As many of you already know, my dear mom Betsy passed away last Saturday morning, and Wednesday we had the funeral in East Texas, at Evans Chapel, a little west of the town of Leona, on FM 977. Leona is also home of the famous Leona General Store Steakhouse owned by my cousins Jerry and Mary Jane, and Jerry’s wife Cynthia. A short ways down HWY 75 to the south of the steakhouse is Pecan Grove Café, also owned by Mary Jane (AKA “MJ”). LGS serves catfish on Thursday night, and steaks on Fri and Sat, while the Café serves lunch Mon through Sat.
Anyway, MJ mobilized the family to attend a pot luck lunch at her house before the funeral, and folks brought all kinds of stuff.
Yummy mixed green salad, and potato salad and cole slaw.
Excellent fresh fruit salad and broccoli salad.
This was a great casserole with layered mixed vegetables.
Fantastic black eyed peas and a huge mess of rich chicken and dumplings.
Sue Keeling made a huge bowl of delicious cornbread muffins. There were also loaves of cheese bread.
MJ did some of her brisket glazed with red wine and jalapeño jelly. It’s really good and (according to her) very simple to do.
Cynthia brought a mess of fried chicken. Someone made a big pot of pinto beans.
Michelle sauteed up a big batch of tender green beans and mushrooms in butter.
There was a big dish of sweet baked beans with lots of bacon.
MJ commissioned Lucie Ballard to make me a strawberry birthday cake; my traditional cake. It was good, but not as good as mom’s or MJ’s. Still, you have to love the sentiment.
Sue Keeling, the East Texas Queen of Pies, brought one of her famous chocolate pies, and a coconut cream. Both were fantastic, with the flakiest of crust.
Someone else made a big dish of pecan cobbler, which was sinfully rich.
My first plate.
The Funeral Pot Luck is the perfect way to fuel everyone up before giving a loved one a big sendoff. After the service a bunch of us went back over to supplement that fuel for the long drive home. It was all just about as perfect as it could be. Thanks to all the folks that brought grub, and to MJ, Tad, and Michelle for hosting with such open arms, and to all the family and friends that helped to usher Betsy up into the pearly gates.
Mick Vann ©