Many resources identify penuche fudge as a southern treat, although some form of the confection can be found in many countries. I suspect the recipe migrated to Texas by way of Mexico, since penuche comes from the Spanish word panocha, meaning brown sugar. It entered my life by way of my mom's Christmas feast of turkey with sage dressing, yams, pecan pie, real eggnog, and this sweet candy made in a cast-iron skillet.

Until recently I could not have imagined myself paying homage to the Southern Baptist church. I had experienced its judgmental fire-and-brimstone approach to religion when I was a small child and I was having none of that. It was the church of Confederate slave owners, and while it did issue a formal apology to African Americans in 1995, I hardly could have anticipated their March 2015 "race summit" that called for reconciliation between white and black.

It had been years since I gave even a passing thought to American cowboy humorist Will Rogers. He died 4 years before I was born, but growing up in Texas I remember there was a constant reference to Rogers and every year the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and Rodeo was held at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in my home town of Ft. Worth, Texas. At the end of 2014, I again came across his name, in a slightly different context.