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Aunt Rena and Chicken Sausage Gumbo

Aunt Rena, “Sarge”, the one in charge, offered a helping hand to whomever needed it. She passed last week August 31st, 2022. When it was her time to go, she went fast. She was never one to give in or give up. She always spoke her mind and stood up for those she loved. It doesn’t surprise me that when she couldn’t do for others, she knew it was her time to go. At 90 years old, after a life of giving and sacrifice she passed on. It makes me smile to think of the reunion going on in Heaven right now. I am certain she is still in charge.

She was a hairdresser, and she was bossy. She always threatened to cut my bangs when I would let my hair fall in my face as a kid. I still as an adult have dreams that Aunt Rena cut my bangs.


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

This next recipe blog is in honor of her. I planned to post Mamaw’s Recipes in order they are in her calendar, but this week is special, and Rena deserves some recognition. I fondly remember Aunt Rena’s delicious gumbo. This gumbo recipe was in Mamaw’s book. I am not certain it was Rena’s. I remember Rena using seafood and this recipe only calls for chicken and sausage. It also doesn’t look like Rena’s handwriting, but I can’t be certain. (Family that reads this let me know your thoughts… whose handwriting… whose recipe?)

Ingredients/ instructions

  • 2.5lb chicken (I couldn’t find a chicken this small) cut in bite size pieces salt and pepper to taste and fry in oil; boil neck, wings, and back in 2qt water

Sauté following ingredients in big skillet

  • 4 stalks celery chopped

  • 1lb okra

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup bell pepper

  • 1 or 2 cans whole tomatoes

Pour sauté mixture in large pot, add chicken stock, Roux (gravy from frying), and sliced smoked sausage (recipe doesn’t say how much sausage….) cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer for about 3 hours. Serve over rice.


Papaw Possom’s Facebook Tribute to Rena:

Walterine Vincent Scarbrough 10-24-32 / 08-31-22


2nd born daughter of Myrtle Maurine Hand Vincent & Claude Melbourne Vincent

Sisters: Sarah Lee Mixon, Mattie Sue Mosley, Elaine Gunn,, Jeffery Lynn Mayatt, & Patricia Ann Kotouc

Brother: Claude Melbourne Vincent Jr. aka Sonny aka Possom aka Horse’s Ass

Born at home as was all her sisters, Sonny being the only child born in a hospital. Rena excelled in basketball at Collinsville having 3 Vincent girls playing on the same team at one time. She was named as All State guard before leaving high school.

Married Louis Scarbrough ( Tebo) and helped him raise his daughter, Frances and son, Louis Jr. in Pine Bluff Arkansas where she ran a 3 chair hair shop while “Tebo” worked at the paper mill. Tebo’s parents ran a Fishcamp / river logging operation on Pascagoula River at Cumbest Bluff where family vacations were planned & great memories were made!

After Tebo passed,Rena returned to Collinsville in the early 80s and began taking care of elder family members or anyone needing assistance during a illness or other situation.

I hung “Sarge” on her as a nickname, which fit & stuck. She was a take charge, get it done kind of woman. She did not like dillydallying, drag around, or procrastinating so when events were planned she would step in after the first “I don’t know, or whatever they want to do!”statement and give out orders to everyone, thus “Sarge” became another family & community name for her. She also hung Horse’s Ass on me which tickled my wife, Leilani, immensely!

Rena loved her church, Old Union Baptist, her church family, & her “pastor” Mike Vick. She was a faithful member until her health began to restrict her attendance.

Rena’s close friends, the McKees, always kept her going and she loved it. Eating out and visiting we’re her favorite activities. Neshoba County Fair and Mardi Gras were also yearly events of hers; she also loved fishing in the Pascagoula & White Rivers or Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs Arkansas. She was an avid hunter going to squirrel camp in the fall with Tebo and our father. She also loved deer hunting and rode a four wheeler to & from her stand from her trailer through the swamp to her stand at the hunting club north of Okatibbee WMA.

Rena was a giver not a taker, always insisted on paying her way or more. Refused to let anyone freely give her anything. Money would be tucked in your pocket and she would get mad if you refused it. Swapping it back & forth was a common game, as several friends and family would slip it under her glass or put it where she could find it only to later find it returned after the next visit.

Rena’s health issues began early restricting her from having children. Her bones gave her problems through out her life. Back and hip surgeries, prior to breaking her ankle on September 13th, 2022, and later her right femur on June 2nd, 2022! Cancer reared it’s nasty head and she fought that battle, it had returned to her left lung in the last year. Heart issues & an aneurysm also but she kept battling them all until the combination overtook her!

I had the privilege of caring for her along with my wife, Leilani, in her last days. She did not want to be a burden to anyone and reluctantly allowed me to assist her at the end. She was here from 12/31/2021 until 06/02/2022 and loved being able to sit and watch the place out of her door. She loved our dogs and they loved her. Family and friends visited, life was good. Her last fall put her back in the hospital & rehab. With her health failing we brought her home with Southern Care hospice’s help on August 24th, 2022. Her last week here was great, she knew what was happening and struggled to not be a burden during this time. She had four good days as she slept an entire day after getting home. Her friends, pastor, & family got a chance to visit her and she knew them all. Talking with her loved ones before the pain exceeded her capacity. She slipped out and went HOME to be with Jesus & all those family members which preceded her.

There will be a memorial service at Old Union Church at 4PM on September 10th, 2022. Afterwards a celebration will be held at Papaw Possom’s pavilion, everyone who knew her & loved her are invited! There will be music, food, drinking, and smoking! This is a family event and kids are expected & welcome, so adults need to behave and act accordingly. Rena loved our gatherings whether she rolled out in the wheelchair or just watched and listened from her room. BYOB and a casserole. Yard games will be played. Tales will be told.

While she was passing this poem came up on my dad’s feed. We all know Facebook and google know what’s going on in our lives, but it seems special, and I wanted to share it. I am happy my dad brought her home and she had family with her and Gypsy (the dog that loved her most) at her feet when she passed.

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