By Ginna Parsons
THAXTON – When Jeris White was 16 years old, her father thought she was getting a little too serious about the boy she was seeing and told her to end the relationship.
Instead, the young couple ran away to wed.
“I met Tommy in Northwest Florida when I was in high school,” said White, 72. “Daddy said, ‘Cut if off,’ so we went to Mississippi and eloped. We got a judge in Lucedale and got married on a Wednesday night at an Assembly of God church in Biloxi.”
That was 56 years ago.
White went on and finished high school, and then she and Tommy began moving around for his job – a lot.
“She figured it up one time,” Tommy chimed in. “We’d been married 30 years and we’d moved 36 times.”
In 1986, the Whites moved to Plantersville, where they lived for 18 years before settling in Thaxton in 2005, when Tommy retired.
They attend Thaxton Baptist Church.
“We grew up Pentecostal and now we’re Baptists, so we call ourselves Baptecostals,” she said.
White was actually born and raised in Kansas and Nebraska, so after she married, she turned to her mother-in-law for some direction in Southern cooking.
“And she taught me without measuring ingredients, so that was interesting,” said White, whose first name is a combination of her mother’s nickname, Jeri, and her father’s middle name, Davis.
She’s been good about writing down her recipes with specific ingredients and amounts so she can pass them to her three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“Once my daughter called me from Belize wanting to know how to make giblet gravy,” she said. “That was interesting.”
White is quick to point out that Tommy is a big help in the kitchen.
“He does all the grilling and he deep-fries the chicken,” she said. “My husband has been my right arm, seriously, for 56 years.”
At least once a month, the Whites get together with friends and neighbors in the Thaxton community for what they call “tea.”
“It’s really coffee,” she said. “Every couple of weeks, maybe once a month we meet for coffee and sweet treats. There’s usually about six to nine of us, men and women. I tell you, we can come up with some of the best discussions.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.