Leah Rucker is a seasoned entertainer, and Tattnall County will be treated to her vocal talent when she sings at the Sweet Sound of Country on Saturday, April 30 at the Glennville City Auditorium.
You will also be treated to her lovely voice on Saturday, May 14, during the afternoon of entertainment at the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival.
“I’ve been singing since I was quite young. My grandfather, Bob Walker, was the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Claxton, so I actually grew up singing gospel music. To this day, I enjoy the music of Lauren Daigle, Natalie Grant, and Mercy Me, just to name of a few of my favorite contemporary Christian singers,” Leah said.
She also is close to her grandparents, whom she credits with many years of her upbringing and the positive influence on her life.
However, Leah will be singing three country songs at the Sweet Sound of Country, which will be “So Small” and “I Told You So,” both by Carrie Underwood, and “Independence Day” by Martina McBride, but which is an old Randy Travis original.
“I have always liked Carrie Underwood since I first heard her on ‘American Idol’ and have followed her career ever since,” Leah said.
She also enjoys the country music of Faith Hill. Leah has previously performed at Tattnall Productions in Glennville, and her daughter sang, also.
Leah is married to Chris Rucker, and the couple live in Claxton. Chris is a truck driver for Claxton Poultry, but he is quite well known for his chainsaw wood carving. This talent has become more of a passion than a hobby, and he is also often contracted for special creations, which he all does ‘free style’ with the chainsaw in his shop at their home located near the Evans/Tattnall County line.
Leah and Chris have two children, Tyler, 22 years old, and Natalie, 16 years old.
Tyler and his partner, Cassidy, live in Statesboro with their six-month old daughter, Charlotte. Tyler’s older child, two-year-old son Cayson, lives in Glennville, and Leah is thrilled with the time she is able to spend with the two children. Tyler works for Daniel Defense in Pooler and is also in the National Guard.
Natalie is a junior at Tattnall County High School (TCHS), also working part time in the school office; she is also a cheerleader. Natalie just placed as third runner-up in the Miss Tattnall County High School (TCHS) Pageant. Her plans are to attend college to become a nurse anesthetist.
Leah is employed by Trident Care, a mobile medical system where she serves as an x-ray technologist; her job involves providing x-rays for the portable system that services the Glennville and Savannah area. She enjoys her job, which involves 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. days and working every other weekend, but this allows her a couple of days off most weeks. She also works part time for Chatham Orthopedic in Savannah, providing x-rays. Leah has been an x-ray technician for the past ten years, although she was first employed at Tippins Banks after high school.
Leah’s mother was the late Tane Jones of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who was a nurse but a talented singer and pianist as well. Tane was living in Glennville at the time of her death several years ago. Leah’s siblings include a sister, Amanda Parker, and two brothers, Jack and A.J. Parker.
Jack and Becky Cowart are the parents of Leah’s husband, Chris. They live in Hagan, where they are enjoying their retirement years. Chris has one brother, Frank, who is a truck driver for Claxton Poultry.
“My pastimes usually revolve around Natalie’s school functions and spending time with our two grandchildren, which Chris and I both love to do. Anyone who has grandchildren knows just how special they are to you and how much you cherish the time spent with them,” Leah said.
She chuckles when she comments on her culinary skills, confessing that her everyday preparations are not consistent, but that she likes to prepare casseroles. However, she loves to cook the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings every year.
Leah Rucker’s Recipes
PIG PICKING CAKE
For the cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup, softened)
1 (14-oz.) can mandarin oranges
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 (4-oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 (4 oz.) container Cool Whip
Extra mandarin oranges for garnishing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray nonstick spray in two round cake pans. Combine cake mix, butter, 1/2 cup juice from mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla (beat on medium for 3 minutes). Add drained oranges and gently stir. Pour batter into two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool.
In a bowl, stir together the juice from drained crushed pineapple with instant pudding. Stir in powdered sugar. Fold in the whipped topping. Stir in drained pineapple. Spread topping on bottom layer of cake, top with 2nd cake layer, and spread topping on top and sides of cake. Top cake with mandarin oranges for garnishment. I also add some to the sides all around.
Place cake in fridge for 3 hours before slicing. I always make mine the night before an event.
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. bacon grease
2 cups grated sharp cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (10-3/4-oz) condensed Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2-1/2 lb. sliced squash, cooked until firm
2 cups crumbled Ritz crackers
Sauté the onion in bacon grease. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine onion, 1-1/2 cups of cheese, salt, soup, sour cream, butter, eggs, and bacon bits. Gently add the squash and 1-1/2 cup of cracker crumbs. Pour mix into a 9x12-inch casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and top with remaining cheese and crackers. Return to over to melt cheese.
SCALLOPED POTATO CASSEROLE
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (the key is the thinner, the better)
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish. In sauté pan, melt butter and stir in flour. Slowly whisk in milk, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling; add in 1 cup of cheese. Once melted and sauce is creamy, remove from heat. Spread a layer of first half of potatoes onto baking dish and top with half of sauce. Make sure the sauce covers all of the potatoes. Repeat and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.