Good things come in Mississippi State Cheese Boxes

I have nothing but good memories of Mississippi.  Unlike Kristen, I grew up there, so I suppose that helps.  As I look back on a childhood filled with characters and character, I have fond memories and can do nothing but smile as they fade into the background of my life.

One memory was brought to the forefront this afternoon when we returned home from the hospital.  Every year at Christmastime, the ladies of the church would gather together in the fellowship hall for their annual ministry to the children of the church away at college.  Each would bring dozens and dozens of home-baked cookies to the party, on platters and in tupperware, piled high and ready to ship.  Each would bring their sturdiest cookie, the one least likely to crumb (yes, in those times and in that place, crumb was used as a verb) on the way to its recipient.  Then they would gather in that mystical place (or so it seemed to the children left at home that night) to talk, to laugh, and to pack care packages for the college students studying for exams so far from home.

The packaging was always the same — cheese boxes from the Mississippi State dairy.  Now, I didn’t go to State, so perhaps I don’t appreciate what ever came inside those boxes originally, but I do know that the families of the church saved those boxes all year long because they made the sturdiest shipping containers for the precious cookie cargo at Christmastime.  They would arrive at the church with the cookies and miles of saran wrap and ziploc bags, and the ladies would package them up — half-a-dozen cookies from Mrs. G here, half-a-dozen cookies from Mrs. M there, half-a-dozen of the other kind from Mrs. C, and so on and so forth until those little boxes were ready to burst with love and sugar from the ladies of the church.

Then they would be sent on their way to the college students, bringing warmth and love and memories of home with them to the small cold dorm rooms “up north” in Starkville and Oxford.

I was lucky enough to get those cookies when I was in college, and, although some of them did indeed “crumb” on the way even farther north to me, I loved each and every one of those crumbs, treasuring them as the gift of love that they were.

Today, a package arrived in the mail for me while I was at the hospital. Inside was a beautiful gift of beads from a friend — a friend’s mother, I should say, as she was once one of those ladies of the church who packaged cookies and love for faraway children — but now a friend, with instructions on how to pray a protestant rosary and notes of laughter and hope.  And a hat, knitted by the knitting ministry at her Alabama church.  And love.  Lots and lots of love.  And you know how I know that for sure? 

It arrived in a Mississippi State cheese box.

Today at the hospital did not go well.  I am okay — no neurological damage — but I wasn’t allowed to get chemo because of the condition my body is in right now.  More tomorrow, after I’ve had time to process it and talk more to my family. 

47 Responses to Good things come in Mississippi State Cheese Boxes

  1. love, love, love to you, Whymommy…

    Thinking of, and praying for YOU.

    xo CGF

  2. Nancy says:

    Huh — I never would have thought of Mississippi having cheese (not sure why… maybe because all of the cheese-producing states I’m familiar with are farther north.)

    Like CGF, I’m sending lots of love and prayers your way, Susan. I’m just a short drive away if there’s anything you need.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    WhyMommy, I just recently discovered your blog through the goodyblog website. I return faithfully, daily to read your eloquent and honest posts. I rarely get on my computer in the evenings, but tonight I had to check on you–to see how things went today. My heart/thoughts/prayers/good energy–everything I have is with you and your family tonight.

    What a strong and incredible woman you are.

  4. deb says:

    Thinking of you and hope things get better.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. swimmom says:

    Like your other readers, I, too, check back daily to read your amazing, honest, and touching blog. You are in my heart and prayers.

  7. spacemom says:

    Good on the cheese! bad on the no chemo.
    Thinking of you tonight.

  8. Imstell says:

    Keep your chin up, Chickie. You don’t need those old legs to hold you up. Our prayers can do that just fine. I’m just sorry I don’t have a Mississippi Cheese Box to send some in.

  9. Stimey says:

    Hang in there. I’m so sorry about your day. I’m sending you lots of love.

  10. Lisa says:

    All our XOXOXOXO coming your way. These are Lance’s favorite letters, so he must have known you needed some!

  11. canape says:

    I can’t believe you’ve never had the cheese. We must change that. The cheese is fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

    You are in my heart tonight. And always.

  12. So sorry the doctor’s visit did not go well. And still you gave us the gift of that beautiful post about the cheese boxes. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  13. Anne says:

    You don’t even know me… but you were in my thoughts all day today. And you continue to be in my prayers always. My 3-year-old and I are both sending you lots of (((hugs)))) tonight.

  14. PrettyTulip says:

    Thank-you for your post….my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  15. mamma knows says:

    It WILL get better, your in my prayers…as always.

  16. NoRegrets says:

    Hi, hello, hang in there…

  17. Robin says:

    I hope the beads and the love that went into them are a great comfort as you sort through this latest plot twist.

