NOW WE’RE COOKING…. Spotlighting Greene Countians Who are Known for Their Efforts in the Kitchen.
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Reubin Ball revered for a lifetime of work and a lifetime of sharing love around the dinner table
By ANNETTE HARVISON
Over a million miles, in Greene County. 53 years of marriage. A lifetime of hard work. There is a man in our county that could tell some stories from all his years. He has been an example of what it takes to walk in your faith with a humble heart. He has been an inspiration for many and a strong leader for others.
Many people remember Reubin Ball from when he was the mail carrier for the Leakesville Post Office. He received an award from the United States Postal Service for having driven 1,000,900 miles on his mail route, all of which was driven in the county. He also once held the record for having the longest running mail route in the country.
He has also been known to make some of the best smoked meats in the county. His ribs fall off the bone, and his venison roasts seem to just melt in your mouth. Cooking delicious meats isn’t all this man can cook. He and his wife are known to cook up a fantastic Sunday feast.
Ball has been married to his wife, Freddie Ruth, for 53 years. They have had trials and hardships, but through their journey, they have forged a strong and enduring union. They work together, worship together, and they even get in the kitchen to cook and can their vegetables together. And Tuesday, they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.
Ball has known work since he was a young boy. He grew up in Greene County in a time when age didn’t determine your ability to have a job.
Ball said his family had no television and no radio. Work was a part of life, and the job depended on the need at home.
“We always had something to do,” Ball said. “We were picking cotton, picking peas or working around the house.”
He carried those same traditions and motivation with him throughout life. He worked hard to provide for his family, and he and his wife have helped their neighbors in times of need and just to be kind. The Balls have been a pillar to their community for a long time. For those that know the couple, you know there is more than can be told in a short story. Both are a testament to walking in faith and have been the backbone to their church for a long time.
I went to visit Mr. Reubin and get his tips for smoking meats, and the kitchen counter had the remains of a morning of canning tomatoes. They still had more to go, but had finished for the day. They invited me in and we talked about many things. He said he doesn’t use his grill as much anymore, but he used to have it fired up quite often. He would smoke beef, pork and venison. He makes some of the best ribs I’ve ever eaten.
“The best way to cook a venison roast is in the crockpot,” Ball said. “Sear it on both sides in a pan and put it in the crockpot.”
He said let the roast soak in the marinade overnight. He uses the same marinade for the roast as he uses on his ribs. After the roast is done cooking, he makes a gravy to pour into the crockpot with it. He said the meat falls off the bone.
With Mrs. Freddie by his side, the two can cook a meal that reminds you of Grandma’s house on Sunday afternoons after church. They cook with things they have grown or picked and put up themselves.
“I can fry a big bowl full of okra on Sunday and it’s gone,” Ball said.
I was invited to church on Sunday and welcomed into their home after for a wonderful dinner. Mr. Reubin wasn’t smoking or roasting anything that day, but he sliced and fried a tasty pork loin. He did fry a big bowl full of okra, and it did disappear. They had fresh corn on the cob and homemade macaroni and cheese. There was a bowl of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, scalloped potatoes and green butter beans.
Mrs. Freddie made delicious fresh fried corn and potato salad. She makes rolls every Sunday to have with dinner. And they had banana pudding and fresh blueberry cobbler for dessert.
They enjoy cooking Sunday dinner. The couple share their afternoon with some of their favorite people, two little boys that are young and full of life. Jon-Ellis and Charlie are their honorary grandchildren. They bring light into the lives of this couple, and they are happy to have them fill their home with laughter and smiles, and even the occasional sleepy tantrum. The Balls share their love and home with the little ones, and they also share an important meal that many people long for. Their two little grands were calling out for their corn on the cob, waiting patiently for their place at the table to be set.
“Jon-Ellis and Charlie bring a lot of joy to our lives,” Ball said. “We love having them over here.”
The table was set and the meal was wonderful. Mr. Reubin and Mrs. Freddie put the same love into cooking Sunday dinner as they do into everything. I was honored to be a guest at their dinner table.
Summertime is the perfect time to start a new tradition or rekindle an old one. Sunday dinners bring people and families together. They remind us of what is important. Some of the best things in life are paired perfectly together on a warm Sunday afternoon, such as a roast and whatever comes from the garden surrounded by those who mean the most.
Get some ribs, or a roast, and get your group together around the table. Share old memories and make some new ones.
Reubin’s Marinaded Ribs
Granulated garlic to taste
Black pepper to taste
Babyback Ribs (or other ribs of your liking)
Mix Worcestershire sauce, granulated garlic and pepper in a bowl, add meat and let sit 24 hours.
Wrap rack of ribs tightly in tinfoil and place in smoker. Cook for 3-4 hours. Cut ribs and brush with bar-be-que sauce and return to smoker for 45 minutes.
Reubin’s BBQ SauceIngredients:
1 quart of commercial bar-b-que sauce
1 quart of tomato juice
1/2 cup of vinegar
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
6 cups of sugar
Mix everything but sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Let mixture boil about 5 minutes then add sugar and simmer until thick, about 45 minutes, stirring often to prevent sugar from burning. Pour into jars when hot and keep sealed jars in pantry until ready to use.
Freddie Ruth’s Blueberry Cobbler
2 cans crescent rolls
1- 8 oz. pack cream cheese
1 cup cooked blueberries
2 sticks of butter
Line bottom of 9×13 pan with unrolled crescent rolls. Spread cream cheese over dough and pour cooked blueberry mixture on top of cream cheese. Cover with remaining crescent rolls. Melt and pour butter on top. Bake at 375 degrees until crescent rolls are done.
1 quart of fresh blueberries
Just a little water
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
Put blueberries in sauce pan and add just a little water and add sugar. Boil on low heat about 5-6 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to make a paste and add to blueberries. Bring to boil and cook for 3-4 minutes until thick.