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The Dart: Retired cook, mother of 9 trades kitchen for songs

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Vidalia resident Rosa Lee Warner reflects on her 34-year career spent in the kitchens at numerous area schools.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Vidalia resident Rosa Lee Warner reflects on her 34-year career spent in the kitchens at numerous area schools.

VIDALIA — Rosalee Warner has a nice kitchen.

It’s got a full-size refrigerator-freezer, an oven and stovetop that could cook for 15 and has lots of room to let cooks move around.

When The Dart found Warner on Davis Street Friday afternoon, the place she wanted to sit down and talk was right at the kitchen island bar in the middle of the room.

But there’s one thing she doesn’t do in there anymore, Warner said — and that’s cook.

That’s not because she can’t cook or because she feels like she’s above such everyday tasks.

It’s because, after raising and feeding nine children three square meals a day with her husband Eddie Warner Jr., and then spending another 35 years working as a cook in both the Concordia Parish and Adams County school systems, Warner said she feels like she’s done enough cooking for one lifetime.

That doesn’t mean that Warner looks at the time she spent in the kitchen — at home, at Vidalia Junior High School and in all of the schools in the Natchez-Adams School District — as anything other than a job she enjoyed.

In fact, when she described her work in the parish school system, she still moved her hands in a way that suggested she was subconsciously rolling out bread for school children.

“I loved baking,” she said. “I loved to make the rolls, to see the yeast rise in the big pot, to get my flour measured and roll them out, put them on the pan, put on the butter and put them in the oven.”

But after having prepared hundreds of thousands of meals for other people, Warner said she’s OK with letting someone else cook, and she eats out now.

While Warner has moved away in her retirement from preparing physical food, that doesn’t stop her from taking every opportunity she can get to celebrate the spiritual food she is able to receive in the three churches she attends, St Stephen, Zion and Young’s Chapel Baptist churches.

Warner sings in all three church choirs.

And while one may tire of a favorite dish, Warner doesn’t appear to be tiring of the contentment a song can bring.

“I sing in those three choirs, and I will sing anywhere else, because I love to sing,” she said.