Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas calls for coconut cake! An ode to Jim and Mary Bell

I had no intentions of visiting here until well after Christmas day.  But I couldn't help it....
I'm busy in the kitchen last night when my phone tells me I have a message.  I stopped what I was doing and the above picture is what I have. It took me a second to figure out what it was.  It is from my brother.  His message was "Mary Bell & Jim would be proud."  Mary Bell & Jim were our maternal grandparents.  She was famous for her cooking, the big family dinners & coconut cake.  What my brother didn't know was I was finishing up icing my coconut cake for Christmas Eve dinner.
Now fast forward to this morning.  The icing is set.  My coconut is thawed.  (I didn't bust a real coconut.)  I have since found out that he didn't make a coconut cake.  He was just busting the "real" coconut for his mother in law.  She's gonna make a cake.

So here's a portion of my cake.  (It's complete now but I didn't take a pic.)
A couple of years ago my mother in law had surgery to remove a portion of her lung.  She wasn't up to the big Christmas Eve meal so we all pitched in and pulled it off.  It was the first year I tried my hand at the cake.  I haven't made it since.  Until last night.  We are helping her out again this year.  Try to take a load off of her so she can enjoy it.  I said let me try to perfect my skill.. She was gracious and said ok.  (That took guts because she knows my skills are limited.)
Anyway, as I am putting the coconut on my cake, there's Christmas music playing & my mind raced back to a simple time. 
D made the comment to the boys last night that he use to have to go to my house for our family Christmas meal.  He said "And it was in the car port!  With a LOT OF PEOPLE there.  People I didn't know!!"  Well... I can't help it.  We have a big family and my grandmother always felt the need to invite any and everyone that ever held a spot on the family tree.  (or so it seemed) And in doing so, we outgrew her house.
I couldn't help but think how thankful I am that my family is set so steep in traditions. 
I, like, my brother, think that they would be so proud.  She especially.  I don't know if she really liked to cook that much.  I just know when she did it was always a table full of food and there was always a lot of people.  I can see her drop her head and smile when someone complimented her. 
She was a Godly woman.  He was a simple man.  I loved seeing him in his overalls.  That's how I remember him. 
I may not cook a meal big enough to feed "Cox's army" and I may not do a lot of other things,  but the things we have done all my life still remain.  And those things have been passed on to my boys. 
We hold the meaning of Christmas near.  We know it isn't all about Santa.  We know it is all out the baby in the manger.  The gift He gave us. We know it's all about the family.   That is the main thing that was passed on from Jim and Mary Bell.  Their house was small.  But their hearts were huge. 
I don't plan on being back for a while.  So again, until then, enjoy the time with your family.  Sit still a little longer.  Soak it all in. 
Merry Christmas Y'all!

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