Christmas is in the air in Andalusia

Published 12:44 pm Saturday, December 12, 2015

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw across the way a little party of four, baskets in hand, heading for the woods behind Covington Hall, on their way, I presumed, to gather greenery for Christmas decorations.

There were Miss Cora, Miss Flora, the Portly Gentleman, and Clay Clyde Clump, searching out holly, cedar, pine, pinecones, smilax, magnolia, bay, yaupon, and ‘possum haw, all things red and green – and the little group was singing Christmas songs.

Christmas is in the air!

Mrs. Gotrocks of Greenville was visiting “the Dimple of Dixie” this week. She and I drove to our Golden Square, which has received national attention, to see the sights.

As we walked around the glittering tree and children’s village, we dropped into the Surly Mermaid and tried the shepherd’s pie, a nice treat on a sunny but cool December day.

On our rounds we stopped at the Star-News and looked over the Christmas tree made of newspapers by Jill Prevett, a remarkable creation.

Other visitors to the newspaper office this week were Margo Russell and her little grandson, Riven (with an r) Adams, the son of Bronwyn Bell and Andy Adams. Riven told those in the office about Jesus and Heaven.

Mrs. Gotrocks stayed over with the Covingtons in order to attend a Christmas Sing-a-long in Covington Hall. Miss Dora did most of the playing while a hundred or so guests enjoyed three hours of Christmas songs, secular and religious, separated by a buffet of holiday goodies.

The Portly Gentleman lingered about the tray of petit fours, moving from that tray to a rival tray of chicken-salad sandwiches with the edges cut off.

The Covingtons weren’t the only people, giving parties.

There were Christmas parties all over the county – those in private homes, schools, clubs, churches, civic organizations.

One was that of the Covington County Education Retirees Association, members of which met December 2 in the beautifully restored Chamber of Commerce.

Peggy Mobley, president of the CCERA, presided.

Peggy is an important person in the educational history of Alabama.

She has served twice as president and twice as vice-president of the Alabama Education Association, thereby casting her influence on Alabama’s children.

Retiree Larry Sanders presented a devotional and offered a prayer/blessing.

The pledge to the flag followed, and then feasting from the buffet of covered dishes brought by those attending.

Elaine Chavers, secretary, read the minutes.

Kim Dyess, treasurer, distributed his financial statement.

Peggy Mobley led in a business discussion.

The program was a “silent auction.” The money collected for donated items was designated for a student scholarship in the field of education.

The next meeting of CCERA is set for February 3 in the Opp Elementary School. Retirees are asked to take school supplies to share with the pupils.

Women love this time of the year because they can wear all of their Christmas clothes and accessories.

For example, Jan White was seen wearing a Santa T-shirt the other day and a silver bell about her neck.

Seen out and about recently were Chris Thomasson, principal of the Red Level Elementary School; Gillis (“the Comb Man”) and Laura Jones, Judge “Trippy” McGuire, Johnny Duggen, Wade and Jearlon Rogers, Maggie Shelley, Charlie “the Cane” Cope, Mr. and Mrs. Terry Wilson, Wayne and Lenora Johnson, Bobby and Judy Scott (the new grandparents), Jerry Andrews, Judy Godwin, Bill Ellis, Jamie Mayberry, Curtis Wilson, Jerry Wishum, Dan and Virginia Frasher, Margaret Eiland, Wayne Miller, A. G. and Pat Palmore, Larry Shaw, and John Miller (AHS Class of ’65).

Remember Charlie Smith?

He used to wish “Merry Christmas” to people, no matter what time of the year it was. He carried Christmas in his heart all the year through.

Charles Dickens could have used Charlie as a character in one of his novels.

Joe Wingard’s Cousin Jo Driggers from Lexington, South Carolina, was house guest of Zolly and Betty Mitchell last weekend after returning from “Miss Betty’s” bus tour of Nashville. Jo and Joe worshipped at First Baptist Sunday in the Baraca Class and in morning worship. They dined out and enjoyed visiting the Golden Square and Springdale.

Miss Dora came over the other day to look at my Christmas book.

She wants to make one.

Long ago I bought one of those hard-bound books with blank pages.

I filled in a list of Christmas readings to buy and share, a list of Christmas themes (like the story of the poinsettia), Christmas music to buy, Christmas art, a record of Christmas decorations (who gave them to me, the year, or occasion), Christmas activities, stocking stuffers, gift ideas, gifts received (the year, and from whom), shopping lists, a Christmas menu, and ideas for a Christmas party.

Anyone wishing to join fellow graduates of Samford University for an annual meeting should 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 the last week were Horace, the Roman poet; Jean Sibelius, the Finnish composer; John Milton, English poet of Paradise Lost, considered one of the best English poets, along with Chaucer and Shakespeare; Joel Chandler Harris, American/Georgian author of the Southern tales of Uncle Remus and Br’er Rabbit; and Emily Dickinson, perhaps the best female American poet.

Harris’s best-known tale is “The Tar Baby.”

Alabama’s birthday is approaching December 14 (1819). Alabama was the first state to make Christmas a holiday, so Alabama can be called “the Christmas State.” Bake a cake in the shape of Alabama and sing the state song.

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.