The word Christmas conjures up many images that send me hurling back in time to when my husband Claude Mason was pastor of First Baptist Church, Rossville, Georgia. Here are some of my favorite Christmas foods and the ladies behind the recipes.
As Christmas approached, the Mason family began salivating for the arrival of our tin of Christmas candies prepared by the Herods. There were five selections: fudge, fruitcake cookies, divinity, sugar cookies and peanut butter fudge. The peanut butter fudge, hands down, was our favorite, and we were prone to make sure no one got more than his or her portion.
Audrey Herod and her sister Mary Lois, both unclaimed blessings, delivered our tin of goodies to us. Audrey was the Personnel Secretary of our Walker County School system. She ran a tight ship including never issuing us teachers our first paycheck of the new year until we’d submitted to her the results of our annual physical. With the passage of time and the coming of personal health problems, it gave me joy to stay in touch with Audrey via phone calls, cards, and occasional visits.
An all-time favorite of our family was also the all-time favorite of our entire church family, namely the WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) rolls of May Ferguson and Lucy Stonecypher. There are some perks to belonging to the pastor’s household. Any leftover rolls after the monthly WMU meeting automatically came home with me. Both Lucy and May were known to make up additional batches for us on every holiday. My family never tired of these melt-in-your-mouth rolls, nor the love and attention Lucy and May showered upon us. Stretched across the sofa where I’m working on this blog is a beautiful hand crocheted bedcovering May gave us when my husband retired from First Baptist.
|From the WMU cookbook|
Whether it was pecan pie or a holiday fruit salad you could count on Frances Jackson to deliver the goods. Frances was a natural with young children both in Sunday school and choir. She was also a vital part of our adult mission projects. Having one of the most beautiful homes among our congregation, she made it available for meetings where those invited dined on mouthwatering delicacies. To his day when I’m called upon for a casserole I always prepare Frances’s holiday fruit salad because it’s easy to prepare, pleasant to the eye, and readily consumed.
When you enter a new pastorate it’s wise to learn the family connections. Sometimes the people involved may seem to be exact opposites.
|THE original recipe|
Coconut Cream Pie made by Janelle Harp, sister of Frances Jackson, was a favorite of my husband’s—not that any of my family ever saw a desert we didn’t like. I never would have thought Frances and Janelle to be sisters. They didn’t look alike nor act alike. The two things they had in common was being good cooks and participating in mission projects.
All my church friends, as well as my husband, are now deceased. This memory slice of pie, like the books I write, sends me traveling down yesterday roads.