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The Confederate jasmine is a beautiful sight

Peeping through my Venetian blind at the Confederate jasmine, growing on my little, picket fence, I thought of Confederate Memorial Day, celebrated May 26 in some states, and of the Southern soldiers who left their homes forever, killed on the battlefields, their fates and their graves – if any – unknown to their wives, mothers, siblings, children, and friends. What a sacrifice!

“A rustic cabin by a dusty road,

Within a mother sweeps the well-worn board.

A pot of greens perfumes the bare abode;

And on the table lies the drinking gourd.

She pauses, hopeful, at a distant sound

And, breathless, hastens to the open door.

She stares; beside her pants the faithful hound.

How often has she paused to look – once more

She strains her eye, her ear, with hope of joy.

But there is no sign, alas, of her lost boy.”

For several years I have mentioned weekly in this column events of the War Between the States in an effort to commemorate the Sesquicentennial anniversary (150th ) of that War.

The Sesquicentennial is coming to an end.

I have enjoyed learning facts about “the War.” In my education there was little study of the War in high school and college. I have had to learn what I know on my own. I have found that the study of that war could fill a lifetime. There are a thousand themes.

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

President Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois.

Richard Taylor, commander of the Confederate troops in Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, surrendered to General Canby in Citronelle, Alabama.

Southern Gen. Nathan B. Forrest disbanded his troops.

In his flight south after the fall of Richmond, Virginia, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was joined by his wife at Dublin, Georgia.

President Davis and his party were captured near Irwinville, Georgia, and taken to Nashville, Tennessee.

Confederates forced Federal soldiers to abandon Palmitto Ranch in Texas, said by some to be the last important land battle of the War.

On Mother’s Day Jennifer (Smith) Dansby, accompanied by Martha (James) Givhan at the Ann Martin Memorial piano in the Baraca Chapel of First Baptist Church, sang “The Gift of Our Mothers.”

It has become a tradition for Mrs. Dansby to sing this song, honoring mothers, on Mother’s Day.

On hand to hear the special song were Mrs. Dansby’s mother, June Smith, and Mrs. Dansby’s husband, Neal.

The song was composed by S. Daniel Shehan, formerly of Andalusia, to lyrics written by Joseph Cecil Wingard, and dedicated to their mothers, Helen Everage Shehan and Malie (Cobb) Wingard.

Sunday, May 3, Bill and Maria Thigpen and their nephew, Sammy Tang of Colombia, a recent graduate of Lurleen B. Wallace, entertained friends with a poolside barbecue at the ribbon cutting for the Thigpens’ recently completed, large, outdoor oven.

The construction of this oven had taken seven months, so friends had been eagerly awaiting an invitation to celebrate. The wait was well worth it.

The oven is made of brick and cement and is large enough to roast a whole pig. In fact, that was the entrée prepared by the Thigpens for their guests.

When guests arrived, they were offered appetizers of dips and chips for the lips, cheese balls, boiled shrimp, fruit, and refreshing drinks. The alfresco meal was barbecued pork, potato salad, baked beans, Lower Alabama caviar, spinach salad, fruit salad, grilled green beans, and various selections of bread. Desserts were taken by guests and included a sheet cake, decorated with an icing picture of the oven, chess pie, and Argentine flan.

Following the meal, the hosts were presented with chef aprons, pictures of the oven, and a special presentation by Danny Posey, “The Oven.”

Once 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.

The mysterian is Miss Mattie Waters. Who was she?

The Portly Gentleman, on his way to Montgomery recently, stopped at the rest area near Greenville. He just wanted to enjoy the blue sky, white clouds, green earth, Dutch clover, wildflowers such as the coreopsis, and breeze. It was a mini-vacation.

The Portly One commented on the blooms of the privet hedge.

“There were so many blooms and hedges that they looked like spring snow.”

He recalled when privet hedges were used to line yards. Back then it was a point of shame to have even a blade of grass, growing in one’s bare yard.

He stopped, too, at the Middle Biscuit Café on Highway 55 (the Double Nickel) to eat lunch. It’s been open since August and replaced Mitchells.

It’s called the Middle Biscuit after the middle biscuit in an iron skillet of baked biscuits, the one surrounded by the others.

Recent birthdays are those of Robert Browning, English poet; Johannes Brahms, German composer; Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer; James Matthew Barrie, Scottish playwright; Edward Lear, English writer of limericks; and Sir Arthur Sullivan, English composer.

Browning lived much of his life in Italy. He was married to the famous, English poet, Elizabeth Barrett. He was so popular at one time that study clubs formed to discuss his works.

Tchaikovsky should be familiar to all here in the “Dimple of Dixie” because of the annual ballet of his Nutcracker Suite, for which we thank Meryanne Martin-Murphy.

Barrie wrote sentimental plays and is best known for Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up.

Lear is most famous for his five-line, nonsense limericks.

Sullivan wrote comical operas with Sir William S. Gilbert, such as The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, and The Mikado. He is also famous for “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and “The Lost Chord.”

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.