In downtown Indianapolis we ate in an Italian restaurant, Buca di Beppo (Joe’s basement room). We were served chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meat sauce, pasta, bread, green salad, and dessert. We were fascinated by the many pictures on the walls and argued about who was who. One whose identity we disputed was that of Guy Williams. At least, I thought it was he. Others declared that I was incorrect. I sat at table with Mark and Cynthia Gunter, Sharon Dye, Beverly Gilder, Wayne and Margaret Bennett, Glinda Simmons, and Betty Long.

“As we ate, in came Thelma Glisson’s nephew, Roger Gray, the son of Thelma’s twin sister. Roger had driven in with his wife, Traci, and their son, Samuel, to eat Italian with his Aunt Thelma. Roger’s sister is Linda Hall, whom Thelma had seen the day before in Tennessee. The Grays live in nearby Noblesville. Thelma was having a string of blessings, seeing her niece in Tennessee one day and her nephew in Indiana the next!

“We motored on to South Bend, Indiana, for the night, getting all excited as we passed the campus of Notre Dame.

“We also passed the world’s largest chocolate store. This especially excited Wayne Bennett.

“We checked into the Quality Inn, where we would stay again on our way home.

“I had better stop for now and hope to continue another day, Lord willing.”

Thank you, Portly Gentleman.

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.

The Federal House of Representatives voted 95 – 66 against a join resolution abolishing slavery. (This should affect the thinking of those who believe the war was primarily about slavery.)

Northern General Grant and Northern troops attempted to take Petersburg, Virginia, near the Confederate capital, Richmond. Although twice outnumbered, the Confederates repulsed the Federals at Petersburg and dug in for a long siege. President Lincoln visited the scene.

Near Cherbourg, France, the CSS Alabama was sunk by the USS Kearsarge. The Alabama’s captain, Raphael Semmes, and some of his crew were rescued by an English yacht, the Deerhound, and taken safely to neutral England. The Alabama in the course of the War took 65 Federal merchant ships. Semmes is buried in Mobile, where stands his statue.

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

The mysterian is the answer to a riddle, I am half, yet I am whole.

Birthdays are those of the Magna Carta, a document signed by King John, granting limited freedoms to English lords, and Charles Gounod, a French composer.

The Magna Carta is the forerunner to our Constitution and “Declaration of Independence.”

Gounod’s opera, Faust, is based on the story of the man, Faust, who sold his soul to the devil for a second chance in life. The opera matches Part I of a German poem of the same name, written by Goethe. The German poem has a happy ending, but the French opera ends sadly. Faust loses the great love of his life, Marguerite, who goes to Heaven, while Faust is left on earth with a devil, Mephistopheles. The ending of the opera, in which the three principal characters all sing at once, is one of the glories of music. There is another song, sung by Valentine, Marguerite’s brother, that tugs at the heart, “Even Bravest Heart May Swell.” I hope you get to hear both this side of Heaven!

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.