Costumed carolers sing old Christmas songs

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2014

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw a group of carolers, standing before my cottage porch, singing the old Christmas songs bravely in the night-time cold. Opening the door, I called to them, “God bless you, everyone!”

All over “the Dimple of Dixie” folks are enjoying Christmas, shopping, wrapping presents, decorating houses inside and out, making out the Christmas menu, attending Christmas parties and programs, singing in choirs, caroling, visiting, cutting Christmas trees, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies, cakes, and pies, “making a list and checking it twice,” cutting wood for fires, hanging stockings, putting candles in the windows, reading Christmas stories, reciting seasonal poems, writing letters to Santa, wearing a bit of holly on the lapel, hanging wreaths, going to church, placing figures in manger scenes, riding around at night to see the lights on the Golden Square and up and down East Three-Notch and at homes all over town, looking for that small, round gentleman in his sleigh in a moon-lit, star-lit sky!

Ah, Christmas!

Oh, yes, on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to leave “Sandy Claus” some milk and cookies by the hearth.

Seen at the Surly Mermaid on the Golden Square, enjoying lunch, were Dr. Mark Gable, the dentist, his son, Christian, and Mike Jones, the retired reading teacher at the Andalusia High School.

Christian was met by his parents at the Atlanta airport the night before, flying in for the Christmas holidays from his job as a government financial consultant in Capetown, South Africa. It’s his first visit back home in eight months; and, boy, was he impressed with Andalusia, all dressed up for Christmas!

Seen on their way to the Christmas parade last week were Shirley Northrop and her daughter, Emily, here from Texas for the holidays. It surely was good to see “Em” back home again.

Seen at Church’s, enjoying their coffee, were the brothers, James and Jessie Sirman.

Miss Birdie Purdy told me that the P.O. would be open between now and Christmas an extra two hours each Saturday, noon – two.

Seen at Larry’s, dining with their friends, Walter and Paula Sue Duebelt, were Jim and Pat Wilcox.

Saturday last I sat on the Golden Square about an hour, taking in the tree and Candyland cottages and all the merry passers-by. Out and about were Walter and Paula Sue Duebelt; Peggy (Carnley) Parks, her son, Chase Fowler, and his daughter, Hailey; Sherry Pouncey, her daughter, Whitney (Pouncey) Young, and Whitney’s sons, Ab and John Thomas; and Judy “JuJu” (Manner) Weant and her granddaughter, Paisley Weant, the daughter of Judy’s son Jeremy and his wife Abbi (Reynolds) Weant. Paisley was born on Christmas Day two years ago.

Seen at Tabby D’s for the Friday-night buffet were Sonny and Sue Ann Helms, Lynn Ralls (the good-looking twin), J. R. and Yvonne Reeves, Elaine Lucas of McKenzie, and Elaine Reeves.

J.R., who lives in Dallas, Texas, had been visiting his siblings in this area, which include Rogerl Reeves and Jerry Reeves.

J.R. is an accomplished musician, and highly talented.

Elaine Lucas is his sister. Elaine Reeves is his sister-in-law and the wife of his brother, Rogerl.

Alabama’s birthday, December 14, is tomorrow. The Covingtons have invited some of us over for an Alabama Tea Sunday afternoon. I understand that Miss Cora has baked a cake in the shape of the state, that Miss Dora will play both versions of the state song for us to sing, and that paintings by Miss Flora of the state symbols will be on display.

I wonder if there is a company that sells cake pans shaped like all 50 states.

Last Sunday in the Sunday-School assembly of the distinguished Baraca Class, Jennifer (Smith) Dansby sang, a cappella, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” a solo she has come to sing traditionally for the senior men of First Baptist.

One of the nicest traits of the Pilot Club’s annual Pancake and Sausage Day is the peace and quiet, the sitting down and eating in no haste, just visiting with table-mates, “just living,” as Clay Clyde Clump would say.

I lucked up at a table with Mark and Anne Christensen, local attorneys, and three of their children, John, Elisabeth, and Katrine. Katrina was helping serve and clean, as a member of the teenage Anchor Club, which assists the Pilot Club and is sponsored by them.

Passing our table were Esker Thomasson, Charlotte Hawkins (with whom I’d traveled on one of “Miss Betty” Mitchell’s bus tours), Michele Gerlach, and Glen and Cindy Cook.

The ladies of the Pilot Club do a remarkable job and are to be congratulated for their excellent and self-less work.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association assembled for their fourth meeting of the academic year, December 3, at David’s Restaurant.

Peggy Mobley, president, presided.

(She has twice served as president and as vice-president of the Alabama Education Association, a singular honor.)

Larry Sanders worded the invocation.

Sabrina Reynolds, an employee of the Covington County Board of Education, sang “The Star-spangled Banner” as all stood.

Mrs. Reynolds has a strong and beautiful voice and lost nothing by singing a cappella.

Secretary Elaine Chavers of Opp made her report.

Treasurer Kim Dyess gave his report.

Susan Helms, AEA District 9 director, was a special guest.

The program featured Mrs. Reynolds, leading in Christmas songs.

Christmas presents were exchanged, too, to the merriment of all.

Each member ordered a la carte.

The Covington Rifles Camp 1586 (local chapter) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (international men’s organization) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (the women’s counterpart to the SCV) met the night of December 4 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library for a program and Christmas buffet.

John Allen Gantt, 1st lt. commander, presided.

Joe Wingard worded the invocation.

All stood for the pledges to the flags.

Larry Shaw led in “Dixie” as all stood.

A buffet was enjoyed. Among the favorites were creamed corn and sweet potatoes.

Brandi Evans of the UDC presented a program on John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate raider from North Alabama, twice captured by the Federals and eventually killed by them.

A certificate of UDC membership was presented to Brenda Howard of Brewton, who had driven up with her husband Tracy for the meeting.

Gantt dismissed the assembly with prayer.

Attending were the following: Derick Davis, who organized and staged the meeting, Johnie and Wanda Davis (Derick’s parents), Tracy and Brenda Howard, Larry Shaw, James and Ginger Worley, John Allen Gantt, Vaughn Bowers, Linda Castleberry of Red Level, Jimmy and Madge Cobb, Curtis Hampton Thomasson, Tammie Evans, Brandi Evans (mother and daughter), Eleanor Williamson, and Joe Wingard.

Mr. Robert Linder and Mr. Bill Law paid a visit to our newspaper office and were welcomed and assisted by Lisa Pickron, our very capable office manager.

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.

The Northern Army under General Sherman reached Savannah, Georgia, and besieged it. They also captured Fort McAllister on the Georgia coast, thereby connecting Sherman’s army to vital supply lines, which made a siege possible.

Today live oaks outline the Golden Square in Andalusia. Which type of tree used to outline the square a hundred or so years ago?

Recent birthdays are those of Horace, a Roman poet; Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer; John Milton, considered one of the three greatest English poets, along with Chaucer and Shakespeare; Joel Chandler Harris, the Georgian-born, American creator of Uncle Remus and Br-er Rabbit; and Emily Dickinson, perhaps America’s best female poet.

Miss Priscilla Primme reminds me that she and Miss Birdie Purdy and a couple of others plan to drive to DeFuniak Springs, Florida, to see the Christmas lights around the lake. They’re on show now through New Year’s Eve each night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Cost is $3 per person.

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.