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Veronical Johnson cherishes, appreciates friendships

Veronical Johnson, 58, was found at the four-way stop as you enter Oxford from Highway 30 Saturday afternoon.

Johnson was leaning on her car behind a table of gift baskets that she and her friend, Nora Ingram, were selling.

Johnson, who is originally from Oxford, now lives in Southaven with her husband, who works as a building service manager for a law firm.

When she isn’t making and selling gift baskets as a side hobby, she works part time as an event specialist for Sam’s Club.

Johnson has three grown children — all who live in other states — five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was a single parent for many years while raising them.

“We’ve had our aches and pains along the way,” she said. “But they are doing well.”

Johnson said she worked at a couple of factories in Oxford that include the Kellwood sewing factory before it closed and Whirlpool.

“I hated to see it go, but that’s manufacturing — here today, gone tomorrow,” she said.

Nora Ingram, her best friend, now helps her sell gift baskets.

“We met at the Whirlpool plant,” she said. “We started with helping my sister do some baskets for a church program. We get together and make the baskets up. It’s a joint business for both of us.”

Johnson said she appreciates her friend.

“I’m proud to have a friend,” she said. “My friend, Nora, is the epitome of what a friend should be. She’s been there when I was sick. My life revolves around the kids, and she’s been there. She’s been along the journey.

“Friendship carries no debt. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. If you got a friend, cherish that friend, because they don’t come by that easy. Anyone can say they’re a friend, but it’s in the way you show it.”

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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