(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Nanci Rauls of the Buckeye Community is well known in the area as "the antique lady." She is the owner of Antiques, Etc. "Antiques & Architectural Salvage."
She grew up in Meridian, Miss., where she gained an accounting background. She worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Meridian for seven years. When she was younger, she taught dancing including ballot, tap, and tumbling. She loved riding and showing horses.
She married Bud Rauls 20 years ago and moved to Arkansas where they settled in the area where his parents and grandparents settled. Mr. Rauls is a pilot and worked as a crop duster for many years. He and his son, Billy, farm 2,500 acres. They are the third and fourth generation of Rauls to farm in the area. The Rauls came to the Buckeye area in the late 1800s. Bud and Nanci live in a house that once belonged to his uncle and Billy lives in the house that was originally Bud's grandparents.
Mrs. Rauls' daughter, Fileesha, lives in Meridian. She shows and trains barrel horses. Her son, Todd, is a chemical engineer and lives in Baton Rouge.
Mr. Rauls' daughter, Melinda, lives in Alabama and is a homemaker.
They have eight grandchildren.
After they raised their children they became foster parents for special needs children. They were foster parents for seven years.
"It was not always easy, but it was rewarding," Mrs. Rauls said. "Many of the children who stayed with us have kept in touch through the years."
She has always loved redoing furniture.
"My dad always loved old furniture and I guess that is where my love came from," Rauls said. "I don't think I have a new piece of furniture in my house."
She turned her hobby into a business about 10 years ago and started an antique shop.
"I don't believe in throwing anything away," she said. "Some of the things I start on people think should just be discarded but I love restoring old furniture. One of her favorite things to do is building a piece of furniture from the ground up making custom items."
She also creates sturdy pieces. She is not into the "delicate" furniture.
She and her husband have built on, knocked out walls, and continually change their country home. Some of her furniture belonged to her grandmother.
She believes in recycling and reusing. One of the big items in demand is entertainment centers. She recently completed one using old doors to make the cabinet. Some of the unique pieces she uses in her own home include an old buffet used for a double sink in the master bathroom, She has an outside door with stained glass for the bathroom door, the island in her kitchen is made from an old store counter, two old windows taken from a church are used as a divider between her sun room and television room, an old wrought iron fence from Louisiana is used as a divider between the dining room and sunroom. She also made her own unique chandeliers.
Her husband helps when he has time and Jessie Enmon and James McComas also help. They work on the farm and in the antique business.
Two working fireplaces in her home feature old, unique mantles.
"I had one man tell me my mantle would really look good when I finished it," she said. "He was surprised when I told him it was finished."
Mrs. Rauls sells from her home and has dealers in Memphis, Little Rock, Forrest City and Jonesboro. She also has furniture on consignment in a shop in Jonesboro.
"It is hard, dirty work but I love," she said. "It is rewarding to see the finished product. When I work on furniture it is like food for my soul."
She pointed out you don't have to be large to move heavy furniture. She has learned through the years how to move furniture without hurting herself or the furniture.
She also enjoys painting wall murals. She prefers to paint the scenes on wallpaper so when she gets ready to change, she can remove the paper and is ready for the next masterpiece.
She can not only decorate the kitchen, build a table, and make a chandelier, she can cook. She said she really enjoys cooking and having people over to eat. Being from Mississippi she said she really likes red beans and rice dishes.
"On Thanksgiving we have duck and dressing," she said.
She is sharing some of her favorite recipes.
Duck and Brown and White Rice
2 fat ducks
3/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onions
Salt, pepper and sage to taste.
Put above ingredients in large pot and over with water. Simmer until ducks are tender and falling off the bone.
Cook rice according to package. Add enough duck stock in place of water to add flavor.
Debone duck and return to liquid. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve duck and liquid over brown and white rice.
Red Beans and Rice
2 Tbsp. A-1 sauce
2 Tbsp. Heinz 57 sauce
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 pounds smoked sausage
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans red beans
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
Saute onion and bell pepper. Add beans and tomatoes. Slice sausage into quarter size. Add to skillet. Add sauces and cook for 1-1/2 hours on low heat.
Serve over bed of white rice.
Bread Pudding in Lemon Sauce
6 pieces toast, chunked up in pan with one stick of melted butter
4 cups scalded milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup raisins
Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/2 stick butter
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
Mix and chill