Look outdoors: November is showing off

Published 2:04 am Saturday, November 14, 2015

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noted all the sasanquas in bloom across the road at Covington Hall.

Turning back to my desk, I resumed writing this column.

Outside under a grey sky brown leaves swirled in the wind before they landed on the ground and whirled in a mad dance.

I pulled my cardigan closer and thought, “November’s showing off.”

Seen out and about were Benny Bozeman, Maggie Shelley, Alan Wiggle, Esker and Ann Thomasson and their granddaughter, Beth, Doug and Glenda Williams, Mary Evers, Larry and Vicki Popwell, Lynda Gooden, James and Jenelle Jones, and Andy and Mickie Riley.

Doug and Glenda had driven over from Geneva to pick up Glenda’s first cousin, Lynda Gooden, in Opp and take her to lunch at Tabby D’s. Lynda taught history at Opp Middle School.

Glenda has been stitching doilies with the living presidents’ surnames and sending them to the presidents as gifts. They are beautiful.

Jimmy Ponds, retired librarian at Straughn Elementary, motored to Evergreen November 9 to attend a monthly meeting of the Alabama Education Association District 24 (made of AEA members in Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties). The meeting was attended in Reid State Technical College.

During his retirement, Mr. Ponds is helping reorganize the library at Fleeta School, where Mr. Ponds once was librarian.

An organ piece by S. Daniel Shehan of Savannah, late of Andalusia, was used as the postlude Sunday morning, November 1, to help celebrate the 110th anniversary of the founding of the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia.

The piece, “Praise Ye Our God,” was played by Steve Hubbard, church organist, and was selected from a book, Five Little Postludes, composed and published by Shehan under his pseudonym, S. Daniel O’Sheehan.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Fanny Crosby, said to have been the most prolific hymn writer of all time, having composed more than 8,000 hymns.

We honor her life and memory.

Betty Mitchell, “the Travel Queen,” sponsored her annual luncheon Saturday, November 7, in the family life center of Southside Baptist Church.

Those who had traveled with ”Miss Betty” on her bus tours over the years were invited.

Many wore blue travel T-shirts with “Buskoteer” on them and the picture of a bus, heading to the Cracker Barrel, pictured because the group has eaten there so often that stopping at the Cracker Barrel has come to be part of every bus adventure.

“Miss Betty” presided.

Tables were set with brown cloths with little pumpkins as centerpieces. Thanksgiving napkins marked each place.

Mrs. Mitchell described future trips.

C. P. Rogers presented a devotional on “Love” and led in prayer.

There followed a moment of silence for travelers who had been lost to death in the last year. “Miss Betty” read their names.

Charlotte Hawkins worded the blessing.

The ill were named.

Food had been brought by those attending. A rich buffet was enjoyed by all.

I sat at table with Charlotte E. Smith, Ferrolyn Elmore, Onzel Patterson, and Kimberley “Michelle” Patterson, a former student.

Entertainment included a spoon band, three songs by Nell Baker (who has a beautiful voice), and a mini-concert by Taylor Weeks of Opp, who sang a number of country/gospel songs, accompanying himself on a guitar.

The program ended with drawings for door prizes.

Congratulations to Bill Alverson, his family, Vicki Popwell, and the town of Andalusia for Bill’s positive, attractive, and thoroughly entertaining TV reality show!

Let me encourage you, gentle reader, to buy a ticket ($7) to the Pilot Club’s annual Pancake and Sausage Day, December 5, 5:30 a.m. – noon, in the Kiwanis Building. The ladies of the Pilot Club are to be admired for their hard work and wholesome, good deeds.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association (retired teachers) assembled November 4 for their monthly meeting, held this time in the library of Fleeta School.

Terry Holley, vice-president, presided in the absence of President Peggy Mobley.

Johnny Meeks presented a devotional on “Worries.”

There followed prayer by Meeks and the pledge to the flag.

Seth Richards, principal at Fleeta, and a student there ’83 – ’89, was introduced.

Mike Jones, this area’s representative to the legislature in Montgomery, spoke on prison reforms and the general fund, before taking questions from the retirees. Many a thoughtful question was asked and answered.

Jones, who has been a “rep” for five years, is clean-cut, neat, wholesome, able, youthful, respectful, and good-natured.

A buffet followed, catered by I.G.A. of Opp – rolled chicken with bacon, mashed potatoes, gravy, butter beans, creamed corn, rolls, and apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream – provided by the school.

Host and hostesses were Charles Williams, Kendall Riley, and Lori Caldwell.

Tables were set with placemats made by the school children, burlap runners, cotton bolls, fall leaves, pumpkins, candles, pinecones, and acorns.

Elaine Chavers, secretary, read the minutes.

Kim Dyess presented his treasurer’s report.

Sharon Dye read a resolution, commending David Bronner of the retirement system.

Fleeta is a beautiful, old-fashioned school set in a lovely location.

The Covington Rifles, Camp 1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, met November 5 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

John Allen Gantt, commander, presided.

Kelly Veasey introduced new members.

Randy “R” Kelley worded the prayer.

Pledges were made to the three flags.

“Dixie” was sung.

Kelly Veasey presented certificates of membership.

Pictures were taken for the paper.

Sir Francis McGowin spoke on the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and followed with a video of Confederate subjects.

The next meeting was set for December 10. Each person is to take a dish for a buffet supper.

Randy Kelley led in the closing prayer.

Wanda Davis sent brownies for refreshments; Ann McGowin, a cake; and Rosemary Gantt, a carrot cake.

Attending were Kelly Veasey, Jimmy Cobb, Derick Davis, Joe Wingard, Sir Francis McGowin, Larry Shaw, Curtis Thomasson, Jason Horton, Mark Fowler, Christopher Fowler, Ricky Harrelson, Logan Horton, Will Bumpers, Hank Roberts, Dale Anderson, Rick Terry, John Allen Gantt, Vaughn Bowers, Bill Blocker, Randy “R” Kelley, Andrew Veasey, Brandon Veasey, and John Fowler.

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 Martin Luther, the German Catholic, who led the Protestant Revolution; Oliver Goldsmith, Irish poet; Johann C. F. Schiller, the German dramatist; Thomas B. Aldrich, American author; and Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, Scottish poet, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories.

Goldsmith’s great poem, “The Deserted Village,” begins with the line, “Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain.” That’s where we get the name for Auburn, Alabama; the nickname for Auburn; and the Auburn newspaper, the Plainsman. If I had the means, I would erect a statue of Goldsmith in Auburn. I would put the first line of Goldsmith’s poem on the pedestal under the statue. I would also have flowers placed on Goldsmith’s grave in London each year on Goldsmith’s birthday. Some fraternity or sorority could take that on as an annual project.

Schiller’s play, William Tell, was made into an opera. The overture of the opera became the theme song for the Lone Ranger. The overture itself may well be the most popular piece of music in the world.

Stevenson’s poetry for children includes the famous A Child’s Garden of Verses. Stevenson’s novels include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

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.