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There are certain people that you just remember.
Some you remember because they are characters.
But then you have some people you remember just because you do.
There are three women that have recently come to the end of their journey and left a void in a lot of lives for that very reason, at least to me.
First is Mary Elizabeth Cammack Perry. I never knew her real name until I read her obituary. Everybody called her Lizzie. She was 100 years old.
Lizzie and her husband, Newt, ran Newt’s Grocery Store in Harrisonville, which is a couple or so miles from the Anderson County line in Shelby County.
Harrisonville had two such establishments. The other was Hark Rucker’s Grocery. As small as that community is, both had booming businesses.
We stopped at both of them when I was a kid. I can remember stopping at Newt and Lizzie’s and Newt would be talking to some of the men sitting around the store and Lizzie would be behind the counter, waiting on people. I can remember her smiling face and her laugh. The store was small but you could find most anything you needed there — be it coffee, soft drinks, feed, seed or ice cream. I always went for the ice cream. (Remember I was very small, not yet 10 years old.)
No matter when you stopped by either store, you could find some friends and lots of laughs.
The next lady is Verla Mae Waldridge Drury Bragg. She is one of those people that I think probably knew me when I was small but I didn’t know her until I was older.
I remember when she came to Antioch Christian Church. She always spoke to me like she knew me, but then again, I think she spoke to everybody that way.
She was a tall woman with a slow gate and a big smile. She seemed to always take things in stride. Every time I talked to her she was the same.
Within the past two or three years, she and I had talked a few times. Once someone sent a photo of her mowing the yard. That hasn’t been very long ago. She was in her late 90s then and still mowing it herself, with a little help by that time. She was only 98 when she died.
The last time I talked to her she had called the office to place an ad thanking someone for doing something for her. That was just the way she was. She appreciated everything anyone did for her.
The last one is Sarah Lucille Saunders Rucker, 74. Up until three years ago, she and her husband, Bill, lived down the road from my family on Benson Creek Road since we moved there in 1972.
She was an awesome cook. So much so, her children didn’t want to lose her recipes so, in 2003, she decided to publish a cookbook. When I saw it at Lawrenceburg National Bank, I had to have it. I later interviewed Lucille about it.
She absolutely loved to cook and started at a very young age. When she met her future husband, Bill, at a party, her father told her she couldn’t get married until she learned to make gravy. She did, plus a whole lot of other things.
She was almost 16 when she and Bill married. He was 20.
Lucille has cooked for many people besides her family. She was the cook at Head Start for 19 years. There was talk of moving Head Start to ECC and the job being eliminated. She was hired at the Anderson High School lunchroom. Head Start didn’t move as first thought, but she stayed at the high school concentrating on breads, salads and desserts before arthritis forced her to quit.
Lucille and Paula Deen would have been best buds. Family and food go together. As long as she could Lucille would fix Sunday dinner for all her clan. And if it was your birthday, you got to choose the entree and get a special dessert.
She always cooked all kinds of goodies for vacation Bible school or other activities at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church.
She was always happy when she was cooking or talking about her family.
As her health deteriorated, she became unable to cook for her family, which saddened her. She and Bill moved to town and you would see them out at the fast food restaurants for their meals. She continued to have more health problems until she lost her battle about two weeks ago.
All three women had great faith. They all smiled. They all had a genuine way about them that greeted everyone they met.
They are all gone, but they will be remembered by many.