COOK OF THE WEEK: Pontotoc ‘bag lady’ totes her treats all over town

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

You might not know Ann Jones by name, but if you’ve spent anytime in downtown Pontotoc, you’ve probably seen her.
She’s the one going door to door, delivering all manner of goodies to the people who make her life easier.
“Pecan pie, chocolate cake, banana pudding – they will take anything I bring,” said Jones, 66. “My financial planner wants the bread pudding. He tells me that he’s eaten it at nice restaurants in Tupelo and that mine is better. And I get lots of legal advice, which I pay for in coconut pies.”
Her doctor, her jeweler – no one goes hungry when Jones is around.
“I give cupcakes to prisoners picking up trash on the side of the road,” she said. “I stop them and talk to them. I may get mugged one day, but believe you me – old Ann’s gonna talk to them and encourage them.”
Jones, the third of four children born to Claudious and Marie Andrews, grew up in Ecru. She learned to cook mainly because she was a poor farmhand.
“Mother was a great cook but she worked in the field a good bit,” said Jones, a mother of two and grandmother of three. “I chopped cotton some but I wasn’t very good at it, so I stayed at the house a lot and cooked.”
Jones worked for 25 years in the office at Lane Furniture in Pontotoc and before that she spent 12 years as a deputy circuit clerk for her mother-in-law, Evelyn Jones. The first 10 years of her working career were spent at the Futorian furniture company in Okolona.
She met her husband of almost 42 years, Claude, in April 1970.
“We were driving through the Chat & Chew in Tupelo and we started talking. I couldn’t keep him away from me,” Jones said.
Her husband recalled a different story.
“She chased me all over town,” Claude said, laughing.
They started dating and married that August. They’ve been inseparable ever since.
Together, they grow a large garden behind their Pontotoc home. So far, they’ve harvested peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, winter and summer cabbage and corn. They’re about to plant peas and squash.
“Claude pretty much does the garden and I put everything up,” she said. “We’ve got a freezer full of food and a pantry full of canned goods. I love to try new stuff and he’s good about eating.”
Jones said she loves to read the newspaper and cookbooks to find new recipes to try on the folks on her regular downtown route.
“I want to thank the people I cook for because I love to cook,” she said. “And I appreciate them letting me get it out of my house.”
Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.