By Ginna Parsons
RANDOLPH – Come October, Vara and J.D. Waldo will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
But she tells the story of their courtship like it were yesterday.
“One Sunday afternoon, my twin sister and a friend and I were walking and three boys came up in a yellow convertible and started talking to us,” Vara recalled. “I said to my friend, ‘Oh, I’d like to go with that good-looking J.D. Waldo.’ That was a Sunday, and the next week he came and sat by me at a ball game. I was 15 and he was 17. We dated three years and then we married.”
The Waldos went on to have four children – one son has since died – and they have 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
“We moved away from Randolph a couple of times to get jobs but we always came back home just as soon as we could,” she said.
Vara could cook only two things when they married – chocolate fudge and french fries. But J.D. had learned how the hard way: His mother died when he was about 11.
So J.D. taught Vara how to cook.
“First, he taught me cornbread and biscuits,” said Vara, 78. “Then he didn’t help me for about 40 or 45 years, but now he helps me a lot.”
In fact, it’s J.D. who’s known around the community as the Apple Dumpling Man.
“I’ve got a pan of Apple Dumplings ready to take to a lady that broke her leg,” said J.D., 80. “A lot of times when people have a benefit, we’ll make two big pans.”
Vara said it’s their way of giving back to the community.
“That’s what we do instead of sending flowers when someone passes away,” she said. “We take a big pan of dumplings.”
The couple also cooks lunch for their family ever Sunday and they prepare supper for them once during the week.
“We have at least 10 when they’re here and we have had as many as 30 to 35,” J.D. said.
They might prepare chicken stew with slaw, creamed potatoes and peas, or a roast with potatoes, carrots and onions and some green beans.
The Waldos are no strangers to sickness. He has emphysema; she has arthritis and has had knee, hip and aortic valve replacements.
“People say we ought to be the ones having people bring us food,” she said. “But we like doing for others.”
Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.