That day, a DC9, Southern Airways Flight 242, headed for her front yard, sounded like a tornado to Sadie and her family. Everyone ran for the basement, but Sadie didn’t quite make it down the stairs. She was thrown half way.
Sixty-five passengers on the plane and 10 people on the ground were killed. Twenty-one on the plane survived.
That was the day Sadie, who was a busy working mom at the time, knew where she was supposed to be and what she was supposed to be doing. It’s taken her a while to get there, but she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
After her children received their educations, married and started their own families, Sadie decided she would go back to school to get a minor in emergency management and a major in psychology.
“I’m doing this,” she said, “so that if I ever have to go through that again, I’ll be prepared. That’s also the reason I want to be a counselor. It left me with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and I want to work with members of the military who have it or those who have suicide ideation.”
The fact that she’s 74 hasn’t deterred her. She said she’s always been in one school or another and has always stressed education to her children.
Two years ago, she received her undergraduate degree at Jacksonville State University, and two days after that, she started graduate school there.
“If you stay active and busy and are constantly challenging your brain, it will stay younger,” said Sadie. “It’s better than sitting around doing nothing. It’s better to work and learn new things and have new goals. If you have one goal and accomplish it, get another one, or if you fail at that goal, get another one. You won’t feel old and depressed.”
Sadie reads a lot of Norman Vincent Peale’s books and believes they would help others.
“He’s the most encouraging writer I’ve ever know,” she said. “But the Bible is the best book in psychology.”
Sadie is director of the U S. Armed Forces Tribute Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization.
“We’ve worked really hard for a long time,” she said. “We’re not where we want to be yet. We want to buy a large piece of property which would allow families to honor those in their family who served in the military by putting their names on walls. Even though they didn’t die during service, they still need to be honored.”
She said that there are 450,000 veterans in Alabama.
Sadie has had several jobs and lived in two states.
She worked as a front office medical administrator in Marietta, Ga., and was executive officer of the Bartow Area Board of Realtors in Cartersville, Ga. She lived in Piedmont near her son, Eddie Burkhalter, then moved to Ball Play to be near her daughter, Courtney Morris. She recently moved to Centre but visits friends and Eddie and his family, as well as her sister, Jean Foster, in Piedmont.
Eddie and his wife, Katie, have three children. Courtney and her husband David have two children. Her son and daughter-in-law, Stan and Stacy Burkhalter, live in Crossdale and have six children. Another son, Steven Burkhalter, lives in Woodstock, Ga.
“I still do a lot of my shopping and banking in Piedmont,” said Sadie. “They have some wonderful thrift stores. There’s not a thrift store in Piedmont that I haven’t been in to. They have wonderful things to buy.”
Sadie is big on recycling and said that shopping at thrift stores is a good way to recycle.
“If you take something that’s no good and you make something nice out of it, what greater feeling can you have,” she said. “I can relate that to my degree in psychology and counseling. I’m taking something that’s broken and making it better. Broken pieces, like broken tea cups are beautiful when they’re put back together. That’s the way I think about it. That’s the way I feel about our soldiers.”
Collecting tea cups, broken or not, is one of Sadie’s favorite hobbies.
“I collect tea cups with roses on them,” she said. “I buy them at flea markets and yards sales. Some of them are very old, but they’re beautiful. They’re like the old women who like to have tea, they’re a little chipped but they’re still beautiful. The home I’m living in now doesn’t have a rose in the yard, but I call it the rose cottage because I’m going to plant roses and one day there’ll be a yard full of them.”
Another thing Sadie likes to do is renovate older houses. That’s what she’s doing to the house she’s living in now in Centre and that’s how she helped make a living for her family for many years.
Sadie was born in Marietta, Ga., and has a sister, Barbara McPherson, who still lives there. Her brother, Jimmy Foster, lives in Leesburg. Another brother, Lewis Foster, is deceased.
Cornbread is the first thing her mother taught her how to make, and it’s still her favorite.
“She taught me to cook cornbread when I was about 10 or 11 years old,” said Sadie. “She’d call me from work every day and remind me of the two things I needed to do -- bake a pone of cornbread and water her flowers.”
