It Won't Be The Same At Countryside Cafe Without Ponder

  • Saturday, August 26, 2023
  • Earl Freudenberg
Ponder and Marlene Geren
Ponder and Marlene Geren

The Country Side Café on Mahan Gap Road is missing its smiling and happy co–owner today.  Ponder Lee Geren Jr. passed away early Friday morning after an extended illness.

Ponder and his wife Marlene have carried on the tradition of preparing great meals, the tradition started by Marlene’s mother and father, David and Imogene Green, some 33 years ago. 

Ponder contracted cancer 16 years ago and has fought the battle but never gave up. The doctors gave him six months to live, but his family said God had other plans for their father and dad.  While battling the disease, Ponder still came to the restaurant greeting his customers with that famous smile and “How about some soft serve ice cream to top off that meal?”

Countryside Cafe had a soft serve ice cream machine.  Ponder would somehow make the cream in the cones into the shape of animals.  He was very artistic. The children enjoyed getting ice cream cones with cream-shaped animals.

One customer said, “It just won’t be the same without Ponder filling our glasses and cups with our tea and coffee.” 

Marlene and her staff will continue preparing that delicious fried okra, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, pinto beans and dozens of other favorites, but the smiling face of Ponder Geren will be absent.

Ponder was an excellent artist and loved to spend time on the water.  I’ll always remember the large Christmas stocking he gave this writer many years ago.  When I hang it  next Christmas I’ll think of Ponder.

Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander has known the family for over 50 years.  He said, “God had other plans for Ponder and he lived another 16 years.  Ponder was a cut up and enjoyed having fun.” Mr. Hullander has two of Ponder’s paintings hanging in the barn where the Red Back Hymnal Singings are held each month and his favorite paining is the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mr. Hullander said, “I don’t know how many meals Ponder has catered for me; we never had any complaints.”

He said, “Ponder hardly ever called anyone to make repairs because he was a great fixer upper. He’s enjoying a family reunion, and I can hear him now reminding his father in law about the day he installed their new cooker.”

Mr. Hullander said, “Linda and I ate there often and enjoyed all his desserts including the strawberry short cake.  It will be hard saying goodbye to our good friend but I know we’ll see him again someday.”

A visitation and celebration of life will be held next Tuesday at City Church on Lee Highway beginning at 4 p.m.

Ponder Lee Geren Jr. fought the good fight, kept the faith and is finally home with his new body.

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