Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Zeke’s Dress(ing)

My mom, dad, sister and I moved from the Ford to C-Town so long ago, grocery stores weren’t supermarkets yet. All the produce, canned goods, meat and candy was tucked into a very small space. A video store could easily take up the space one of our groceries did.

They were fun places, too, filled with people who remembered your name and brought the groceries to your house if you couldn’t get out.

The one my parents mainly used when we moved to town was called Crady’s. (I think it’s a lawyer’s office now.) They had a great candy counter, and gave us a bag full of the sweet stuff each month when Mama paid our grocery bill. (Yep, we charged the groceries, and paid like clock work.)

They also had a butcher counter. The woman who worked back there could grind hamburger or cut a steak or roast as well as my granddad, and that’s saying a lot!

The woman’s name was Evelyn, but everyone knew her as Zeke. When we’d lived in C-Town for a little while, we stopped driving home to the Ford each Sunday for church and started going to a local church.

Zeke and her family were members of that church. Zeke had two sons and a daughter, and our families became good friends.

Some of my happiest memories have that family as part of them.

Zeke went from being a butcher to the local tag agent, so everyone in town knows her. She has a great laugh, not a timid twitter. It just booms with joy. She rarely meets a stranger (one of my favorite qualities in a person) and makes anyone she’s around feel as if they’re home.

Zeke’s daughter, Lesta, has always been a good friend. We spent a lot of time together in high school and went to the same college. Lesta taught me how to make pinto bean sandwiches and to love Coca-Cola. (Mama always like Pepsi best.) Zeke had soft serve butter before there was any such thing. She set it on the table long before the meal while our mama kept it cold (and hard) so it wouldn’t go bad.

Zeke put her potatos in with her roasts from the moment they started cooking so they came out brown and soooooo good! She served wonderful Sunday dinners, which I got to share more times than I can count.

Zeke introduced me to avacado. And Mexican food. (Not at the same time.)

She loved and took care of her mother-in-law until she passed away.

Just to be very honest, Zeke is one of those people who lives her religion 24/7. If you don’t have a Bible, all you have to do is look at her life. She lives what it says.

Back in the day, our families would get together with the Hagbergs and the preacher’s family and a few others and we’d have a pizza night. The women would make sausage pizza, using Bisquick for the crust. (Makes a great breakfast, too.)

And they’d have a big salad with it. Zeke was nearly always in charge of the salad. I’ve never tasted anything as good as her salad dressing. Olive Garden would be jealous!

I’m going to share Zeke’s salad dressing with you today from our church cookbook.

Zeke’s Salad Dressing

1/4 C vegetable oil 1 C vinegar

Here’s the hard part– To taste:         salt and pepper         celery seed         Italian Seasoning         garlic powder

She doesn’t give measurements on the seasonings because she doesn’t measure. She eyeballs it. Now I’ve watched Zeke make this dressing a bunch of times, and I still can’t get it to taste the way hers did.

I probably just need more practice. 🙂

Zeke isn’t the tag agent anymore, but her granddaughter is, and Zeke still works at the tag office several days a week.

Like my daddy says because he thinks so much of her, “She’s quite a gal.”

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2 thoughts on “Zeke’s Dress(ing)

  1. Thank you for sharing. Being away from C-town for quite a few years, I was thrilled to hear about Zeke. Like you stated, she is one of those cornerstone rocks of a town and from the first day I met her, she was my friend. I just loved her………please tell her hello for me. 🙂 Grace

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