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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

    Betty Ruth Swearengen was in last Thursday and I enjoyed a great visit with her. I had not seen her in a long time, with enough time to visit—only to speak or to wave. We reminisced about Tommy and the entire Swearengen family.

    I was surprised to learn that Mr. Tommy had died at age 67—I was young and thought he was much older. I’ve always loved all the Swearengens—they are great folks. She also told me that Daughter Sherry Gray had suffered a reaction to a drug she’d used for years.

    It amazes me that you can used these medications for long periods of time and then suddenly they turn on you. Sherry is going to be okay and we’re thankful for this.

    Betty Ruth also shared a request from a little 5-year-old boy, who is a terminal cancer patient, for lots of Christmas cards. When asked what he wanted, that was his wish. If you’d like to send a card his name and address is: Noah Biorkman, 1141 Fountain View Circle, South Lyon, MI 48178. The info was shared with Betty Ruth by Bro. Jame Edwards, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.


  Received a note from Mrs. Maxine Hogan of Ferguson, Missouri, who has subscribed to the Herald for a long time. She writes, “Please renew my subscription for another year. It feels good to be in touch with homeland for a few more months.”  

    Thanks for subscribing Mrs. Hogan.


  After commenting in the column a few weeks ago that I was unable to find my blue Junior Auxiliary Cook Book, Betty Gurner brought me hers. I really enjoyed reading all the recipes and also the ads. Was surprised to find that only four businesses included in this book are still in operation today—Turnage Drug Store, Mechanics Bank, Larson’s, and the North Mississippi Herald.

    I was searching for this cookbook to find Mary Suratt’s original recipe for Hawaiian More More. Well, to my surprise it was not there. I must have had Mary’s hand-written copy of this recipe. It is contained in JA’s red cookbook, but I’m sure it had been altered from the first time I made this dish. Well, I copied the red book for Bobby and he can make it as it appeared there, or he can make his own substitutions.

  Bet also brought in her copy of the 1924 Water Valley PTA Cookbook and the advertisers and recipes in this publication were most interesting. Many of the advertisers I did not recognize and many of the cooks were names that I was not familiar with.

  Shortly after Bet brought in her cookbooks, Dessie Caulfield called to tell me she had her copy of the blue JA book and she also had a copy of the 1924 PTA book. Thought is was very interesting that both of these friends had the same books they thought I’d be interested in. They were definitely right—I did enjoy reading them.

  Thanks to Dessie and Bet for sharing their books with me.


  Played Bridge Thursday night for the first time in several months. Had a great time, even though I was, as usual, low scorer. Our hostess was Sarah Russo (wife of our football coach, Richard Russo). We enjoyed a wonderful taco soup, with some good cornbread, and banana nut and cinnamon bread for dessert.         Before we left, Richard came in with the children and my how they have grown since I last saw them.


  Early Friday morning Jimmie and I headed for Jackson, where we spent Friday and Saturday at the Ag Museum with T. J. Ray of Oxford, and Mary Sue and Bennett Anderson of Olive Branch. T. J. had been down since Wednesday and reported that he had hundreds of students through on Wednesday, then he and the Andersons hosted hundreds on Thursday, with the full staff taking care of the hundreds on Friday. Our Saturday crowd was down, but it was more fun, because we had time to visit.

  Was so glad Bob Williams and his brother from Olive Branch stopped by for a visit. Eva was not with him, but never got around to asking where she was.

  During Harvest Fest they were making sorghum, sawing logs, ginning cotton, the blacksmiths were making beautiful things, cornmeal was being ground and there was lots more going on. I slipped out a couple of times for short visits to the gin. Jimmie actually got to see it running. Both of us arrived too late to see the actual bale completed.

  This gin had not run in a number of years and we do appreciate Rep. Tommy Woods from Byhalia and his son working for several weeks to get it up and running. Told him that cotton and the  gin were my first loves and that the print shop was my second. Had the best of both worlds over the weekend, since the gin and the print shop are almost back to back.

  Visiting in the Print Shop on Friday was Billy Neville, who had owned a men’s shop in north Jackson for 40 years. He sold his shop some time ago and is interested in letterpress printing. After we closed Friday, Jimmie and I went to Office Depot to buy some paper—we were almost out. Saw Mr. Neville there and spoke. “Hello, again,” I said. It took him a few seconds to place this strange woman who was talking to him. He left his merchandise, came on up and visited with us while we checked out.

    Then he walked us to the car and helped us with our purchases. He says, “It’s really not safe for two women to be in this area alone, so I’ll accompany you to your vehicle.” Don’t find many southern gentlemen any more, and we appreciated his courtesy, even though the two of us can take care of ourselves. Bill and Ed always said if anyone abducted us they’d turn us loose.

  Mr. Neville came back to the shop on Saturday afternoon and I showed him how to set a job on the Ludlow, then how to make it up, lock in on the press, and feed the press. He got his job printed. He’s a strong advocate of keeping business at home and our factories in America. I’m also all for this. A native of McComb, he’s giving a presentation on keeping business on Main Street there tonight (Tuesday).


  Jim called early  Sunday morning to see how our Museum visit had gone. He was scheduled to met us there and had to cancel due to a rehearsal conflict. He’d commissioned a new piece of music to be played at the quintet’s early December concert.         This was the only weekend that the group could get together so Jim had to stay home. He was eagerly looking forward to a return trip to museum and I assured him that we’d go another time when he could be in Mississippi. I am sorry though, that he did not get to see the gin run. Jim was born after my dad died, so he has no ginning experience.

  When we were visiting Sunday morning, Jim was waiting for a rehearsal of the New Mexico State Quintet. They were playing for the dedication service of an addition to the Luthern Church. Jim’s accompanist, Martha’s, (who was here with him a few years ago when he played a recital in First Baptist) husband is pastor there.


  Was so sorry to learn of the death of long-time friend, Phyllis Blount, when I arrived at church on Sunday morning. Sarah had told me that she was very ill Thursday night—did not know Phillis was so sick until then. Sarah and Richard are good friends with the Blount’s son, Billy, and his wife. Sympathy is extended to Bobby, Billy and the entire family. We’ll miss her.


  Also learned Sunday morning that the Blue Devils had lost a very close game on Friday night, which eliminated them from post-season play. Wish they could have continued, but they did a great job this year and I’m sure they’ll be even better next year. Congratulations on your winning season!

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