Oh, for the love of plantation shutters

Published 12:05 am Saturday, August 2, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind – or, as Roger Powell suggested, plantation shutters – I looked at a truly Southern sight, the magnolias, their blooms refined among their glossy, green leaves.

It’s good to be back at ye olde computer, gentle readers. I’ve been traveling for two weeks. I missed you.

I noticed that it rained July 15, St. Swithin’s Day. The superstition is that rain on that day means rain daily for 40 days. On the other hand, no rain on July 15 means no rain for 40 days. What do you think?

Congratulations to Zolly and Betty Mitchell upon their 50th wedding anniversary. Their children and grandchildren hosted in the Mitchells’ honor a celebration Sunday, July 6, from 2:00 p.m., at the PowerSouth Point A Lodge in Gantt, the site of many a happy time.

Seen at Tabby D’s for the lunch buffet were Judge “Trippy” McGuire, Mary Wilson, Wilma Tillman, Bill and Donna Ellis, Sue Wilson, and Allan and Nell Wiggle.

Edie Alexander, 17, entering her senior year at the Andalusia High School, was baptized Sunday morning, July 27, in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch, by the new minister to youth, Eric Searcy. It was Searcy’s first baptism.

Present in the congregation were Edie’s parents, Gary and Cathy (King) Alexander; Edie’s brother, Mitchell; Edie’s maternal grandmother, Johnnie King (accompanied by Mrs. King’s caregiver, Shirley Harris); and friends. The Alexanders hosted for family and friends a luncheon in their home after morning worship.

Recently returned from a golf holiday in Scotland are Richard Jones, Dr. Mike Wells and his son, John, and Steve Wiggins. The men played the oldest and most famous golf course in the world, St. Andrew’s. Scotland is the home of golf.

Last May 21, Lucille Foley graciously allowed the Glory Singers of First Baptist Church, East Three-Notch – the volunteer choir for the senior members of First Baptist – to enjoy their annual fish fry at “the Shack,” her recreational property.

The fish fry was catered by “Laurette and Charles,” who have been catering this social event for several years.

The meal was fried catfish, slaw, potato salad, baked beans, French fries, hushpuppies, and banana pudding, as well as eight-layer chocolate cake.

When the Glory Singers arrived, Lucille greeted them with her famous lemonade.

Boiled peanuts were on hand, too, thanks to the director of senior-adult activities, Gordon Vickers.

Dwight Crigger, minister of music, provided his “poor man’s caviar.”

These two guys know what Glory Singers like for snacks!

After all the eating, a game of “white elephant” was played. Each contributed a white-elephant gift (a possession one willingly would give away). Numbers were drawn to see who would be first, second, etc.. One never knew what he would get or when someone would “steal” what he had selected. “Stealing” a gift was allowed only twice. This game led to much laughter.

Attending were Martha Griffin, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Dallas and Boncile Merritt, R. K. and Rose Marie Price, Diane Bledsoe, Margaret Eiland, Susan Underwood, Dwight Crigger, Judson Blackstock, June Smith, Nancy Robbins, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, and Vivian Hickey.

On Saturday, July 12, this paper ran Part 4 of the Portly Gentleman’s account of his bus tour to Michigan, especially Mackinac Island, organized by “the Travel Queen,” “Miss Betty” Mitchell.

Today, August 2, after missing two Saturdays because of being out of town, he will complete the Michigan series with Part 5.

“We last left the Buskoteers in the town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, enjoying a Bavarian village.

“As we continued on our journey, we watched a movie on the bus.

“Kent Davis worded our blessing when we stopped to eat supper at Fire Mountain, a buffet in Lansing, the capital.

“We drove on to South Bend, the home of Notre Dame, to spend the night in the same motel we had used on our trip north to Michigan.

“The next day we motored south on Highway 31, stopping in the capital of Indianapolis, Indiana. Wayne Bennett led in prayer.

“In Indianapolis we got out downtown to tour the grand and majestic War Memorial complex, riding an antique elevator to the expansive shrine room on an upper floor of the Memorial itself, viewing the national headquarters of the American Legion, seeing a park, Catholic cathedral, large auditorium, halls, exhibits, memorials, desks, paintings, flags, and tributes to veterans of many wars. There were artistic and inspiring monuments everywhere.

