The written word has many purposes. This month, it chronicles a person’s life, and in another venue it serves to entertain with comedy and drama.

Dot Grove has written a column plus three books with advice for good living. To give back to the giver, about 100 people gathered Sunday afternoon at NHC Place to celebrate Grove’s 99th birthday.

Grove, who has loved photography, traveling and all crafts — but especially writing — has spread happiness to those who know her in the community and at First United Methodist Church of Anniston, where her husband, the late Woodfin Grove, was pastor for 11 years.

For her birthday celebration, Grove’s long-time friend David Hodnett offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the person of Dot Grove, a giver of inspiration “who enriches the lives of everyone she has known.”

Besides writing “Meet My Preacher’s Wife,” which went into its seventh printing in 1989, Grove shared her philosophy on positive living with “Life After Retirement,” Books 1 and 2, besides penning skits and short plays. She also has been a regular contributor to the Alabama Christian Advocate, a Methodist publication.

Her messages to retirees or those thinking about retiring are simple but helpful reminders: “Don’t get old, just get older.” “Count your blessings, even if it wears out your calculator.” “To make your marriage work, read the instructions!” (meaning the marriage vows).

Grove worked with the young and young adults during her husband’s ministry and, thinking of all ages, she passed along this quotation: “Fill every day of your life with living. Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the ‘present.’”

Surely someone should compile the various documents she wrote and file it in the Alabama Room at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County and in First United Methodist Church records.

 ‘Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming’

 Tickets are selling now for “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming,” a comedy with music presented by Theatre of Gadsden.

The venue is the Ritz Theatre, 310 Wall St., Alabama City. The dates are March 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and March 18 and 25 at 2:20 p.m.

This show by Connie Ray, conceived by Alan Bailey and with musical arrangements by Mike Craver, is the third in a series about the Sanders family. With spiritual songs and instrumental music, it reflects the simplicity of the 1940s rural south. The first two plays in the series at TOG attracted many church and club groups.

The time is October 1945, and the gospel-singing Sanders family is once more giving a Saturday Night Sing at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, N.C. World War II is over, and better years of prosperity are beginning. Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe has been called to a church in Texas, and he’s preparing to leave the next day with his wife, June, who is soon to become a mother. The Sanders, along with the congregation, will miss Mervin, but there’s excitement over young Dennis Sanders being selected as the new pastor.

It’s an emotional time for all involved, but the Sanders’ songs carry them through and serve to give the Mount Pleasant flock new hope.

All of the actors in the show are from Gadsden with the exception of Seth Wilson, who is from Centre, and yours truly, who is from Anniston.

The cast members are:

Mervin — Rick Gwin

Burl — Glen Williams

Vera — Linda Clayton Roberts

Stanley — Alan Moorer

Dennis — Seth Wilson

Denise — Cheryl Stafford Moorer

June — Christy Nichols

Ruby Mae — Hervey Folsom

Tickets are $17 for reserved seating and $15 for students, seniors and military. There is a $3 discount for groups of 10 or more. For reservations call 256-547-SHOWS.                      

‘The Miracle Worker’ at Alabama Shakespeare Fest

In partnership with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents “The Miracle Worker” on the Festival Stage through March 18. Tickets range from $31 to $60 and are available online at www.asf.net, by phone at 800-841-4273 and at the ASF Box Office. Students can access a special discount through the ASF Box Office.

The drama tells the story of Tuscumbia native Helen Keller, deaf and blind since infancy, who finds her way into the realm of knowledge and understanding with the help of Annie Sullivan, her gifted tutor. In some of the most turbulent and emotion-packed scenes ever presented on the stage, Helen overcomes rage and confusion as she learns to communicate with the world around her.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.

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