Thursday, December 20, 2012
The Preacher’s Corner
Gracious gift from a treasured friend
I received a wonderful Christmas delight this week from one of my best church members, Martha Jane Jones — toasted pecans! I can’t write about everybody who is kind to me, but ‘Lou’ as her friends know her, is always so very supportive and considerate. Ministers need friends like her.
Having my very own toasted pecans is a special treat. I say my very own, because when I was a child, I remember how my grandmother used to make them to serve at her card parties, and the best I could do was to sneak a few when she wasn’t looking.
Grandmother was a wonderful housekeeper and cook. Born in 1879, she’d reared four children and worked alongside my grandfather who was the dean at Delta State. That made her responsible for entertaining students and faculty on various occasions. I doubt anybody ever asked her if she chose to be a wife and homemaker instead of having a career. She would probably have laughed at the question. My grandmother lived long before women’s liberation.
My grandmother kept busy, or was kept busy, with her many household duties. In my lifetime that was helping to care for me, as well as my mother and father, as we all lived in one house. Her one outlet for pleasure was the card club. They’d meet one or two evenings a week at a member’s home and play canasta. It was a very sedate kind of entertainment with lots of merriment and conversation. The biggest thing that ever happened in the canasta club was when one of the ladies traveled to California and danced with Lawrence Welk on his TV show.
The card club was made up of all ladies, except for one husband, Mr. Turnipseed, who somehow joined the group.
The ladies would work hard to serve a nice plate of refreshments before the card table was cleared and they began the game. Of course the food looked delicious to me, but it was strictly hands-off as far as I was concerned. That’s why sneaking a few toasted pecans was so much fun.
I am sure my grandmother knew what I was up to, but that did not cause her to make any pecans for me. That’s why I treasure these from Lou so much. I am parceling them out a few each day.
When I was older and lived in Chicago I discovered that pecans made a wonderful gift for Northern friends. At least in those days pecans were not as widely marketed and people in the North were not used to having them. They grew lots of pecans in the Mississippi Delta near where I was raised, and a man in Cleveland named Bevo Michael had a shop behind his cafe that bought, shelled, and sold these excellent nuts.
Daddy loved to buy pecans from Bevo and pick them out as he watched TV in the evening. He and I would choose the nicest halves to put in little boxes for me to take back north when I would be home for Christmas visits. For some of my more whimsical friends I’d also take Moon Pies.
I think my Northern friends thought the South was a mix of Lil’ Abner and Granny Clampett, interspersed with Gone with the Wind. I did not try to change these impressions. In any case, my accent would have betrayed the effort.
Toasted pecans are a gracious expression of things that are pleasant and good in life, and at this Christmas season, I am grateful for these lovely delights, as well as for the friend who gave them.
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