The following story was told me by June Butts, and made tears come to my eyes. Picture a very poor family in the 1950's in South Texas, down on their luck, but filled with love and courage. June is speaking:
Daddy sat on the floor and gathered us eleven kids around him in a circle. I remember that he had tears in his eyes, so I knew what he was going to tell us was really important.
“Santa can’t come to visit you this year at Christmas,” Daddy said. “But he said to tell you that he could come in the spring. He promised you that.”
Times had been hard since Daddy had been hurt on the job and us kids were really looking forward to getting something special from Santa. But now Daddy was saying that a few reindeer had gone lame and Santa was rescheduling delivering some children’s toys until springtime. We all felt real bad about that, but we knew that it wasn’t our Daddy’s fault.
Then on Christmas Eve, Daddy stuck his hand into his jeans pocket and pulled out a single bill. “I have one dollar left,” he said to Mama. “I’m going down to the dime-store to get something for these kids.” Then he left the house.
A dollar seemed like a lot back then, but I knew that it couldn’t buy presents for so many kids. I also knew that my daddy could do about anything.
When Daddy came home he had bought a package of jacks. He gathered us kids around him on the floor, and played jacks with us for most of that night. And that was the best Christmas we ever had.
***June’s story made my eyes sting with tears, and I blinked them away. I pictured this sweet man, sitting with his children around him, celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus with an inexpensive package of jacks. How appropriate, I thought. Jesus came from a humble and hardworking family. Our Lord was born in a lowly manger. A thrill of joy filled my heart at a poor man offering all he had to his family on that special night. His offering must have pleased our Savior. June’s Daddy gave everything he had—his last dollar, his time, and most of all his loving heart.
And for your palate:
Heavenly Coconut-Meringue Kisses
Contributed by Nadine Cravello3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons shredded coconut.
Heat oven to 275 degrees (slow oven). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat 3 Egg whites with ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually beat in 3 Tablespoon of sugar or Splenda a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff. Fold in ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Gradually fold in 3 tablespoons of shredded Coconut. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Bake until delicately brown (about 30 minutes). Cool gradually away from drafts.
Enjoy with your family.
Published in DEVOTED TO COOKING by Jacqueline King and Jennifer Sohl. Publisher: Devoted Books an imprint of AWOC.COM Publishing. 2008
Available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.