Parlor Time brings laughs

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The scriptures read, “And Sarah laughed” and so did Sara Dickert Bowden’s audience at Parlor Time at the Salem Baptist Church Johnston Parlor in Brundidge Tuesday afternoon.

Bowden, a lifelong resident of Brundidge, was a special guest at Parlor Time and shared her thoughts on the importance of humor in one’s life and stories about one of the town’s prominent families of yesteryear, the Whittingtons.

Bowden was the youngest of seven children and grew up on North Main Street and around the family-owned lumber company.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Those two environments gave her many opportunities to observe the “goings and doings” of the people of Brundidge.

“The scriptures tell us that a cheerful heart does good like a medicine,” Bowden said. “It’s important that we laugh so God has given each of us a sense of humor. Whether we develop it or not is up to us. But laughter is God’s gift that blesses the good times and sees us through the difficult times.”

Bowden shared stories of the Burson Whittington family and those stories jogged the memory of many of those at Parlor Time.

Every person at the parlor was familiar with the Whittington family that owned the “mansion” on South Main Street.

“When the Whittingtons’ was being built, everybody in town took an interest,” Bowden said. “The house was so big and grand that it was referred to as ‘the mansion on Main Street.’”

Nell McLendon added humor to the storytelling with a story of her own.

Not long after the “mansion” was completed, the Baptist church, which was just up the street, installed chimes.

“When the chimes were rung for the first time, Florence Ray said that must be Burson’s doorbell,” McLendon said, laughing.”

Burson Whittington had already made a name for himself before he built the mansion. He had a very successful porch chair business in Tarentum and had the only in-the-ground, home swimming pool most people in rural Pike County had ever seen.

The Whittington family established itself firmly in the Brundidge community. Burson Whittington was elected mayor, ran a successful dry cleaning business and a cane fishing pole business that served an area from South Carolina to Louisiana.

His wife, Mildred Whittington, was the community hostess for most all social events, from bride’s maid luncheons to high teas and birthday parties. She used her elegant serving pieces and flowers from her garden for the events she hosted.

The Whittington “mansion” was later a motel for downtown Brundidge and then an assisted living facility.

Those in attendance at Parlor Time all agreed that there is still life in the mansion and they would like to see it brought back to its proud days in the community.

“Too often we tear down buildings that should be saved for many reasons,” said Delatha Mobley. “The Whittington house has so much Brundidge history tied to it. It would be wonderful if it were brought back to life and was again a center for community functions.”

Two o’clock each third Tuesday of the month is Parlor Time at the Johnston Parlor in Brundidge. Those who would enjoy a time of devotional and sharing are invited to attend.