Beautiful pansies, violas adorn my postage-stamp yard

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I admired the borders of pansies and violas in my little postage-stamp yard. One gets his money’s worth with pansies. They bloom through fall and winter and into spring and early summer.

Annalois Nall, whose 80th birthday fell on October 15, celebrated belatedly on Sunday, November 2, after morning church, by welcoming family and friends to her home and to a meal prepared by her almost entirely. It was a regular cornucopia of home cooking.

Seen for lunch at the Surly Mermaid, the new sandwich shop on the Golden Square, were Pat Davis, her daughter, Amy (who is a new grandmother!), Pat’s daughter-in-law (Ronnie’s wife), Stephanie, and Stephanie’s mother, Johnell. (I guessed at the spelling.)

Herb and Sue Carlisle made a trip to New York City to visit his son Gary September 18 – 22, as part of Herb’s 86th birthday celebration (Herb was born September 16).

Gary met them at the airport, from where they motored by taxi to his apartment on the Upper Westside in Manhattan for dinner. Gary has a one-room apartment, so Herb and Sue stayed at a hotel a block away.

Here’s the rest of the story in Herb’s words:

“Friday morning we went to Ground Zero to see the memorial, which is very nice. Then we toured the 911 Museum, which was awesome. It was an emotional experience. There were thousands of exhibits and displays with explanations written on plaques. The displays had short, movie clips in several places. One particularly moving clip showed people, jumping out of the upper stories of the buildings before their collapses. We spent two and a half hours there and had not seen everything. We were so tired.

“After this we drove out to Shelter Island, where Gary has a three-bedroom, two-bath house, where we stayed until Monday morning.

“Saturday we crossed by ferry to Greenport, a small town which was having a festival and parade. We had lunch before we crossed back by ferry to Shelter Island.

“Sunday morning was a lazy time for us. Sunday afternoon we went to a concert put on by Itzhak and Toby Perlman. Toby Perlman founded a summer music program for young people, living on Shelter Island. The founders were trying to get young people to appreciate classical music. They had a good staff, teaching music on different instruments. Their program eventually became well known.

“There were five young people in the concert. Four played the violin, and one played the cello. Each had gone through the summer program and were students at Julliard School of Music. Their performance was outstanding.

“Mr. Perlman is an outstanding violinist. Sunday night we saw him, performing with a Philharmonic Orchestra on TV. The Perlmans have a home on Shelter Island, about 300 yards from where Gary lives. They also have an apartment in New York City.”

Thank you, Herb, for sharing your travels.

The Portly Gentleman drove up to Birmingham (Homewood) the first weekend in November for homecoming at Samford University (formerly, Howard College), his alma mater.

Let’s hear his account.

“I went a day early so as not to miss anything. On my drive up I-65 I saw the landmarks, the pond and water wheel with the cutout of the devil, the fall colors, the large Confederate flag, and the sign, ‘America – love it or leave it!’ I stopped in Calera for lunch at Cracker Barrel.

“The Marriott Courtyard in Homewood was my home for three nights and four days.

“Friday, Halloween, I drove over to the Samford campus, singing the old “Alma Mater” once on campus. There’s a new alma mater, but the old one is the only one for me. I’ve asked for it to be played at my funeral, along with other school songs.

“I headed uphill to the university center (what we called the student union) to register. Everything at Samford is uphill – good for the legs and health.

“In the lobby of the center, which contains the cafeteria, my ol’ speech professor, Dr. Harold Hunt, stopped to pass the time of day with me. He’s Mr. Youth. No matter what age he turns, he seems always the same, collegiate, a ray of sunshine in a sometimes gray world.

“I could hear the cheerleaders in the cafeteria (students call it ‘the Caf’). They led the student body in a few cheers; then, came out into the lobby. I overheard them, trying to think of a new cheer. I composed one and handed it over as a suggestion.