Sadie said she’s offering some simple dishes “because so many people just don’t know how to cook real simple, cheap, tasteful and filling food. All they do is put something in the microwave or open a box and mix a bunch of stuff together. You really don’t even know what you’re eating with all the ingredients on the box. I know you can open a can of pintos but they don’t taste as good as those you cook for hours.”
Unlike most recipes today, said Sadie, the dishes she suggests require only thee or four ingredients which are inexpensive and affordable for almost everyone.
Hand Churned Chocolate Ice Cream
2 c. sugar
½ c. Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ c. all-purpose flour
¼ t. salt
2 c. milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. vanilla
1 qt. half-and-half or light cream
1 c. whipping cream
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt. Stir in milk and eggs. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just boils. Reduce heat, cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla, half-and-half, and whipping cream. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and chill until cold.
Freeze mixture in a 4 to 5 quart ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove blade and stir ice cream. Cover and place container in freezer for 4 hours. Makes 2 quarts.
Baked Mac and Cheese
2 1/2 c. of uncooked macaroni
2 1/2 T. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
4 T. butter
3 c. shredded cheddar or any cheese you like
1 c. milk
Cook macaroni until tender, drain. Mix flour, salt and pepper together. Spray oven safe dish, place ½ macaroni in the dish, sprinkle ½ flour mix over the top with ½ butter.
Sprinkle ½ cup cheese over the top. Repeat. Pour milk overall, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes until top is golden brown. Quick easy and delicious!
There is a secret to making sweet southern tea. Bring 3 small tea bags to a boil in a boiler of hot water (for a two quart pitcher). Let it come to a rolling boil for a few minutes, then add just a pinch of baking soda, it takes out the bitter taste—too much soda will make the tea too bland. Then turn off the heat and let the tea sit for 5-7 minutes and pour it over about 6 tablespoons (or more) of old fashioned granulated sugar, stir and add water to the top of the pitcher. Pour over a glass full of ice cubes and enjoy, especially while sitting in a rocking chair on the porch. I was little during World War II when sugar was rationed and I missed sweet tea, as any child would.
This takes just a few minutes to mix up when you’ve done it often enough.
2-3 cups of Martha White buttermilk cornmeal mix
Some folks like it thick and some like it thin, just add more meal for the thick kind, suit yourself. We always used Perkinson’s stone ground corn meal, but I can’t find it anymore.
Add enough whole buttermilk to make it soupy, if you can still find whole buttermilk, if not put 1 tsp. white vinegar for each cup of sweet milk you need and let it sit for an hour or so until it turns. It won’t be as good, but it will do. I prefer lots of buttermilk to make it lighter.
1 heaping tbsp. solid Crisco
Heat oven to 450 or 500, when it’s hot put Crisco in seasoned iron skillet and let it melt in the oven while you mix the meal, egg, and buttermilk in a bowl. Leave it in there until just long enough to melt the Crisco or it might catch on fire. You can take the skillet out just before all the Crisco melts to be safe. Watch out for that hot handle!
Then add the hot Crisco to the bowl and mix. Pour all of the mixture immediately into the hot skillet and return to the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Oven heat varies so watch the bread to make sure it browns to a light brown color. I’ll eat it almost burned it’s so good, had to learn to like burned bread because we didn’t waste anything.
The hot Crisco in the skillet will make the meal crispy on the bottom so when you turn it out onto a plate and it’s upside down it will be crispy and brown.
Dry Pinto Beans
Package dry pintos, large or small depending on how many people you need to feed or how many leftover beans you will use.
Small piece of fat back or salt pork
Another little secret to cooking pintos is to add ½ tsp. of fennel seed to alleviate the problem of indigestion. Check the beans to get all the tiny rocks or bad beans out. Rinse them twice in cold water, leave them in a covered boiler or crockpot, cover with at least three inches of water over the top to soak overnight.
In the morning add the meat and more water if needed, start boiling them on medium for about 3-4 hours on top of stove until tender or all day in the crockpot. Add salt to taste. Always keep plenty of water in the boiler to add the soup you’ll need for the cornbread and to keep them from burning if you’re cooking on the stove top. Stir often.
Keep another pot of water hot on the stove top to add to the beans so you don’t stop the boiling process. Nothing smells up a house worse than burning pintos. I know because I’ve burned enough of them, that was when the children were all little and before crockpots were invented. You can add cornbread to a bowl of beans with some raw onions or add pepper on a plate to eat with them.