Kay Wildman goes from scrubs to flowers

Kay Wildman is flanked by her daughters, LuAnne Wright, left, and Estee Dunaway.

By Margaret Anderson

News Editor

Kay Ford Wildman of Alexandria was 15 when she went swimming at Crystal Springs one day with her sister-in-law Dorothy Ford. She met an 18-year-old by the name of Maurice. As they talked, they learned that both of them were leaving for Panama City the next day.

Kay didn’t realize how smitten Maurice was with her. He told her that he’d walk on the beach until he found her.

Kay didn’t think it would be possible with so many tourists on the beach.

True to his word, Maurice spotted her.

“I was at a place where people came together and danced at the beach,” Kay said. “It was called The Hang Out. People put quarters in the juke box and played music. Somebody walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and there he was.”

They dated a year and married at West Point Baptist Church when she was 16 and he was 19. They’ll be married 53 years in June.

“We’ve grown up together,” Kay said. “We’ve had some good times and some bad times. I’m thankful that he’s a good man and we’re still together. It worked out for us.”

Kay’s parents are Truman and Estelle (Wilkerson) Ford. Her brother, Glennis Ford, lives in Golden Springs, and her sister, Mary Manning, lives in Rockvale, Tenn. Her sister, Joann Brothers, is deceased.

Her brothers, Carl Ford and Burnett Ford, are also deceased.

Kay worked for Dr. Thomas Brothers the last two years she attended Jacksonville High.

She was his receptionist. She was introduced to the medical field through that job and retired 10 years ago after working at several places.

“It’s what I fell into and I loved it,” Kay said. “My sister was a nurse for Dr. Brothers. He was a good boss and he took good care of his patients and employees. I went back to him and had my knee injected by him when he was 80 years old.”

For the past eight years, Kay has worked at Valley Florist, Gifts and Boutique for Regina Watson at111 Big Valley Drive in Alexandria. She delivers flowers, answers the phone, takes orders for flowers and “anything else that needs to be done. It’s a great environment. I love seeing all the pretty things that are made there. Regina is a great boss and the other girls that work there are really nice.”

Working in a flower shop is far removed from the medical field, but Kay said she was ready for a change.

“It was an opportunity that fell in my lap and I took it,” she said. “It’s only five minutes from my home.”

Kay and Maurice have two daughters. Estee Dunaway and her husband, Robbie, their son, Micah, live in Ohatchee. LuAnne Wright and her husband, Anthony, live in the West Point area outside Jacksonville with their children, Brayden and Marlie.

Kay said she loved every minute of bringing up her daughters. Now, they’ve given her two grandsons and a granddaughter, and she’s enjoying her time with them.

One of her favorite things is attending Bible study once a week at LuAnne’s beauty salon.

“It’s a small group, but we enjoy studying the Word,” Kay said. “We sit down around a table and choose a subject to study. We’ll study it for a few weeks, then change to another.”

Kay is a member of the Ohatchee Church of Christ. She said she has a lot to be thankful for. She’s proud of her family and loves her church and her friends.

“I’m very thankful and blessed,” she said.

Kay shares her daughter Estee’s recipe for Pecan Pie. Kay said Estee makes it for special occasions and “it’s very good.” LuAnne makes her mother happy when she makes Chicken Enchilada. Kay said that Dump Cake is a quick and easy dessert to make.

She’s made it for many years. Sweet Potato Soufflé is popular with her family at Thanksgiving, Christmas or any special occasion

PECAN PIE

1 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 T. butter, melted

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven until center reaches 200 degrees and springs back when tapped lightly, about 55 to 70 minutes.

CHICKEN ENCHILADA

1 lb. chicken strips

Sea salt

Ground pepper

1 T. olive oil

1 can enchilada red sauce

1 small can green chilies

2 cups mild cheddar (shredded)

Burrito shells

Cook chicken, olive oil, salt and pepper in a skillet. Mix 1/2 can of enchilada red sauce, green chilies and cheese.  Spoon mixture in shells and bake on 350 for 25 minutes.

DUMP CAKE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump cherry pie filling into 13 x 9 inch buttered cake pan. Spread out evenly in pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over filling, cover with pecans drizzle butter over top. Bake for 30 minutes. Strawberry and Apple pie filling works well also for this recipe.

SWEET POTATO SOUFFLE

Poke sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil-covered baking sheet until they are soft, I sometimes microwave. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, place the flesh in a large mixing bowl and mash until very smooth. Add 1 egg, half cup of sugar, 2 heaping tablespoons of butter,  one teaspoon of vanilla, half cup of milk and a pinch of salt.

When smooth I butter a dish pour in the mixture, smooth it out, cover with miniature marshmallows place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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