“The first homecoming activity I attended was that afternoon, a faculty panel discussion on current political issues, staged in the center. Among those present was Bill Nunnelley, in charge of the campus magazine, Seasons. Also present was Sean Flynt, Dr. Wayne Flynt’s son.

“Returning to my motel, I changed for the Candlelight Banquet at 6:30 and then drove back to the ‘Caf.’

“As I waited to go in, I conversed with several familiar faces. First were Dr. and Mrs. Lee N. Allen. He had taught me history when I was a freshman at Samford. It was during those salad days that Dr. Allen fell in love with an undergraduate, Catherine Bryant, Class of 1964, and editor of the student newspaper, the Crimson. It was Catherine who changed my life by directing me into English and teaching instead of journalism as a major. I remember well the two of them, holding hands as they sat on the grass. They were in love if ever anyone were.

“Catherine hugged my neck for old time’s sake. They looked splendid! By the way, it was the 50th anniversary of Catherine’s Class of 1964.

“Next I spoke with Andrew Westmoreland, the president of Samford, a fine fellow, rich with sentiment and humor, humble and diplomatic, always willing to talk heart-to-heart, with time for all. We discussed an essay he had written about the Lions Club bench under the Sweetheart Tree on campus.

“Next came Wayne Atcheson, Class of 1964. He worked with sports at Samford when an undergraduate. For years he worked for Coach “Bear” Bryant and is now with the Billy Graham library.

“Passing through was our own Stan Davis, reared in Andalusia, still working with Samford’s estate planning.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes! Here came Lindy Martin, another of my old professors. I still have notes I took in his class. Lindy was advisor to my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. I remember during my freshman orientation his saying that the Spirit of Howard is the Spirit of Christ.

“One more I talked to, new to me, was Phil Kimrey, vice-president for Student Affairs and Enrollment. He knows Neal and Jennifer (Smith) Dansby and their Elliott and Judith Anne. He also knows John and Mary Lee Howard.

“Inside the dining room at table I spoke with the lovely Myra Courtney. She, her husband, A.L., and I sat together at table last year for the alumni banquet.

“At table this year were the following: Dr. David and Bonnie Chapman (David is dean of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. I went with his tour group to England.), John and Linda Simmons (John’s in the Class of 1974), Dr. Rod Davis (Class of 1958 and dean of Howard College prior to Dr. Chapman, whom Dr. Davis recommended for the post), and

Micah Green-Holloway (a sophomore, student ambassador, and graduate of Woodlawn High School).

“Two interesting facts about the banquet, at which outstanding alumni are honored, are the candlelight on each table and the cloth napkins, some red, some blue, the school colors, alternating.”

I shall save the rest for another time, Lord willing.

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.

If you collect stamps, now is the time to buy those celebrating the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States and the War of 1812.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us return to this week 150 years ago.

A plan by Confederates to burn Chicago was foiled.

Lincoln was elected to a second term over Gen. George B. McClellan, losing only three states, Delaware, Kentucky, and New Jersey.

The mysterian was known as “Bulldog.” It is thought that the AHS Bulldogs got that name because the man known as “Bulldog” helped coach the early football teams.

Who was he?

Recent birthdays are those of William Cullen Bryant, American poet and editor; John Philip Sousa, American bandmaster and composer of marches; and James Arthur Wilson, an American educator.

Bryant was a friend of William Gilmore Simms, greatest of the antebellum authors, and visited Simms on his plantation, Woodlands, in South Carolina.

Bryant wrote two famous poems, “Thanatopsis” and “To a Waterfowl.” In the “Death of the Flowers” Bryant wrote of November, “The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year.” He edited a New York newspaper for 50 years and promoted Central Park.

Sousa was known as “the March King.” His masterpiece is “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

JAW was graduated from Andalusia High School in 1923, played on the first AHS football team, taught at AHS for 36 years, 18 of those as principal, a record to this day. He was known as “Mr. Andalusia High School.”

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 wiling.

Fare thee well.