Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zucchini Bread, Donuts, & Carol Holland...

When people die I tend to package up and store a fond memory that becomes my reference point when they come to mind.

There will always be two treats that remind me of Carol Holland, who passed away on Sunday: 1. zucchini bread, and, 2. coffee & donuts!

First, the zucchini bread. Brent and Webb were Kaye and Carol’s home teachers and after visits, they’d always return home with a loaf. Zucchini bread was almost a staple in the Holland’s kitchen. Carol often showed up at social events bringing along her signature zucchini bread. I knew her health was declining when she no longer felt up to making it.

Now, the coffee and donuts memory sort of lives in infamy from a testimony faux pas Carol made while speaking in church, probably a decade ago. She was describing a service project her extended family did every year for the holidays. The tradition, Carol explained, after they dropped off the presents at this charitable organization, was to "come back to the house for coffee and donuts."

Wait, coffee and donuts? Carol isn’t a coffee drinker and even if she were, it isn’t a comment you’d offhandedly share from the podium in Sacrament meeting, since coffee is verboten in our Word of Wisdom health code. So, Carol meant to say hot chocolate and donuts, but somehow the word coffee slipped out.

Initially no one reacted but Carol immediately caught her error and then it became hilarious watching her try to finagle her way out. First she was a bit dubious: "Did I just say coffee and donuts?" Carol looked dumbfounded. "We don’t drink coffee,” she insisted. "I don’t know where that came from.” And on it went.

Carol's earnest, and a little defensive, commentary was a classic Sacrament meeting moment and everyone attending that Sunday won’t forget it. We were all laughing (hopefully with Carol) about the Holland’s coffee and donuts Christmas tradition. Then poor Carol got teased about it years after her talk but whenever it came up in conversation she was a good sport and usually reiterated her confusion: “Coffee and donuts?” she'd say still perplexed. "I just don’t know where that came from?”

Near the end of Carol’s life, her family had a hard time getting her to eat, she never had much of an appetite. So it seems a little ironic that two fond memories I’ll recall when I think of Sister Holland were both about food. Giving zucchini bread was her trademark, a loving gesture, and the coffee and donuts error makes her endearing on another level.

As I think about it, most of us will be remembered for the stories we leave behind. For me, these two Carol Holland tales will always make me smile.