South Mississippi Strong: Ms. Ruby cooks with love

South Mississippi Strong: Ms. Ruby cooks with love
Ms. Ruby, or Nanny as she's lovingly called, will be 81 in March, and she shows no signs of slowing down. She's a Nanny on the Go. (Photo source: WLOX)
Ms. Ruby, or Nanny as she's lovingly called, will be 81 in March, and she shows no signs of slowing down. She's a Nanny on the Go. (Photo source: WLOX)

POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - On most days you'll find Ruby Lee Smith in the kitchen of her small Poplarville home, cooking for others. Not because she has to because she wants to.

Ms. Ruby, or Nanny as she's lovingly called, will be 81 in March, and she shows no signs of slowing down. She's a Nanny on the Go. Just ask her granddaughter, Kelvie Culpepper.

Culpepper says her grandmother is always driving people around, taking care of them, bringing them food. If they've had surgery or they're sick, she's calling and checking on them and bringing them food.

And, it's not just a few meals here and there. Besides hosting huge family dinners over the years, Culpepper said her grandmother volunteers for church mission trips, feeding as many as 100 people, three times a day, for an entire week.

For Ms. Ruby, it's a labor of love.

"If I can do it, I do it," she said. "I like to kind of give back. I feel like it's what the Lord would want to me to do because look what He has done for us."

The walls of Ms. Ruby's home tell a big part of her story. Pictures of her beloved husband, whom she lost in 1984. Proud displays of her three children, seven grandchildren, and 12 great-grandkids.

Her's is a simple life, a life in which family and God are what matter most. It's a way of life learned as the child of a sharecropper, one of 11 children, a family always on the move.

"Whatever I get here on this Earth, I'm not going to take with me when I leave," she said.

Ms. Ruby had to learn at a very early age to make do with what she had. Her granddaughter said she does that even now with her very limited income. She somehow manages to take care of everybody she comes in contact with who has a need.

On the day we visited, Ms. Ruby was on a mission to make sure her niece, Madeline Smith, who had some recent health problems, had a nice warm meal and leftovers. When Madeline opened the door, she was all smiles and she gave Ms. Ruby a big hug and heartfelt thank you for the food.

When I asked her what she thought of her aunt she said, "Let me tell you something, not only is she a blessing for her family, she's a blessing to the community, a real cornerstone. Anything going on, she's there, for all us. I really do appreciate her."

And now you know why Ruby Lee Smith is one of the many people in our community helping make South Mississippi Strong.

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