    No good story is without its dramatic moments, right? They just make the happy ending all the sweeter.

    Much love to you.

  18. ella says:

    Thinking about you WM.

  19. Love and hugs and prayers and good wishes are being sent your way. If there is anything I can do, please please let me know. I am happy to help in whatever way would be useful. Hugs to you and yours.

  20. claire says:


  21. Amy says:

    If I had to pick an animal that represented you, I would pick a swan. You are always so graceful, even when the world seems to have it in for you and those lovely legs of yours. You prove time and time again that you have “Grace under Fire”.

    Sending you hugs, well wishes, support and love, even if it doesn’t come in a green cheese box.

  22. Jenn says:

    Nothing less than goodness could be expected from a box like that.

    I’m sending love and prayers your way, via a subliminal Mississippi State Cheese Box.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Sending loads of love and prayers your way.

  24. Stella says:

    Thinking of you and your family.
    Praying for you every chance I can

  25. Gill says:

    All I ever seem able to do is to send you hugs, I wish I could offer something more tangible, but please know that these cyber hugs are heartfelt and you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers {{{hugs}}}

  26. Melissa says:

    You brought tears to my eyes! I want a package in a Mississipi State Dairy box.
    Hugs and prayers for you…

  27. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  28. jackieb27 says:

    Hi WM. I came across your site from a little girls blog who lives in my area, twentyfivedays.wordpress. I just wanted to commend you for your strength throughtout this phase in your life. Strength is one of god’s greatest gifts, and you sound like you are packed full of it. Hang in there! You are in my thoughts and prayers daily since I read of your story. God will get you and your family through these hard times.

  29. Paulette says:

    True to self you can tell such a sweet story even when you get bad news. You inspire me Susan, you really do.. I am sorry and pray that you find some peace today. My problems are hard but so trivial compared to most.
    Blesssings today Susan, truely

  30. sherry says:

    Just sending you my thoughts, prayers and some very warm hugs.

  31. Donna4k says:

    just another mom wishing that I could send magic thru the world and healing for you. sending love …

  32. practiceliving says:

    What wonderful gifts those women sent, then and now. I remember my mum sending me off to college with a tin of our family’s best, most love-filled cookies, because she knew that it would make it easier to make friends, as everyone would be craving a little love and a taste of home.

    Sending prayers up for you, and lots of love and comfort to you, WM.

  33. LawyerMama says:

    Oh, babe. ((HUGS)) My cousin is at Ole Miss. I’ll have to ask him about the cheese boxes.

  34. ColleenZ says:

    WM, all my love. I’ve been thinking of you all day.

  35. clifford says:

    An earthshaking event…sign of great things to come, I believe. Perhaps you should buy lottery tickets, or even bet on the Dolphins.

    Canape’s right. What’s up with the bully cheese virginity?

  36. Alesia says:

    That’s so disappointing. Love, warm thoughts, and care coming to you from Vermont.

  37. Kelly says:

    Praying for you still.

  38. Shannon says:

    I recently came across your blog through the goodyblog. I have been coming back everyday since then to follow your journey. My MIL is dealing with a recurrence of her breast cancer so your story hits very close to home. You are an inspiration to all who read this. I too am praying for you and your family to get through this trying time.

  39. KillerBoob says:

    I’m so sorry that you did not get better news today… It’s a strange situation – to be disappointed not to get chemo. But I know you must be. But a few more days rest and you’ll be back to it – back to getting it all over with!

  40. My thoughts are with you.

  41. Stephanie says:

    WhyMommy, I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time right now. I’ll be thinking of you.

  42. That’s it. You must rename your blog to 🙂
    Lovely post.

  43. MamaMaven says:

    What a lovely memory. Sorry that your didn’t have your chemo today, will be thinking of you.

  44. Lahdeedah says:

    Hey there,

    Thank you so much for coming to my blog. I am beyond impressed with what you’ve done here on yours while going through chemo.

    I’m so sorry chemo’s been hard. It was hard on me, too. Had to cancel the 6th A/C because it was making my heart race and causing me to faint. Kind of a liability at a dinner party and in business meetings 🙂

    It looks like you have lots of people cheering you on and keeping you close to their hearts. Count me in!


  45. motherofbun says:

    Awww. How sweet. Spend some time (very little about 14 hrs or so?) in Mississippi a few days before Thanksgiving. (we were headed to Louisiana.) Next time we pass through, I’ll be thinking of you.

  46. nichole3 says:

    My daughter sent me your link. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer, an invasive kind. I have surgery on December the 28th. My heart and prayers go out to you.

  47. […] the South, the happy hat and beads that I wrote about several weeks ago, the ones that came in the Mississippi State Cheese Box.  Yes, this thank-you note in particular was long overdue.  Too long.  I am embarassed.  And […]

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