Perhaps it is only part of the western myth – this idea that there were once level-headed, no-nonsense, reasonable-minded, salt-of-the-earth people who could not be snookered by politicians and other snake oil salesmen – but we sure could use people like that at this stage of our world's development. You know the type I mean – memorialized by western authors in books and movies, often as a crusty old rancher who "thinks on it" for a long while before he gives you his hand.

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.