By Stacey Patton Wallace
My friend Leigh Ann, like me, was born in the Old Russell Hospital in Alexander City, Alabama (“Eleck” City to the locals). In fact, we both grew up on Scott Road and became friends at Radney Elementary School, remaining close throughout our school careers.
In high school, Leigh Ann weighed just 105 pounds. However, I weighed 105 at birth. When we graduated from Benjamin Russell High School in May of 1981, our paths diverged. While Leigh Ann took some courses at Alexander City State Junior College (now Central Alabama Community College) for just summer quarter and then went to Auburn University in the fall of 1981 as an accounting major, I, being a big Mama’s girl, attended ACJC for two full years before transferring to Auburn my junior year. Leigh Ann was always great at math, and at Auburn, she took advanced math courses such as calculus, while I can only spell the word. I have never been a math fan; to me, it is simply a distasteful four-letter word. My Public Relations/Speech Communications major required either 10 hours of math or philosophy. So, yep, I became a philosopher. Anything was better than being tortured in two math classes.
Also, Leigh Ann was more industrious than I in college. She took classes at Auburn in the summer quarters and worked at TG&Y. Therefore, Leigh Ann graduated from Auburn in December 1984, while I graduated in June 1985.
Soon after graduation, Leigh Ann moved to Texas, where she achieved a great deal of success working for the state for 34 years. Before she retired in 2019, she was the chief of tax and supervised 300 people. Her office audited businesses in Texas for unemployment tax.
When Leigh Ann decided to move back to Sweet Home Alabama after she retired, I was elated.
She is still in terrific shape and looks wonderful, but I love her anyway. Unfortunately, the sale of her house in Texas coincided with the pandemic shutdown, so the move in May 2020 was a difficult one. However, I am thrilled that my childhood friend now lives just eight miles from me.
Awhile back, I met Leigh Ann for lunch at Lucy’s, which is located at 2300 Moores Mill Road in Auburn. I had never been there before, but Leigh Ann had, and it’s practically in her neighborhood.
Sydney, our young waitress, was an absolute delight. She was kind, helpful and charming. I predict that she will be a success in life.
Leigh Ann and I shared Lucy’s Pimento Cheese, which had Bacon Onion Jam and was served with grilled bread. Oh, my two times. That was the BEST pimento cheese I’ve ever had at a restaurant. A DEFINITE do over. Other Shares at Lucy’s included: Truffle Parmesan Fries, Gigante Bean Hummus and Charcuterie & Cheese.
We both chose the Juicy Lucy Burger, winner of the 2019 Burger Wars. The burger had Bacon and Onion Marmalade, Poblano Aioli and Sharp White Cheddar Stuffed. It was well named because it was very juicy and delicious. We chose fries as our side.
Lucy’s Friday lunch menu also included the following sandwiches: Grilled Walnut Pesto Chicken Sandwich, Ahi Tuna Burger, Adult Grilled Cheese and Lucy’s Reuben. Diners may choose either House-made Sea Salt Kettle Chips or fries. Also, Lucy’s offers the Catch of the Day (market), which includes Roasted Carrot Puree, Burnt Vidalia Onion, Community Garden Squash and Champagne Beurre Blanc.
For dessert, I tried a slice of the Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie, which had Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream layered with Lemon Curd, Torched Meringue and a Georgia Pecan Crust. It was great.
Lucy’s is open on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; closed on Monday; on Tuesday-Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.; on Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.
Leigh Ann, I am so glad you are back home. This one was for you.
Lucy’s makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org