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Old ways and traditional food still best
Patsy Arrington (left), Teresa Franklin (center) and Christy Hunley took the styles of days gone by to dress for old-fashioned day at Highland Baptist Church in Ridgeway. The food, also, harkened back generations with family favorites along with a few modern recipes. (Bulletin photos by Holly Kozelsky)
The folks at Highland Baptist Church recently paid a delicious homage to their roots.
On old-fashioned day, the hymns were traditional, the clothing was vintage, and eight tables groaned under the weight of at least 90 old-timey favorite foods — along with some new recipes.
The theme represented more than just sentiment, said Pastor Jeff Evans. It was a visual aid to help reinforce lessons from the past.
“Sometimes things we can see help us understand a lot better than what we hear,” he said in his sermon. “We forget what our grandmothers taught us. We forget what our mothers taught us. We want to have it our way, in our time.”
After the sermon, with every food imaginable (and some you’ve never heard of before), the congregation indeed had it their own way — while enjoying the recipes handed down from mothers and grandmothers.
“The ladies of the church do cook,” said Teresa Franklin. “There are a lot of good cooks. My mother-in-law, Ruth Franklin, is one of them.”
Teresa Franklin, 51, sings in the choir and is the assistant treasurer at the church.
“This church family sticks with you when you are sick or under the weather,” she added.
Franklin is a football fan. In fact, her love for watching Miami Dolphins games sets the scene for some of her favorite cooking: party food. She makes a lot of dips and other snacks to serve at football-watching get togethers.
She brought preacher cookies to the church dinner. For dinners at home, her favorites include chicken casserole, baked spaghetti and roasts, she said.
Her husband takes his turn with meals, too. “He loves to grill,” she said, and he “makes really good fried chicken.” He also makes delicious fish and is known for his bacon and egg sandwiches, “which everybody loves.”
Franklin is a big reader who enjoys reading mysteries, romances and other novels.
She and her husband Bill don’t have children, but they still have a houseful — four dogs, five cats, two ducks and some chickens. Their neighbors’ three children also come over often for visits. They are “like adopted grandkids,” she said.
Christy Hunley also is a football fan, but she roots for Virginia Tech. She also likes to play football. She has plenty of potential teammates: She has three children, Jennifer, 9, Brandon, 13, and James, 11, and she babysits one girl. “I love all kids,” she said.
Hunley, 33, lives with her mother and stepfather, Bonnie and Jim Drake, in Bassett. Their home is her “great-aunt’s house, built from the ground up,” she said.
To dress for old-fashioned day, she borrowed a long skirt from Franklin, who used to do historical reenactments with a group in Danville, Hunley said. Her favorite foods tend to be standbys such as snap beans, pinto beans and roast beef.
Patsy Arrington brought sauerkraut and weenies and pumpkin Dutch apple pie to the dinner. She is quite active in the church, including playing piano and singing. She comes from a family background of cooking.
“My mother was the greatest cook in church,” she recalled. “The preacher used to say we begin (the food line) at the big oak tree, but it began at my mother’s food.” Her mother is the late Elsie Chitwood.
Her father, Arthur Chitwood, “was a great gardener,” she added. “He raised everything.” The family lived in Rocky Mount.
Arrington’s family is her husband, Buddy; her son, Todd; and her step-son, Joey.
She runs a beauty shop on Kings Mountain Road, Patsy’s Dream Salon, and she also does hair for Norris Funeral Services.