(In the key of Paul Revere) James is coming! James is coming!

(Original blog post written by Whitney Lee for Andrew Lee Design in October 2017)

As much as it pains me to say it, Auburn alumni have this freakish loyalty to each other. It's like they're cajuns or something.

I am caught up in this fraternity of Auburn grads, but I suppose my lot could be worse. I do not hate the fruits and friendships that have transpired because of my second-hand affiliation. 

A few weeks ago, Andrew sent a text along the lines of: "James is in Auburn. Might be stopping by."

That would be James Theodore Farmer, III.

So after reading the text, I did what any respectable lady would do: yell at my kids and threaten them with spankings if they interrupted my frantic cleaning and sweet tea making. And dammit, why didn't I have more southern staples in my house! All I had planned for supper were "hot sandwiches, with poppy seeds if I can find them". That would have been fine on any ol day, but on a James-day, this is disreputable. 

But wouldn't you know I served those hot sandwiches on my blue and white plates with blue and white napkins on a faux bamboo tray, and James loved what he called my "funeral sandwiches." Southerners have a way of making things cute, comedic, or comedically morbid. So in spite of my lame menu, we all enjoyed a southern treat. ("What Satan meant for harm...")

It was there in our disgraceful backyard that we hosted the Southern Living editing, author, and landscape architect himself. The more I think about it, the more horrified I am. But James is a Christian. And I had sweet tea, buttery sandwiches, and John Henry's incredible golf swing to distract from the lack of warning of our company's arrival. 

It was also in that disgraceful backyard that we all discussed upcoming and exciting projects for James and Andrew too. (Remember him, that Andrew Lee? Poor thing, I've been on a rabbit-trail of butter, blue and white, and sweet tea). James spoke of his project at Oak Bowery Plantation and collaborating with Andrew for a series of botanical watercolors. In my best Alabama accent, I said "YAYAS." 

Would you know that the artist painted some of those botanicals in the car during the 6 hour trip to Louisiana for the Auburn/LSU game (final score LSU-27, Auburn-23).

James selected the subjects for the series; some of my very favorite in florals. From the artists perspective, Andrew says also the most complicated. He said it with a laugh....after they were complete. All I know is that I am going to need prints of those beauties. I already know exactly where they're gonna go. 

James has been a loyal friend to Andrew and me, and I would frantically make sweet tea all over again if he dropped by. 

I did get a wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday: his latest book. Andrew's work is featured on page 53 but I am addressed as Queen in the front signed page. Needless to say, we are both happy Lees today. 

So to quote The Auburn Creed, I believe in southern friends, sweet tea, Andrew Lee artwork, James Farmer's books and being referred to as Queen and love it. Geaux Tigers. 

Whitney's Funeral Sandwiches:
24 Hawaiian sweet rolls
deli ham
swiss cheese
1 T poppy seeds- if you have 'em
1/2 c. butter, melted- or more
1 1/2 T dijon mustard- or any mustard, really
2 T dried minced onion- or onion powder
1 1/2 t. worcestershire sauce

1. Cut rolls in half; set tops aside. 
2. Place bottoms in a lightly greased 9X13 baking pan. 
3. Layer ham and cheese on top. 
4. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over top.
5. Bake, covered with foil at 350 for 15-20 min.