White cotton, blue skies make beautiful backdrop

Published 3:43 am Saturday, October 31, 2015

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville drive up. We had set this day for a drive through the countryside.

Locking my cottage door, I joined my friend and shared what news I had as we drove the back roads of Covington County.

Besides the lanes lined with goldenrod, we noted fields of cotton, white against a blue sky, reminding me of why Alabama is called “the Cotton State.”

As we drove along, we passed Mike Jones, the retired teacher, out to enjoy the beautiful, October, golden weather.

Also seen out and about this week were Gary Padgett, Jon Sellers, Ralph and Sue Wells, Jeff Sellers, Gene Stallings (the composer of country music), Billy and Gena Green, Linda Ward, Bill Rue (the Andalusia High School Class of 1960), Fran Davidson, Wayne and Lenora Johnson, John Allen and Rosemary Gantt, Martha Givhan, John Beasley, Dwight and Sonia Crigger, Dr. and Mrs. Morgan Moore, Richard Pass, Bob and Cathy Harry, and Jay and Beverly Farrington.

First Baptist was decorated this past Sunday with urns of magnolia leaves, set with cotton bolls. That’s pretty Southern. I understand that Alan Cotton contributes floral arrangements each Lord’s Day. God, bless him.

Allen and Dot Cook motored to Asheville, North Carolina, the other day to celebrate their daughter’s, Courtney’s, birthday. Joining their sister and parents were Allison and Meredith. The family stayed in a mountain cabin, enjoying the autumn leaves and time together.

A former resident of Andalusia, Mark Wiggins, was honored with a sixtieth birthday party October 16 at the Ridgeway Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee. The party was hosted by Mark’s wife Lesa, their daughters, Lindsay and Whitney, and Mark’s sons-in-law.

This was a very special celebration for Mark as he had just returned from four months of treatment and surgery for a rare form of throat cancer at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston.

The evening began with a tribute to Mark by his daughters and a number of close friends. Mark then expressed his appreciation to those present who had prayed for him, supported him through his Caringbridge Journal entries, and provided much needed, practical assistance for his family.

Approximately 180 guests were treated to a buffet dinner, consisting of Memphis barbecue sliders with all the trimmings, shrimp, crabmeat patties, lobster bisque, pasta dishes, fruit-vegetable-and-salad bar, chicken tenders, and hamburger sliders, especially for the children.

The hit of the evening’s menu, though, was the sixtieth birthday cake, made of five layers. The top layer was inscribed with witty birthday wishes on a black top hat. The other layers were strawberry, chocolate, red velvet, and white vanilla cake. The guests consumed the WHOLE thing! This was in part because the young lady cutting the cake announced to everyone as she finished serving one layer and began cutting another.

Entertainment was provided by a “swing” band and two exceptional vocalists, singing some of Mark’s favorite “oldies.” Mark showed his characteristic stamina by dancing with his wife Lesa, his daughters Lindsay and Whitney, and his grandchildren.

While the party itself was not a surprise to Mark, he was surprised at the large number of people, attending, and at the number of unexpected people who had gone out of their ways to be present.

Attending from Andalusia were Alan and Angie Cotton, Phil and Linda Tisdale, Lenora Johnson, and former Andalusian, Andrew Carroll.

Mark’s brother, Steve, and his wife came from Tuscaloosa.

Mark’s sister, Sharon, arrived from Pensacola.

From Birmingham came Aunt Elsie, Cousins Pat, Ken, Amy, and Taylor.

Many business associates from various Auto Zone locations were present.

Mark’s grandchildren, Cohen and Rett Carrecker from Dallas, Texas, and Mary Collins and Nora Tolbert of Memphis said that the best part of the birthday party for “Pop” was riding to the club in a “limo,” playing games on the dance floor, and eating all the birthday cake they wanted!

Anyone who attended Samford University and is interested in meeting annually with other Samfordites, please call Joe Wingard.

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 the member of the AHS Class of 1926, still living.

Born this week were Geoffrey Chaucer, English poet; Thomas Babington Macaulay, English historian; Johann Strauss, Jr., Austrian composer; Georges Bizet, French composer of the opera, Carmen; Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States; Erasmus, Dutch scholar; Harvard, the oldest college in America; the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the American people; Jonas Salk, the American who discovered a cure for polio; James Boswell, the Scottish author of the greatest of biographies, The Life of Johnson; John Adams, the second president of the United States; Jan Vermeer, a Dutch painter; John Keats, English poet who wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”; and Martin Luther, a German priest who defied the Catholic church of his day.

My generation owes eternal gratitude to Jonas Salk because his vaccine for polio saved our lives and limbs.

The Lutheran church is named for Martin Luther. I am descended from Lutherans, who, I believe, came to America in 1753 for freedom of worship. Had it not been for Luther, I would not be here.

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.