So much has happened, sad, glad

Published 3:49 pm Saturday, January 9, 2016

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Clay Clyde Clump, coming up my walk with an empty box.

Admitting him from the cold and offering a cup of hot chocolate, I asked what was the purpose of the box.

“Clydie” answered that it was to collect Christmas “unwantables.”

I realized that he was referring to Boxing Day, the day after Christmas when the poor go from house to house, collecting food and unwanted items.

“Clydie,” I explained, “that was the day after Christmas. You’re a week or two late.”

He looked so sad that I put together some cake and sandwiches to place in his box.

After Clydie left, I sat down to finish my hot chocolate and “box” my thoughts for this column.

So much has happened, both sad and glad.

First Baptist has lost two of its finest Christian ladies, Trudy Vickers and Georgette Pass.

Remarkably, both were members of First Baptist Church and died on the same Sunday morning.

Both were married to ministers.

Both funerals were conducted the same day in the sanctuary of First Baptist with the same officials.

Both ladies were buried the same day in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. Both ladies were placed in open, white caskets.

“Miss Trudy” was buried the morning of December 16; “Miss Georgette,” that afternoon, despite a constant rain.

The sanctuary was decorated for Christmas and lent beauty to the solemn occasions. Mrs. Vickers’s casket was covered with a “blanket” of yellow mums and lilies.

She was in a yellow suit with a yellow rose in one hand. The body was adorned with pearls, an Auburn necklace, and earrings.

The casket was flanked on one side with a cross of flowers and on the other with a heart made of flowers, a personal gift from her husband, her beloved “Boog.”

There was many a tear.

I don’t see how folks bear such moments in life.

Martha Givhan, church organist, began the service with a processional, “How Great Thou Art,” followed by everyone’s singing “Amazing Grace,” led by the church’s minister of music, Dwight Crigger.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor at First Baptist, and minister to both ladies, who conducted both services that day, offered a prayer.

Don Lingle, former minister of music at First Baptist for 28 years, sang his signature song, “The King Is Coming,” accompanied by Martha Givhan.

After another prayer by Dr. Karthaus, he delivered the eulogy.

He spoke of her love of children and her work with them in church, in choir programs, and in Vacation Bible School. He quoted “Jesus Loves Me.”

Dr. Karthaus spoke of how delicate life is, of its being temporary, of Trudy’s three battles with cancer, of her being a “lady of faith,” a strong woman, and a strong personality.

He spoke of her husband of 41 years, Gordon, and their time in Mobile, of their membership there in Dauphin Way Baptist, of their move to Andalusia, where Gordon works with the church’s senior citizens.

Trudy truly loved Gordon and worked with him as he went on his “rounds” to minister to the elderly.

Where one saw one, one usually saw the other.

Dr. Karthaus then led in prayer.

Mrs. Givhan played “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” for the recessional.

Many who had attended the funeral of Trudy Vickers returned for the funeral of Georgette Pass, 94, that afternoon.

Her body was clothed in solid white, like her casket.

A “blanket” of multi-colored lilies, roses, and various blooms, interspersed with baby’s breath, framed Mrs. Pass.

Pictures of her and her family were shown on the auditorium’s big screen during the hour of visitation before the service.

Following the seating of the pallbearers, Martha Givhan played the processional, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

Mr. Crigger led all in the “Doxology.”

Dr. Karthaus led in prayer.

Don Lingle sang “To God Be the Glory,” accompanied by Mrs. Givhan.

John Hunt, a local minister, presented the first of two eulogies.

He spoke of the 77 years that “Miss Georgette” and her husband, Richard, had been married, of her living past 94 years, of her being a “fighter.”

He read “Psalm 1” and asked her family and friends to “keep her memory alive.”

Mr. Crigger sang “It Is Well with My Soul,” accompanied by Mrs. Givhan.

Dr. Karthaus then delivered a second eulogy.

He read from Proverbs first.

He told of Mrs. Pass’s being born and reared in Mississippi, of her marriage while in high school, of her crafts, continual industry, her faith, her pictures, her poetry.

He spoke of her leading Richard to the Lord.

Dr. Karthaus said that she was “the ultimate mother,” “a woman for all seasons,” and “as faithful a member as we’ve ever had at First Baptist.”

He closed with prayer.

Mrs. Givhan played “This Is My Story” as the recessional.

Georgette’s husband, Richard Pass, also 94, was back in church the following Sunday. God, bless him.

Seen out and about of late were Peggy King Scott, James Bristow, the Ralls twin (the good-looking one), Mark King, Gillis Jones, Herb and Sue Carlisle, Jimmy and Sue (Bass) Wilson, Wayne and Lenora Johnson, Judy Buck, Glen and Cindy Cook, Charlie Cope, Sonia James, Mickey and Jenny Pitts, John Taylor (escorting his mother, Abbie), Betty Sue McInnish, the Lunch Bunch (I was impressed to see them saying grace), Laquetta Grimes, Bill Thigpen, Dot Cook, Kim Dyess, and Gillis (“the Combman”) Jones.

I wish to say “hello” to a gentle reader, Shirley Morgan of Enterprise.

Curtis and Margie (Jacques) Thomasson motored December 19 to Geneva to attend the celebration of the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Douglas and Glenda Williams.

Douglas was once preacher at Cedar Grove Church of Christ, which the Thomassons attend faithfully. The Thomassons were the first couple that Mr. Williams married.

Mrs. Williams is known for her beautiful art work.

Sunday morning, December 20, at First Baptist the congregation received a shock when young Eric Searcy, minister to the youth of the church, announced from the pulpit that he was resigning his position and moving with his wife to the Montgomery area to find a ministry there.

In an emotional and tearful farewell Searcy expressed his sense of God’s call, his appreciation, and his hopes for the future.

The night of December 20 the Adult Choir of First Baptist presented a cantata, Light! Out of the Darkness, with solo parts by Allison Farrington, Charlotte Rogers, Casey Thompson, and Sonia Crigger, with narration by Jimmy and Ashley Black.

Instrumentalists were John Beasley (piano), Sonia Crigger (keyboard), and Erica Ziglar (trumpet).

Directing all was Dwight Crigger, minister of music.

The choir sang grandly and performed gloriously.

The Andalusia Civitan Club gathered for a Christmas party in the Fellowship Hall at Southside Baptist Church on Tuesday evening, December 8. Chaplain Leroy Cole worded a blessing over the food and fellowship. Members and their spouses/guests enjoyed a delicious meal with an array of desserts (Civitans sell Claxton fruitcakes this time of year.)

After the meal everyone participated in a couple of games to win door prizes. Civitan Morgan Moore, accompanied by guest musician, Carol Couch, led the group in singing Christmas carols.

A good time was had by all.

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.

Recent birthdays are those of Betsy Ross, who stitched our first flag; William Lyon Phelps, a teacher at Yale who exerted great influence with his love of literature; Cicero, Roman statesman and writer; and Jacob Grimm, German collector of fairy tales.

December 6 was Twelfth Night or Little Christmas, celebrated in Europe.

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.