Beautiful sasanquas are blooming at Covington Hall

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted the sasanquas, beginning to bloom over at Covington Hall. That’s the king of flowers in November.

Gentle reader, have you seen the golden gingko along Stanley Avenue? As Keats wrote, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

The Covingtons, the Colonel and his sisters, Miss Cora, Miss Dora, and Miss Flora, have invited some of us to dine with them Thanksgiving. Others on the list include Miss Birdie Purdy, Miss Priscilla Primme, Topper Propper, Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville, and Clay Clyde Clump.

After dinner we plan to have a Thanksgiving program with readings and music. Miss Dora, who plays the piano beautifully, plans to sing “Bless This House.” Traditional songs will include “Let All Things Now Living,” “We Gather Together,” and “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.” It doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without them.

One thing for which I’m thankful is the lower gas prices. Something has touched the hearts of ol’ Gried and Glutt.

I wonder if we’ll have an Indian summer this fall.

Seen at the Corner Market “deli” for lunch one of these sunny but cold days were Jimmy and Jeanice Kirkland, Joe and Sandra Davis, Lynn and Kelly Ralls, and Thagard R. Colvin, who is editing his new book for publication.

Seen for the Friday-night buffet at Tabby D’s were Esker and Ann Thomasson, their son Roddy, his wife Mary, their daughter Beth, Audie Mae Thomasson, David Little, Judge Jerry Stokes, Jimmy Ponds, and Jimmy and Tammy Cox.

Last Tuesday, November 18, Fifty Forward, the senior-adult group at First Baptist, attended their monthly luncheon in Fellowship Hall.

Gordon Vickers, director of the senior adults, presided.

Prayer was offered by Eric Searcy, church director of its youth.

“Happy Birthday” was sung to those present with November birthdays, R. K. Price and Gordon Vickers. Vickers also celebrates on November 28 his 40th wedding anniversary. Interestingly, he and his Trudy were married on a Thanksgiving.

Sadly, the group met on the birthday of a fellow member, Opal Radford, who had died two days before.

Nancy Robbins announced a Tour of Homes, set for December 7 between 1:30 and 4:30 at a cost of ten dollars.

The inspirational program was delivered by Jim Garner, retired principal of Pleasant Home School for 24 years. His subject was the role of senior adults in families, especially their influence on their descendants.

Garner, using folksy humor and Southern wisdom and traditions, shared memories from his childhood.

He emphasized Christian duties, saying, “We never retire from the Lord’s work.”

In mentioning Southern Living, Garner asked if anyone had ever heard of Northern Living.

Garner is a graduate of Pleasant Home (1960), Troy (1964), and Mississippi State (1968).

He is a member of Carolina Baptist where he has been music director, deacon, and Sunday-School teacher.

He is married to Sherry Jacobs and is father of four grown children and grandfather of eleven.

The benediction was worded by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist.

The theme of the meeting was Thanksgiving in both menu and decorations.

Gary’s Café at Wages in River Falls catered the meal – turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet-potato casserole, green beans, yeast rolls, and tea.

Tables and buffet were decorated with pumpkins, set in beds of fall leaves, Thanksgiving napkins, garlands of leaves, and, at the head table, a turkey.

The “prettiment” was provided by Trudy Vickers, even though ill and unable to attend. Her “hands” were good friends, Kittye Wyatt and Betty Bass.

I want to share a few notes I made at the funeral of a friend, Clara (Stokes) Bass, who died at 97 on November 12.

Her service at Cedar Grove Church of Christ began on a sunny but cold day with “The Old Rugged Cross,” sung a cappella by all and led by Donald Knox.

The preacher, Eddie Boggess, then read Mrs. Bass’s obituary.

There followed “It Is Well with My Soul,” sung by the congregation.

Boggess next delivered a heartfelt eulogy, emphasizing Mrs. Bass’s love of family, her devotion to a Christian life, and humble service to all she knew. Including scripture and prayer, Boggess concluded, “She’s waiting on us.”

All sang “Where No One Stands Alone” and moved outside to the burial site near the church where Boggess shared Psalm 23, some final words, and prayer.

The casket, topped with spring flowers, was closed to the public and set amid floral tributes.

I want to share, too, notes I made at the funeral of Bill Gantt, who died at 63 November 10.

The brief service at Foreman’s Funeral Home Chapel began and concluded with instrumental music by Dr. Steve Hubbard, organist at First Presbyterian and professor of English at our junior college.

The appreciative eulogy was delivered by Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist.

The casket was topped with a rustic arrangement of cotton bolls.

The chapel was filled with friends and family.

Burial followed at Andalusia Memorial Cemetery where Dr. Karthaus read scripture and quoted from Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain”; then, ended with prayer.

It was a cold, grey, damp day.

Saturday, November l, some 125 travelers gathered for the annual luncheon of Betty’s Alabama/Florida Tours, hosted by “Miss Betty” Mitchell, the “Travel Queen,” and housed in the Christian Life Center at Southside Baptist.

“Miss Betty” sponsors these get-togethers for all who travel with her.

Eddie Gossett, Mrs. Mitchell’s pastor, gave a devotional on “Encouragement.”

Lunch was a “spread” of everything from chicken and dressing to cocoanut cake and pecan pie.

Nell Baker sang two beautiful songs.

Wayne Bennett summarized the group’s trip to New York City.

Charlotte Hawkins spoke of the trip to Branson.

Door prizes were distributed, and “Miss Betty” thanked all for attending and for looking forward to another year of travel.

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 commemorating 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.

Northern Gen. William T. Sherman began his “March to the Sea” in two wings, devastating along his way to Savannah, Georgia, his objective.

Jo Driggers of Lexington, South Carolina, identified the mysterian as her cousin, Joe Wingard, the only Alabamian to attend the special ceremony in honor of President Jefferson Davis upon his 200th anniversary of birth. The ceremony was at Davis’s grave in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

The new mysterian is not human. Today live oaks outline the Golden Square in Andalusia. Which type of tree used to outline the square a hundred or so years ago?

By the way, gentle reader, have you ever heard of anyone retiring up north?

Recent birthdays are those of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, English poet and librettist, and George Eliot, English novelist.

Gilbert wrote the words and Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan wrote the music to some 14 operettas, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and the Mikado.

Sullivan composed the music, too, to “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and “The Lost Chord.”

Eliot was the pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans. She may have written under a man’s name because that drew more money.

One of her best-read novels is Silas Marner, read in school by generations. Those who have read it recall “Eppie in the coal hole!” My elderly landlady, Mrs. Thweatt, responded immediately with that line when I mentioned the novel to her.

A weakness in education is the failure to require certain literature generation after generation so that learners can have common knowledge that ties minds and hearts together.

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.