I have written countless stories about Nanny and what a positive
influence she was in my life but maybe I never completely described
how important she was in the lives of others, our family and those who
met and fell in love with her. She taught me by showing me how to
live, love and care for those you encounter along the way; many of her
life-stories were conveyed by the meals she prepared and shared with
Her name was Ruby Brooksey Teel Scott; she was born on January 14,
1904 and lived to be ninety one years old, passing away on May 30,
1995. Her mother, Lottie Davenport Teel owned and operated a boarding
house in Fayetteville, Georgia for most of her younger life and that
is where she learned cooking, cleaning and sewing skills that she used
to care for her loved ones during her long and eventful life.
Holiday meals at Nanny’s house were always special because she was
such an excellent cook and although she had little formal education,
she was able to perform those tasks with little to no assistance.
Once Scott was old enough to read she enlisted his help with baking
her famous cakes and unforgettable candy items but if he made a
mistake, she quickly corrected him and then continued the cooking and
baking for which she was so famous.
Nanny was not overly fond (her words) of turkey and although she did
serve it occasionally, she preferred a hen when making her
Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Once I was old enough to drive her
around, even though she drove her car until she was ninety, when I
took her to the grocery store I always heard her tell the butcher-man
behind the meat counter that she wanted a fat, fresh hen, "be sure it
has not been frozen" she told him. According to Nanny, freezing the
bird changed the taste and texture.
I have never eaten cornbread dressing quite as good as hers and I am
sure it was because of those plump hens that she used in the
preparation, if you do not know the difference in broth and stock then
perhaps you do not understand this statement, the difference is
certainly in the stock. In the rare occasion that she had any
left-over stock, it was immediately frozen for future use.
Nanny was as kind to the janitor and cleaning lady as she was to the
Mayor or the President of the bank, as nice to a stranger as she was
to a beloved friend. Although I was close enough to hear her express
exasperation about someone she might encounter, she never let that
cause her to be unkind. If she had reason to be hurt by someone, she
was careful to keep those feelings private.
You had to be in her tight circle to know the real Ruby Scott; she
enjoyed a good joke and had a laugh that was unforgettable. See you
in Glory, Nanny.
Brenda S. Brown