I recently had the opportunity to hear Mr. Nathan Dunaway speak to our elementary school students. The Dunaway family of Madison lost its 13-year-old grandson, Jack, a little over two years ago. The message was about kindness and being nice to people.
After Jack’s death, Mr. Dunaway began to hear stories about his grandson. The family had wanted to do something as a memorial to him but didn’t quite know what to do.
These stories were always of Jack’s kindness to others. Several students said that when they were new students at Madison Central and didn’t know anyone, Jack was the first one to come to them, welcome them and become their friend. One girl said she witnessed a young girl who didn’t have lunch, and Jack gave his to her. If Jack saw someone sitting alone, he would ask them to join him.
Mr. Dunaway spoke at his grandson’s funeral and told some of the stories he had heard. The message of how to continue Jack’s memory became evident. He urged everyone to just be kind to each other. Not just for now but to continue being kind day after day.
Doing good deeds and random acts of kindness took on the name “Jack Attack.” That was the name he used when playing video games. “Do A Jack Attack” has spread worldwide. There is a Facebook page where people can share their stories and also order T-shirts, armbands and stickers. It is a nonprofit organization to encourage others to do random acts of kindness.
Mr. Dunaway told the story of going through a coffee establishment’s drive-thru one morning and deciding to pay for the coffee for the person behind him in line. Several days later as he went back through the line, the same person was working the window. She smiled and told him she was so glad to see him again. She wanted to tell him that after he did that, the next 20 people decided to buy the coffee for the person behind them.
He made it clear that a “Jack Attack” wasn’t something that you have to spend money to do. Sometimes just a smile or a small gesture is worth more than you could ever imagine.
In this day and time, I think we could all learn from Jack. Just be kind and do good deeds for those around you.
I hope you will give this week’s recipes a try. Thanks for reading.
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups stale white bread, cubed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs, and blend well. Add pineapple and carefully stir to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Spoon mixture into prepared dish, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
(This is a great side for ham. Also good for a brunch.)
HAM AND CORN GRITS CASSEROLE
4½ cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups grits
2 (8-ounce) packages diced boneless ham, drained
2 (8-ounce) packages shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 teaspoon onion powder
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large pot, bring chicken broth and salt to a boil. Whisk in grits, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove grits from heat, and stir in cheese until melted. Stir in ham, milk, corn, spices and eggs. Pour into prepared pan, and bake uncovered for an hour. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
CREAMY POTATO CASSEROLE
1 (30-ounce) bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch dressing mix
1½ cups cooked chopped bacon, divided
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine has browns, soup, 2 cups cheese, heavy cream, butter, sour cream, ranch mix and 1 cup cooked bacon. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Combine crushed crackers, ½ cup bacon and remaining cheese. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes.
• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at firstname.lastname@example.org.