By Ann Cipperly

Whether you are heading to the lake or relaxing at home this Memorial Day weekend, plan to serve plenty of scrumptious meals and icy cold beverages with high temperatures expected. While enjoying being with family and friends, set aside time to give thanks for the men and women who have given their lives serving our country. A day for remembering and honoring lost soldiers began over 150 years ago and became an official holiday in 1967, then moved to the last Monday in May in 1968, becoming a three-day weekend.

Locally, Col. David Hamilton was one of the soldiers we remember on Memorial Day. He grew up in Opelika and graduated from Cliff High School. David loved his country, flying and education. During the Vietnam War, he could have retired from the Air Force but did not want to leave his men during the war. He moved his wife and three children to his hometown.

On Jan. 31, 1966, while flying an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam, his F-105D Thunderchief was hit by enemy ground fire over Ha Tinh province. The native Opelikan was listed as MIA.

David had three children. Karyn Lynnette Powers was only 6 years old when her father’s plane was shot down. Her sister, Lorinda, was 9 years old, and their brother, Lamont, was 7.

Karyn remembers coming home and seeing her mother and older sister, Lorinda, in the bedroom crying.

“I was very young and didn’t understand what was going on,” she said. “When the family told me my father was missing, I couldn’t grasp that he might be dead, only that he was missing.”

Since David’s wife, Carolyn, was also from Opelika with family in the area, they continued to live here for several years. When Karyn was 16 years old, the family moved to Birmingham.

Over the years the family wondered what happened to the beloved husband and father. They did not know if he was killed or a POW. The family had been told that he radioed several times he had been hit. He reported there was smoke in the cockpit, and there was a fire.

“The trauma of not knowing whether he was alive was difficult for the family,” Karyn said. “We felt as though he could still walk through the door. It was a sadness that was always there. He was alive in our minds all those years.”

The family existed on hope, believing he could have been lost, had amnesia or had been in a prison camp. The Department of Defense declared dead legally dead in 1977.

Years later, when the family was notified of his recovery, Karyn said it took her a while to fully comprehend what happened.

“The impact of a life spent wondering about my father that I’ve never been able to connect to is numbing. Just the reality of putting a body with a memory is so powerful, and it’s such a miracle. I think it’s the greatest gift to have my father back home.”

Karyn’s brother, Lamont, flew to Hawaii to accompany their father’s remains to Virginia for the burial with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

David was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with a full military ceremony on June 28, 2007, his wife’s birthday. Karyn, who is an ordained minister, presided over his funeral. In her message Karyn said, “You will not be a forgotten soldier. You are our hero.”

On Memorial Day, the city of Opelika will host services to remember our military heroes who fought for the freedom of our country and the families who lost loved ones in the line of service. Services will be held at Courthouse Square at 10 a.m.

In case of rain, the 10 a.m. services will be moved to the Municipal Court Building located at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd.

Special music will be presented by the Opelika High School Choir, and TAPs will be by Neil Sasser. The Opelika Fire Department will have the Presentation of Colors and Laying of the Wreath. Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maryshay Ray is presenting the program.

Following the Memorial Day services, the Museum of East Alabama will host a reception for the public. Those attending can explore the museum’s 5,000 plus artifacts and view new murals and the 1904 tractor outdoor exhibit.

If you are able to attend the services and reception, you will still have plenty of time to relax in the afternoon and create a delicious meal for your family. The recipes this week include a variety of meat to cook on the grill or oven.

Select from recipes for ribs, brisket, pork tenderloin, chicken, pork chops and steak. Recipes for sides and desserts are also included. Clip the recipes to save for preparing delectable meals throughout the summer months.

Southern Grilled Barbecue Ribs

Julia Thomas
4 lb. baby back pork ribs
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
½  Tbsp. paprika
1  ½ Tbsp. salt
3/4 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
For Baking:
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
To make rub, mix together brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Rub into pork ribs. For best results, allow ribs to marinate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ribs in two 10 x 15-inch roasting pans. Pour water and red wine vinegar into a bowl and stir. Pour diluted vinegar over ribs and cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Baste ribs with their juices halfway through cooking.
Preheat grill for medium heat.
Lightly oil preheated grill. Transfer ribs from the oven to the grill, discarding cooking liquid. Grill over medium heat for 15 minutes, turning ribs once. Baste ribs generously with barbecue sauce, and grill 8 minutes. 