“I wondered how anyone could imagine all the complex beauty and grandeur, let alone build it.

“We took lunch south of Indianapolis, in a place called Greenwood. My tablemates were Miss Betty, Doris Hutcheson, Dorothy Waldrop, Jerry and Jan Scroggins, and Gladys Trawick.

“We stopped soon again for gasoline, at Love’s, part of a truck-stop ‘chain.’

“As we sped on south, we played Bingo for prizes, napped, snacked, and watched movies.

“Crossing the Ohio into Louisville, Kentucky, I pondered the beauty of Kentucky.

“Unfortunately we came upon an accident that held us up an hour or so. Two helicopters airlifted victims. Next to our bus we spotted a car with a tag from Covington County. Some said it was Jerry Elmore.

“It wasn’t long before we chanced upon a rainbow and then rain. It was the first time I saw a rainbow before the rain.

“That night my dining partner at the Cracker Barrel was Sara Lolley. It wouldn’t be a trip with Miss Betty unless we ate at the Cracker Barrel!

“The group spent the night in Goodlettsville in LaQuinta Inn.

“Wayne Bennett prayed for us the next morning as we headed home. Doris Hutcheson gave a devotional, its being Sunday.

“On we went through Nashville, the Tennessee mountains, crossing the Alabama line. We were so close to home!

“We ate again at Cracker Barrel in Athens, Alabama. ‘Miss Betty’ said the blessing before we left the bus. In a way it’s like going to revival when one goes on a bus tour with ‘Miss Betty.’

“We played Bingo till all the prizes were gone and ate almost all the goodies.

“The worst roads we used were around Birmingham. It ought to be renamed ‘Bumpingham.’

“Of course, we had to stop in Clanton at Durbin Farms for ice cream.

“Kent Davis read a poem he had written about our trip. It reminded me of lines written by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.

“Four of us Buskoteers got off in Prattville, Sara and her sister Emily, Bobby and his Alice.

“On we went through Montgomery, Greenville, and Georgiana, riding through a few showers.

“About three we arrived at West Highland Assembly of God and unloaded and went our separate ways. The bus driver, Earl, took the ones left on to Opp and DeFuniak Springs.

“When I got home, I knelt and thanked God for a safe trip and for my home. I called the Aged Parent and reported my safe return. Thus I came to the end of my journey.”

Thanks, Portly One, for your five-part account.

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 past three weeks 150 years ago.

Southern President Davis replaced General Johnston, who has been defending Atlanta from Sherman, with Gen. John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee.

The siege of Atlanta continued with Sherman, McPherson, Schofield, Thomas, Howard, and others on the Northern side and Hood, Cheatham, Hardee, Wheeler, S. D. Lee, and others on the Southern side.

Northern General Grant continued to besiege Petersburg, Virginia, Lee’s last stronghold.

McPherson was shot dead as he rode too close to Confederate lines.

Southern Gen. Jubal Early kept fighting in Virginia, again crossing the Potomac into Maryland and Pennsylvania.

With a secret bomb the Federals blew a huge crater into Confederate defenses at Petersburg, with high hopes of breaking in on the Confederates. Their plan “backfired,” though; and the Confederates “slaughtered” the invading Federals who poured through the breach, especially black soldiers sent as “lambs to the slaughter.”

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 the last three weeks are those of Clement Clarke Moore, the American minister who is credited with writing “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”; the English novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray, who wrote Vanity Fair; Petrarch, the Italian poet sometimes given credit for the Renaissance; George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright, perhaps the greatest writer of plays since Shakespeare; and Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-spangled Banner,” written during the War of 1812.

Although Key wrote what became our national anthem in 1814, the song is said to come from The War of 1812. The song has several verses. One verse contains, “In God is our trust,” which was modified into our national motto, “In God we trust.”

Thackeray’s novel, Vanity Fair, takes its title from John Bunyan’s chapter on “Vanity Fair” in Pilgrim’s Progress. “Vanity Fair,” which compares the world to a fair where all we buy is mere vanity, takes its title from the Bible.

Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, later became the popular musical, My Fair Lady.

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.-