(From the kitchen of Linda Turvan)

When I married Mac in 1984, I received a HUGE bonus….his precious brothers and sisters. In their family, there were a total of ten children; five boys and five girls. Since that time all four of Mac’s brothers have passed away. There are still the five sisters and three living brothers-in-law. It took little time to bond with this marvelous family. I love them and now they are my family too.

There is one sister, Ava McWhorter, that never married. She is a dedicated R.N. In 1964, she left teaching at Louisiana North Western University School of Nursing to pursue a career as a Baptist Missionary Nurse in the Gaza Strip. She was there for twenty-two years and had many interesting experiences. In order to save an Arab baby girl’s life, she took her into her apartment for protection. In time; she became attached to the baby and named her Dawn. She made a difficult decision to keep the child and began adoption procedures. The adoption procedure took five years and cost her the loss of her career as a missionary. The legality of adoption was difficult and stressful. Finally after five years and the adoption finality, she and Dawn made their final move to the United States. Ava continued in the nursing field while raising Dawn as a single mother.

Dawn is now 26 years old and works as a Dental Assistant in Dallas. She will be getting married in August, 2009. Ava retired this year from the Presbyterian Village Nursing Home, Homer, La. where she served as Nursing Supervisor. She has been the mayor of the town where she lives (Dixie Inn, La. ) for the past eight years and will be running for mayor again this year. Ava is an amazing person. When anyone in the family has a problem (especially medical), she is always there for them. She was here for us when Mac had his heart surgery. She is the glue that holds the McWhorter family together. To know Ava, is to love her.

Friday, July 11, Mac had an appointment with the doctor at VA Hospital, Shreveport, La. We spent the weekend with Ava. She is a gracious hostess; making us feel comfortable and welcome. While there, one of the things we did was go to her and Mac’s niece’s home. Their niece and her husband, Annie & James Edward Scriber live on a farm with cows, chickens and dogs. Also on their farm, there are enormous fig trees; Ava and I picked several buckets of figs in less than an hour….that was so much fun. When Mac and I returned home, I canned two gallons of fig preserves. My first experience at canning and believe it or not, was successful.

However, the recipe I am giving you this week is not for fig preserves but is for this chicken casserole Ava served us our first day with her. It was given to her by a friend, Linda Turvan. It is incredibly easy, delicious and another KEEPER.

Thank you Ava, my dear special sister-in-law. You are a KEEPER yourself.

• 6 chicken breasts
• 8 oz. sour cream
• 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
• 1 tube Ritz Crackers
• 1 stick butter
• 1/4 cup poppy seeds

Cook chicken breasts. Cut chicken in pieces and place in buttered 9X13 inch casserole dish. Mix sour cream and soup; spread over chicken. Crush crackers and mix with poppy seeds; sprinkle over sour cream/soup mixture. Melt butter and evenly pour over top of casserole. Bake at 350o for 45 minutes.