Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flea Market Find of the Week: Sailing Along

Due to the unprecedented find in the Greensboro Flea Market, The Vidalia is starting a new feature to showcase choice items found at area yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores.

This beautiful piece of plaster artwork is currently stashed in a back room at the Greensboro Flea Market. Our editors uncovered it one Saturday after moving aside a box filled with mismatched limbs from multiple artificial Christmas trees to peruse a stack of artwork. This treasure ship was discovered hiding behind a framed “B.J. and the Bear” poster covered in bat guano. The artistic piece is rendered in mixed media, which include plaster of paris and magic marker. The talented, although unknown, artist plays with proportion on the ship, rendering it from starboard side and yet making the stern substantially larger than the bow. One can almost hear the canvas sails snapping in the breeze as they fill with the wind, which seems to be swirling about and coming from two directions, based on the aft sail. If you can find a frame to match this beauty, and surely you can, since we noticed a pile of them in the back corner under a pallet of peat moss, this item will be a welcome addition to any nautical-themed room. In fact, just as the editors were preparing to photograph the item, local shopper and retired gallery designer Kendall Burke wandered by and gasped with delight. He said, “Oh, goodness! If I hadn’t gotten rid of the sailor theme in my master bedroom, I could have hung this right over my rope-trimmed vanity! The rear spanker sail is to die for! I only wish I’d found this before I redecorated! Unfortunately, it doesn’t mesh with the Roman theme I just finished installing.”
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Crawfish One!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unprecedented Melee Mars Christmas at Jonquil Hall

Smashed ornaments, cups of eggnog, and Christmas clothing litter the scene of the melee.

GREENVILLE—In a bizarre twist of events, two on-duty Greeneville police officers and two off-duty reserve officers were required to quell what has been described as an eggnog-soaked brawl at the 59th Annual Jonquil Hall Christmas Open House last Saturday. The event, co-sponsored by the Butler County Historical Society, Greenville Garden & Bridge Club, and the Fort Dale DAR Chapter, was intended to showcase holiday decorations at the antebellum home. Police Chief Lanny Williams reports, “At 4:18 p.m., an anonymous call was placed to the authorities reporting a disturbance at Jonquil Hall. An officer arrived to find several incidents in progress. He called for backup. When that was deemed insufficient, calls were placed to two reserve duty officers.” The police report all four officers were still unsuccessful in subduing the crowd, and were forced to resort to blaring music broadcast by Montgomery urban radio station WZHT Hot 105.7 from a police car loud speaker to clear the house.

Witnesses at the scene speculate about the origins of the chaos. Says Greenville Garden & Bridge Club President Eleanor “Tiddy” Tidwell Boyce, “I believe that the unpleasantness started when a few guests overindulged in Viola Nell Davis’s homemade eggnog and Delia Gray Graves’ bourbon balls. I don’t believe such indecent behavior has happened at Jonquil Hall since the Union occupation.” Apparently, Davis, 87, poured a liter of bourbon into the eggnog at home, and forgetting the volatile ingredient had been added, had one of the kitchen assistants add a second bottle shortly after arriving at the gathering. This miscalculation, coupled with a particularly potent batch of bourbon balls, has been cited as the cause of the subsequent breakdown of decorum on multiple fronts.

Chief Williams reports, “We know of four separate incidents . There may have been more, but we’re not sure, since so many of the ladies scattered to the safety of their Buicks and Cadillacs when they were startled by Lil Wayne’s hit single ‘Mrs. Officer’.” With much of the crowd dispersed, officers were able to address three altercations still occurring inside, along with a fourth incident. Although the police were unclear about what may have spawned the incidents, confidential sources at the scene when the violence erupted provided exclusive details to The Vidalia staff.

Sources confirm the first conflict to erupt at the scene was between fellow Bridge & Garden Club and DAR members Effie Mae Davis Holloway and Millicent Neal Wynn, both 76. A witness reports that the two latched onto each other’s hair after both reached for the last cheese straw. The struggle was over much more than the homemade cracker, no matter how delicious. “It was about so much more. Effie Mae never forgave Millie after she bought the same silk throw pillows at the Montgomery Gayfer’s in 1974, especially since Ellie Mae refuse to tell Millie where she bought them in the first place,” reported a fellow Garden & Bridge Club member.

A subsequent fight erupted when Butler County Historical Society Secretary and Event Co-chair Claire Wynn Gray, 47, attacked Missy Daniels Gray, 26, a former paralegal in the offices of Charles Stewart Gray. A Butler County Historical Society Tour Guide commented, “Well, Missy and Charles got married last year, and it was only one month after he finalized his divorce from Claire. Honestly, I guess it’s an open house, but I can’t believe Missy showed up. And then Blayne and Newell had to start again.”

