Kiss-Miss-at-the-Gates are breath of spring

Published 12:21 am Saturday, January 17, 2015

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted that Kiss-Me-at-the-Gate was blooming a bit. Cousin Jo calls it Breath of Spring.

Amy Mott and I had a pleasant conversation in the Surly Mermaid as we gave our orders for lunch.

District 24 of the Alabama Education Association — that’s AEA members in Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties – assembled January 12 for their monthly meeting at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen.

Much of the meeting was spent in planning the annual district banquet (March 6). District 24, I understand, is the only AEA district in Alabama that still sponsors an annual banquet to honor local AEA representatives.

AEA members in Andalusia are the only ones in District 24 who have not yet filled a slate of officers for the local units. For example, the Andalusia Association of Educators, has only one officer, Karen Pass, the faithful treasurer who has held the unit together for the past 15 – 20 years.

Seen at Tabby D’s for lunch last week were David and Betty (Smith) Sport. We talked about the late Cumi Sport and her country grocery store along Highway 29.

Seen in the historic district of Panama City Beach at Willets British Tea Room were Barbara Posey, Maria Thigpen, and Lenora Johnson on a day trip.

Wayne and Lenora Johnson and I last Sunday motored over to Granny’s restaurant at Perry’s Store Crossroads to enjoy the good home cooking; and was it delicious!

We were surprised and disappointed, though, to find a notice that Sunday’s buffet would be the last and that Granny’s was closing its doors, including the seafood buffets on Friday and Saturday nights.

The good news, on the other hand, was that Granny (Miss Linda) would throw her business to the other Granny (her sister, Miss Nell) in Kinston. That means we can still enjoy the Sunday buffet, but in Kinston at the other Granny’s.

Seen at the Steamboat restaurant were Pam Rabren, Sandy (Grissett) Messick, Susan Russell and her daughter, Sara Anderson, Sara’s daughter, little Ava Claire, only seven months old, Charlee (Sullivan) Dunn, and her cousin, Lucy Jones.

Back in October “Miss Betty” Mitchell, the Travel Queen, led a group of her “Buskoteers” on a bus tour to New York City, “the Big Apple.”

Traveling from Opp were Joyce Adams, Wade Adams, Pat Armstead, Effie Brooks, Judy Burchfield, Roy Donaldson, Margaret Donaldson, Barbara Eaton, Joan Grimes, Charlotte Hawkins, Betty Kelley, Shelia Johnson, Joyce Meeks, Virginia Merritt, and Dorothy Waldrop.

From Ozark came Vera Cooper, Jan Scroggins, and Jerry Scroggins.

From Florala came Barbara Holley.

From Hartford came Faye Ketchum.

Traveling from Andalusia were Wayne Bennett, Margaret Bennett, Jean Brawner, Barbara Cantaline, Dianne Catrett, Beverly Gilder, Ted Grimes, Gail Grimes, Charlotte Gonce, Susan Henderson, Cupie Jacobs, Betty Knowles, Faye Meeks, Ann McGowin, Crystell Prestwood, Jimmy Prestwood, Nancy Robbins, Frances Richerson, Becky Shreve, Barbara Teel, Gladys Trawick, and Kathi Wallace.

From Atlanta came Waylon Catrett, Miss Betty’s cousin.

From Red Level came Sharon Dye.

From Anderson, Texas, came Fred Gonce.

From Daphne, Alabama, came Sandy Merritt, Jean Brawner’s sister.

From Enterprise came Chellye Stump.

From Brantley came Gerald Wallace, Miss Betty’s cousin.

From Opelika came Mildred Rogers.

From Prattville came Jane O’Shield and Pam Crawford.

Some kind soul has lent me a diary of the trip, which I’ll reproduce in a series, Lord willing.

Today we read about October 15, 16, and 17.


“The bus is now loaded with more luggage and food than you can imagine. We have 52 travelers on the bus headed to New York. After our daily prayer we were on our way. Our driver, George Sosa (also a licensed mortician) was a wonderful driver and entertainer. Not long after we left Andalusia, Charlotte Hawkins (aka Sugar Mama) started passing out the snacks and water. I don’t know what Sugar Mama was putting in that water, but some people (Jimmy Prestwood and others) saw some chickens in the ends of 6X6 cross tires on the truck in front of the bus. Boy, are we in for a fun time! This is just Day One, and we are already seeing things. After stopping to eat at (of course) the Cracker Barrel, our first day ended at La Quinta Inn and Suites in Sevierville, Tennessee.”


“After a continental breakfast at the hotel, we were off to the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. Our evening meal was a really nice buffet at Pano’s Restaurant in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Then we were off to the Wyndham Garden Manassas Hotel in Manassas, Virginia, for a good night’s rest.”


“After breakfast we picked up our step-on guide, Ben Franklin himself, at Macy’s in Fashion Centre Mall at Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia. During our guided city tour we saw the highlights of Washington, D.C., such as the new Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial, the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, the World War II Memorial, Viet Nam Wall, Air Force Memorial, and others, as time permitted. After an interesting tour of Washington we were on our way to New Jersey. We had a wonderful meal at Uno Chicago Grill in Maple Shade, NJ. After dinner we were off to Clark, NJ, where we would stay for the next four nights.”

That concludes Part I of the New York Bus Tour.

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 Southern Fort Fisher was attacked by land and by sea, falling into the hands of the North.

Some 10,000 blacks, known as freedmen, followed Northern General Sherman in his march to the sea. Sherman provided them with lands along coastal Georgia for homes, up to 40 acres per family. Later most of this land reverted to the former owners.

The Worms and the Roaches – who are these mysterians?

Joan (Hill) Mitchell knew. When Joan was in the seventh grade at the Andalusia High School, “Worms” was the nickname for seventh graders. “Roaches” was the nickname for the eighth graders. Ninth graders were called “Rats.” Sophomores were “Cats.” Juniors were “Horses.” Seniors were “Owls.”

The annual Field Day of athletic competition pitted Worms against Roaches, Rats against Cats, and Horses against Owls.

There was also competition indoors when homecoming skits featured each class. I recall one year when the “Worms” (seventh graders sewn up in bags, to look like worms) writhed their way across the stage, much to the amusement of the audience.

Recent birthdays are those of Horatio Alger, an American novelist with the same plot in each story – a poor boy becomes rich through hard work – the “rags-to-riches” story; Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, printer, author, inventor, the “Grandfather of His Country”; Robert E. Lee, general of Southern forces in the War Between the States, gentleman, example, college president; and Edgar Allan Poe, American writer of essays, poetry, and short stories.

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.