Christmas Gift Idea: Sweetness Follows

by Meredith Johnson

Best friends Sam Lane and Andrew Houston graduated from First Presbyterian Day School and Jackson Prep together, and then moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia.

One Friday afternoon of their junior year, Sam was riding his bike in an organized ride to raise bicycle awareness when he was hit by a drunk driver and sustained life-threatening injuries. Although doctors did not believe Sam would make it through the night, he survived but faced weeks and weeks of difficult recovery. After a five-week coma and a two-month stay at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Sam has proven a fighter and is a true miracle.

Andrew’s mother Katy visited Sam and his family regularly –but wanted to do more. She decided to put her love and background of cooking to work – and baked a different homemade dessert to deliver to Sam and the Lanes every Monday morning. This became a weekly tradition that continued for the lengthy recovery – 62 total weeks until Sam moved to Oxford to continue his studies at Ole Miss.

To tell the story of Sam and all who loved and cared for the entire Lane family, Katy compiled the recipes of the treats of the week – plus more – and published them in a cookbook Sweetness Follows.

“The reception of the publication of this cookbook has been overwhelming,” says Katy. “It has, again, been such a testimony to the love and support of Sam and the Lane family. I personally have enjoyed all of the book signings, interviews, etc. because it has again given me an opportunity to be with Sam.  His quick wit and humor never ceases to amaze me. It is just a pleasure to be around him again.”

This tribute was truly a team effort. Friends of Katy met on a weekly basis to receive recipes to test and evaluation forms to use for suggestions and selections such as different sauces or other elements.  Katy’s friend Patty Roper styled the food for beautiful photographs taken by Greg Campbell.

Sweetness Follows became available in early October, and Katy and Sam have made multiple stops around Jackson signing books – and they have even made a trip to Athens for a book signing. Portions of the proceeds from the book will be given to the Wilson Research Foundation at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. The book is available at bookstores and gift stores around town, online at http://sweetnessfollows.com/store/ as well as in the First Presbyterian Church bookstore.

“The page in the cookbook that is my very favorite is the collage of photos of Sam and Andrew,” says Katy. “The one of Sam sporting that hat and Andrew with his toothless grin was taken during one of the many wonderful years spent at First Presbyterian Day School.”