Floyd and Justine Joiner were one of those go-everywhere-, do-everything-together couples. For 49 years, for better, for worse, they were as one.
So Floyd’s death two years ago shook Justine to the core. Her partner and soul mate was gone. Facing life without Floyd was going to take major adjustments.
“I guess one of the biggest was that I had never spent a night alone in this house,” Justine says from the rural Houston County farm home where she and Floyd reared their three children. “Trying to get used to that was probably the hardest part,” she said.
That got much easier last year, though, when Justine’s daughter and son-in-law, Gayle and Allen Tedder, their two kids in college, decided to sell their place in Tallahassee, Fla., and move back closer to Justine. In fact, after a little remodeling work, they moved right in the house with Justine.
It’s an arrangement that apparently is working well for all involved. Among the numerous advantages for Justine is that having the Tedders around has given her an excuse—as if she needed one—to get back into the routine of cooking.
It isn’t that Justine is obligated to cook; in fact, the Tedders keep insisting that she ease up a bit—for the sake of their waistlines, if nothing else—but to no avail. “I’ve always loved to cook,” Justine says, “and when there are folks here, I’m going to feed them.”
Even back during the 15 years that she worked a full-time retail job in Dothan, Justine never minded getting home and heading straight for the kitchen to put a hearty meal on the table. And after long days tending cattle and working in their peanut, cotton, soybean and corn fields, Floyd and the Joiners’ two boys, Chuck and Bill, undoubtedly were glad Justine saw things that way.
Today, Justine’s immediate family includes the Tedders; Chuck and his wife, Kaye, who live in Carrolton, Ga.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild, with another on the way.
Son Bill drowned in a pond on the farm in 1993; Justine can confirm that losing a child is the most traumatic ordeal imaginable.
It could be that, for her, cooking is therapeutic. If that’s so, let’s just say that Justine never passes up an opportunity for a “therapy session.”
Now, kick back, relax, and enjoy these great recipes from Justine.