Turn ribs, baste again with barbecue sauce, and grill 8 minutes.

Oven-Baked Beans

Julia Thomas

4 strips bacon, diced

1 medium onion, diced

4 Tbsp. brown sugar

4 Tbsp. ketchup

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. prepared mustard

2 (15 oz.) cans pork and beans 

In a large iron skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towel to drain.

Sauté onions in drippings. Stir in brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and mustard until blended. Stir in pork and beans. Heat through. 

Bake, uncovered, in iron skillet at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly mixture reaches desired thickness.

Texas Brisket

Ashley Lovell

1 beef brisket, 11 to 13 lb.

16 oz. bottle Claude’s Barbecue Brisket Marinade (You can use a different barbecue sauce, but the taste wont be the same.)

Large foil pan and heavy-duty foil for covering

Start at least 16 hours before you plan on eating. Trim the brisket so that it will fit into the foil pan. You may ask the butcher to trim the brisket for you, but make sure you retain the fat that is removed.

Place brisket into pan with fat side down. Distribute any loose pieces of fat evenly over the top. Fill foil pan with marinade until it reaches halfway up the side of the brisket, typically a full 16 oz. bottle. Cover with two layers of foil and seal tightly. 

Plan to slowly bake brisket in oven for 13 to 16 hours (depending upon size) at 175 to 200 degrees. Cooking brisket slow and low” is key. If meat is not tender, it needs to bake longer. The aroma from the brisket should permeate through the kitchen before it is ever taken out of the oven.

Meat should shred easily with a fork. You may serve however you wish. I tend to cut with scissors into bite-sized chunks.


Leftovers are wonderful when mixed with one can of green chilies and a can of cream of mushroom soup and served on flour tortillas.

Pork with Chimichurri Sauce

Laurie Gilbert

Use either boneless pork loin or pork tenderloins. Rub with cooking oil; season with a Cajun seasoning of your choice (I use Tony Chacheres) and black pepper.

If using pork loin, bake in oven to about 160 on meat thermometer. I grill the tenderloins over low heat until well browned, turning often. I have done both. 

May be prepared the day ahead. Refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving. If using pork loin, split down the center and slice. 

Sauce may be done day ahead but is best if made day of serving. It should be at room temperature.

Chimichurri Sauce:

6 cloves garlic, minced 

2 Tbsp. minced jalapeño (minced or whole in jar)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

½ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

½ cup finely chopped fresh oregano or 2 Tbsp. dried 

3 limes, juiced

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Combine garlic, jalapeños and vinegar in bowl. Stir in oregano, lime juice and parsley. Whisk in oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Slice pork and spoon sauce over just to cover. Keep remaining sauce in bowl to add to pork when it is served on sour dough bread slices. 

Fresh Green Beans with Caramelized Vidalia Onions

1 lb. fresh green beans
2 Vidalia onions
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 to 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, optional

Cook green beans in boiling water to cover 15 minutes; drain. Slice onions into thin slices, and cut each slice in half. Sauté in skillet with butter and brown sugar until golden brown. Add green beans; cook until thoroughly heated. Toss with vinegar, if desired. Makes 4 servings. 

Janes Dill Slaw

Sis Whatley

1 head green cabbage, shredded

1 cup finely chopped carrots

1 cup chopped green pepper

4 green onions and tops, chopped

Combine all ingredients.

Dill Dressing:

½ qt. Hellmans mayonnaise

Juice of 2 lemons

¾ cup cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. dill weed

2 Tbsp. black pepper

Whisk ingredients together. Chill. Toss with cabbage mixture just before servings. Serves 8.

