Debbie Buttram Pruett remembers how much she enjoyed working as a candy striper at Piedmont Hospital when she was in high school. Ironically, her first job, though it was as a volunteer, was at a hospital, she ended her career at another hospital, Regional Medical Center in Anniston.

Debbie spent several years working as a medical assistant. She was an EKG technician at RMC for eight years. She liked to work there, but she was beginning to face some health issues and decided she could take better care of herself if she retired.

In between working at hospitals, Debbie worked at sewing plants, Tape Craft and General Dynamics at Bynum. She had her own upholstery business at one time.

“I did odd jobs for people,” she said. “I’d fix their furniture, and they liked it. So I took a home study course, got my diploma and opened my own business. It wasn’t difficult learning it. I like learning, and I’m always willing to learn something new.”

Since she’s retired, she has more time to care for her father, James F. Buttram. She also has more time to work in her flowers, take care of her home, cook and doing the one thing she enjoys so much -- singing gospel music.

She and Brenda Johnson are the Gospel Two. They sing at the Gospel Music Hall, which has recently opened on Ladiga Street, churches, reunions, benefits and nursing homes. Debbie can play the piano, mandolin, harmonica, base guitar and rhythm guitar. She’s currently learning to play the fiddle.

“I love my gospel music,” she said. “All of my relatives on my mother’s side sang and played instruments. My dad plays a little guitar. It took me years to get interested in it, but once I did, I loved it. I play by ear.”

Debbie said she’s often told that she sounds like Loretta Lynn or Kitty Wells. She and Brenda have made several CDs.

Thought she as a variety of interests, she said her most important interest is the Lord.

“I love Him first,” she said. “He puts all my music in perspective. I just pray that people get a blessing out of it. I’m nothing special without Him.”

Debbie is proud of the fact that both her children play the guitar. Tammy Brooks and her husband, Scott, live in Phenix City, where she is a registered nurse and works in administration and he teaches school. They have two children, Justin and Hannah. Her son, Charles Bryan III lives in Arlington Va., and works for Capital One Bank.

Her brother, James D. Buttram, is deceased.

Debbie is a member of Plainview Congregational Holiness Church.

“I love house work,” she said. “I’m just a homebody except when it comes to my singing, then I’m ready to go.”

Debbie said her mother, the late Mary Margaret Buttram taught her to cook. She likes to invite friends to her home. She’ll cook a dish, and everyone else brings something.

“We’ll have a big dinner,” she said. “Everybody loves my cornbread. My mother taught me how to make it. I think the biggest secret about it is something my mother told me. She said when you mix it up and put it in the pan, always put a little love in there with it and it’ll turn out good every time.”

Now that she’s retired Debbie has more time to cook for herself and Howard as well as their family and friends. She makes a pan of cornbread for her father every night.

“That’s what he wants,” she said. “I just live probably not a half of a mile from him.”



  • 1 box pistachio instant pudding
  • 1 (9 oz.) Cool Whip
  • 1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple
  • 2 c. miniature marshmallows
  • ½ c. crushed or chopped pecans
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, cut and drained

Mix dry pudding into Cool Whip. Add pineapple with juice, mandarin oranges, marshmallows and nuts. Refrigerate.


  • 1 can Pet milk
  • 1 ½ c. sugar
  • 2 c. rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 T. vanilla flavoring

Cook rice one evening and place in refrigerator to let cool. The next morning, add all ingredients. Mix well and cook at 330 degrees until the pudding is done. Make sure to grease the pan with butter before cooking.


  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ c. creamy peanut butter
  • 6 T. milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) Cool whip
  • 1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
  • ¼ c. peanuts, chopped (roasted)

Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and peanut butter. Mix well. Gradually add milk. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust and sprinkle with peanuts. Chill overnight.


  • 1 (9 oz.) pkg. Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini Pasta
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar Mario Batali Alla Vodka Pasta Sauce
  • 1/2 c. sweet pepper bruschetta topping (or roasted red peppers)
  • 2 lg. eggs, beaten (or ½ cup egg substitute)
  • 1 (6 oz.) pkg. Kraft Fresh Take Italian Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumb Mix
  • 1 lb. chicken breast tenders
  • 1 c. Kraft Touch of Philadelphia Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • ¼ c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss pasta with vodka sauce and bruschetta topping. Place in 9 inch square baking dish. Place eggs in shallow bowl.

Place bread crumb mix in second bowl. Cut chicken into bite-size portions.

Dip chicken into egg (allowing excess to drip off).

Finally, coat chicken with bread crumb mixture, press with fingertips to coat evenly. Arrange chicken on top of pasta (wash hands).

Bake 25 minutes.

Top pasta with cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees and cheese melts.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool. Chop basil. Sprinkle over top and serve.

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