Well known local choir directors, Anglophiles, and theater volunteers Blayne Morissey and Newell Dale were again involved in a tussle, this time over the manger scene centerpiece Morissey created for the event. “Blayne handmade the scene out of kudzu vines, pinestraw, and azalea branches, and he even hand-carved all of the figures out of Cashmere Bouquet soap. He was just telling some of the ladies that he modeled the Baby Jesus after Prince Harry when Newell came up and snorted that everyone knows Prince William is much more Christ-like. this began round two of the unseemly row that began in September at Greensboro’s Las Pampas (see September 14 “Unexpected Altercation”). It was terrible, I had heard those two had been at it before, but I just didn’t believe it. They seem like such nice boys.” reported a DAR Chapter member.

In the final, disturbing twist of event, the police took Mavis Holloway Neal, 64, into custody for indecent exposure after she was found by officers dancing in only a holiday dickie in the kitchen. The object of her affection was believed to be, Lance Morris, 52, who escorted his mother to the event, and was in the kitchen entertaining a group of Garden & Bridge Club Members with delightful stories of his summer in the Greek Isles. “Oh, it was terrible,” whispered one of the event hosts, “Mavis dropped her punch cup and started dancing in front of Lance. She even took off her sequined holly cardigan. He looked so frightened! And Mavis didn’t even know to stop when the police arrived.”

All charges against event attendees have since been dropped, and local residents are hoping the event will soon be forgotten. Plans for next year’s 60th Anniversary are uncertain, since many of the interviewed parties have conceded it may be advisable the traditional gathering is shelved for the next several years. An effort is afoot to move the event to the Greenville Baptist Church Tidmore Fellowship Hall.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Our Sponsors: Celebrate the Holidays with Miller's!

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bargain Hunter Uncovers National Treasure in Area Flea Market

Paint by number of famed melancholy clown Emmett
Kelly, which concealed a national treasure Align Center

GREENSBORO—A bewildered bargain hunter had his suspicions confirmed by Sotheby's document experts, who verified that a document recovered from a frame he purchased at the Greensboro Flea Market is in fact an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. The purchaser, who prefers to remain anonymous, found the parchment scrap in a non-descript wooden frame behind an oil painting of a frowning clown. The buyer explains his motivation in selecting an item that has been passed over by several years' worth of customers, "I've probably passed the picture several dozen times, since it was under a bunch of dirty jelly jar glasses decorated with geese and a ceramic coconut. That day, when I finally took a longer look, I couldn't resist such a perfect example of mid-century kitsch."

When the buyer pulled the back off of the bulky wooden frame to remove the clown painting, which was signed by local artist Beatrice Reese Davis, he noticed an old document, which turned out to be a yellowed, creased, and slightly mouse-eaten copy of the Declaration. The anonymous buyer reports that he figured the Declaration was a cheap souvenir copy printed for tourists probably purchased during one of the local Rotary Club's many bus trips to our nation's capital. However, he still showed both items to another friend who is locally renowned for his hoard of items described as old, heavy, and unwanted by anyone else. The astute collector determined that, although signed by an artist, the clown was not an original painting and was in fact from a paint-by-numbers kit typically sold at discount stores in the 1950s and 1960s. He also noted that the document may have been printed on vellum, not cheap artificially yellowed paper. Further consultation with document experts at the Alabama Department of Archive and History and National Archives confirmed the authenticity of the document.

Local residents are surprised by the find. Eugenia Hollis Bonner, 87, of Greensboro, explains, "Mrs. Davis was known as a talented painter, and she claimed to have studied at the Louvre. We all figured that the horses, sailboats, and clowns she painted were her work. I received several from her as hostess gifts and have until now proudly displayed them in my dining room." Other local widows report buying paintings nearly a decade ago from the local art gallery, during a show run by the always delightful Kendall Burke. Burke's reputation, which was already tarnished last summer by the "High Tea at the Ceinture Noir" debacle, has taken another beating in the affair. Fortunately Mrs. Davis, who passed away ten years ago at the age of 99, was not alive to see her fraud exposed.

Genealogical research has revealed how the document ended up in Alabama and has further scandalized the Davis family. The descendants of notable citizen Charles Watson Davis have lived on Main Street for generations, since Dale migrated to the region from coastal South Carolina. While the Davis's do not trace their ancestry back to original signers, research by Vidalia staffers have uncovered court records indicating that original South Carolina signer Thomas Heyward, Jr.'s son filed theft charges in Charleston against a stable boy of Welsh descent identified as Charles Davis. Davis apparently disappeared from Heyward's estate sometime in the 1820s, absconding with, "a horse, a pork belly, one sack of flour, three wheels of cheese, some important papers, and a silver spoon," as well as Heyward's youngest daughter, who was believed to be in a family way at the time. No indication of the nature of the papers is mentioned in the original writ, but it is assumed that the Declaration is one of them. After his daring disappearance, Davis apparently later settled in Greensboro, added the Watson to his name, and began his career as a prominent planter. Beatrice and her husband Charles Watson Davis III died with no direct descendants and no one knowing of the family's secret scandal. The valuable portions of their estate were snapped up by various Davis nieces and nephews. The remainder of the material has languished in the Greensboro Flea Market for the past decade, and is slowly being bought piece by piece.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recent Events

November’s social calandar was full. Here are some of the highlights from the Blackbelt’s society capital-

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