Meeting Ms. Bertha

I’ve become quite the connoisseur of concession stand food over the last two years, writing about several experiences, including a stint working at the New Albany Sportsplex. My next food journey takes me to East Union, where I had the opportunity to speak with the one and only, Ms. Bertha.

Bertha Burgers are synonymous with Urchin athletics, but it’s not only her unique, and rather large, burgers that receive all the attention, it’s the entire stand she runs.
When I watched the East Union-Myrtle match-up last week, that particular day marked Bertha’s 25th year working for the school. A 1965 graduate, serving the school she loves has been her profession, working as both a bus driver and running the concession stands. A stroke nine years ago doesn’t slow her down either, and while she no longer has a bus route, she is still a prominent fixture at all sporting events.
And she makes you work for your food during basketball season, as the concession stand is hidden at the school. I had never been to the one at East Union until that night, and I was prompted to just “follow my nose;” that would lead me to Bertha.
Sure enough, I found her and about half of Union County crammed in a room. Thankfully I was able to speak with her for a few moments and listened to several stories from her tenure at the school, including how she was there for baseball coach Chris Basil’s 200th win last season.
While I have not experienced a Bertha Burger, I am well aware of  the other items on the menu, including the best popcorn in Union County as well as the most amazing hot dogs ever (I will refrain from using the name that Johnny Epting calls them).
And it’s not just East Union that enjoys the treats, it’s the entire county, as several people told me that’s why they come out to the games.
To put things in better perspective, Bertha talked about the success of her concession stand, citing the $900 she made in one night.
For a junior high game.
On top of that, she had 80 burgers prepared for the East Union-Tupelo Christian varsity match-up earlier this month. She sold out by the third quarter of the girls game, which I’m sure left many disappointed for the remainder of the evening.
For what it’s worth, I tried to get her secret for the burgers, but was unsuccessful. Regardless, people like Bertha make this county interesting, and she should be recognized for the hard work she’s put in at East Union.
Here’s to another successful 25 years for Ms. Bertha!