Dunmowin Oven Barbecue Chicken 

Julia Thomas
3 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
½ cup peach preserves
1 clove garlic
Hot sauce, optional
12 whole chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil for brushing
Combine barbecue sauce, peach preserves, garlic and hot sauce in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until hot. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil on 2 rimmed baking sheets and place chicken thighs skin side down in the pans. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven briefly, brush sauce all over the thighs, and then use a spatula to flip them over to the other side, being careful not to tear the skin. Brush the tops with more sauce and return to the oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, brush on more sauce, and return to the oven for another 7 minutes. Remove from oven, brush on sauce, and turn up the temperature to 425 degrees.
Continue roasting for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce is starting to brown around the edges and the thighs are totally cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Sherry Freeman

From 700 Cooking School in Savannah, Ga.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk to blend and dissolve salt.
While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture until blended. Set aside while preparing salad ingredients.
Two 15-oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained (can use fresh cooked black-eyed peas)
1 medium red or Vidalia onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, finely diced
½ green pepper, finely diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, split in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
Combine all ingredients in 3-quart bowl. Stir to mix well. Pour dressing over salad and toss to thoroughly combine and coat salad.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Potatoes Cooked on Grill

Denise Simmons

Thinly sliced potatoes

Thinly sliced Vidalia onions

Salt and pepper to taste


Spray a sheet of heavy-duty foil with Pam. Place sliced potatoes and then onions. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with butter. 

Put the foil up tight and place on grill. Cook on indirect heat about 45 minutes or 30 minutes on an open flame.

Pasta Salad

Caroline B. Bugg

Easy to half the recipe

24 oz. vermicelli pasta or pasta of choice

Prepare pasta and directed on package; drain. Set aside.

4 Tbsp. salad oil

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ Tbsp. salt

Combine salad oil, lemon juice and salt; mix well.

Add vermicelli to the liquid mixture. Cover in an airtight containers and refrigerate overnight.

Finely chop: 

1 cup celery

½ cup onion

1 bell pepper

Add to pasta, and then add the following:

Two 4 oz. jars pimento

8 oz. can sliced ripe olives 

2 cups good mayonnaise

Salt and pepper taste 

Stir well. Chill until ready to serve. 

Grilled Steaks or Flattop Grille Cooked

Strip steak, rib-eye or beef tenderloin filets


Salt and pepper to taste

Before grilling steaks, remove from refrigerator and let it set at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Brush oil on both sides of steak; sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on both sides.

Place steaks on grill and cook until internal temperature of 135 degrees for medium rare and 145 degrees for medium, turning occasionally. 

Let steaks rest for five minutes before slicing. 

Grille Steaks

Dry steaks well with paper towels in order to have a good searing. Season with salt and pepper. Add oil to grille. When oil is sizzling, add steaks, turning occasionally. Test for desired doneness with a meat thermometer. 

Teriyaki Marinade for Pork Chops or Chicken

Randal Farms
½ cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground black pepper
In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, garlic and pepper. Pour over pork chops or chicken. Cover, and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours, or overnight. The longer the meat is marinated, the stronger the flavor. 

Cook on the grill or bake.

Cheesy Bread

Julia Thomas

1 loaf fresh Italian bread, sliced in half

½ cup softened butter

½ cup mayonnaise

½ tsp. garlic powder

3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine softened butter, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Spread over sliced bread and sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Easy Blackberry Crisp

4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cornstarch

3 tsp. water

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ cup cold butter

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional

Place blackberries in a greased 1-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over berries. 

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over berries.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Blueberry Cream Pie

Randal Farms

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp. salt

2 ½ cups milk

3 egg yolks

1 tsp. margarine

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tsp. vanilla

9-inch baked pie shell

1 cup whipping cream

¼ cup confectioners sugar

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Beat egg yolks; add milk. Pour milk mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick. Remove from heat; add margarine and vanilla. Add blueberries. Cool, stirring occasionally. Pour into pie shell. 

Whip cream; add confectioners sugar. Spread over pie; chill.

Blueberry Banana Pound Cake

Randal Farms

1 ½ cups canola oil

2 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 tsp. soda

¾ tsp. salt

½ cup buttermilk

2 bananas, mashed

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

1 cup walnuts, chopped

¾ cup blueberries

Mix oil, sugar and eggs. Add flour, soda and salt. Mix together. Toss in nuts and blueberries. Add buttermilk, bananas and vanilla. Blend well.

Pour batter into a greased tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack.