Former cosmetologist enjoys being pastor’s wife
Cathy Free Cummings took cosmetology at Ayers Technical College, thinking that’s how she would help her husband, Chuck, support their family.

“I’ve always enjoyed fixing hair, make-up and girly stuff,” she said. “I still do to this day.”

As they began their family though, both Cathy and Chuck began to change their minds about her working outside the home.

“We’ve always thought it was best for me to stay home with our kids and raise them ourselves,” said Cathy. “There were times when Chuck worked two jobs so that I could do that.”

She said her three sons mean the world to her.

“I always felt like nobody else was going to watch them like I would, and I didn’t want to miss out on that time with them when they were growing up,” she said. “Chuck and I both felt like that. It gave both of peace of mind that I could stay home with them.”

Cathy said she realizes that not all mothers are able to do what she did, but she wishes they could. She believes working mothers deserve a lot of credit.

“I don’t know how women work full time and have little ones,” she said. “I can’t imagine that.”

Their oldest son, Josh, 28, and his wife Sylvia, live in Madison. Josh is attending school time studying accounting. Their son Riley is 5 and “is a big part” of his grandmother’s life. “He brings us a lot of joy,” she said.

Joey is 25 and lives with his parents in Nances Creek. He is an EMT in Gadsden. His future includes being a paramedic.

Jacob, 23, attends Jacksonville State University and is currently working in Vero Beach, Fla.

Cathy is with a company that allows her to work at home.

“I’m thankful for that,” she said, “because if I’m ever needed with Riley, my schedule is flexible enough that I can go.”

Chuck is a funeral director at K. L. Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Center and is associate pastor at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Piedmont.

Cathy works with the children there. She teaches the 10- and 11-year-old Sunday school and works with children ages 4-6 on Wednesday nights.

“I love my church family,” she said. “I feel like if you put God first in life and follow his teachings, you’ll always be happy and satisfied in life. We’ve always tried to do that.”

Cathy said as unusual as it may seem, she likes to clean house as well as cook. Most summers, she and Chuck have a garden and they’ve recently started learning how to can their vegetables.

“The only two things I could cook when we got married was spaghetti – and it wasn’t homemade – and tacos,” said Cathy. “The spaghetti was from a box. I just added meat. Chuck did a lot of cooking for us when we first got married. I love cooking myself now.”

One of Cathy’s favorite recipes is Cheryl’s Spanish Rice, given to her by her late sister.

“She was a wonderful cook,” said Cathy. “In 1993 she passed away after a battle with breast cancer. I think of Cheryl each time I make this dish. My family and I love this recipe and have enjoyed it for years.”

Chuck’s cousin gave her a recipe for Cranberry Punch. Cathy has made it for weddings, showers and parties. “It can be made well in advance of the event, is always a hit and is very easy to make,” she said.

She has made Turtles for Christmas gifts for the past 30 years. She said her two best friends remind her each year to bring them some of her Turtles.

Cathy recommends Broccoli Chicken Soup, which is “hearty and very filling and great for a winter day.”

Cheryl's Spanish Rice

1 cup cooked white rice
4 strips bacon
1 bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1 pt. stewed tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and cook pepper, onion and garlic in bacon grease until tender. Put rice in a baking dish and add grease, pepper, onion and garlic into rice and mix. Add 2 pieces crumbled bacon, ½ cup cheese and tomatoes to the rice and mix. Top mixture with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cranberry Punch

1 qt. cranberry juice
1 qt. pineapple juice
1 qt. ginger ale
1 ½ cup sugar

Mix all ingredients and pour into gallon Ziplock bags. Freeze and take out to thaw about five hours before the event. Consistency should be like a slush. Makes 25 servings.

Turtles

1 - 14 oz. pkg, Kraft caramels
1 can Eagle brand milk
3 cups whole pecans
12 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ bar canning wax

Melt caramels and Eagle brand milk in a double boiler. When melted, drop pecans, at a time and coat. Place on a pan lined with wax paper. When pan is full place in fridge for one hour to cool. Melt chocolate and canning wax in a double boiler. Dip caramel coated pecans in the chocolate mixture and coat. Place coated pecans on wax paper to cool.

Broccoli Chicken Soup

1 t. butter
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
8 oz. mushrooms, fresh or canned
16 oz. frozen broccoli
6 bouillon cubes
¾ cup chopped onions
6 cups water
8 oz. egg noodles
1 ½ t. garlic powder
1 ½ cups cooked chicken chunks
3 boneless breasts

In a pot saute onions and mushrooms in butter. Add water and bouillon cubes. Heat to a boil and dissolve cubes gradually. Add noodles and boil uncovered for three minutes Stir in broccoli, garlic, chicken and cheese. Cook on medium heat until cheese melts, but do not boil. Makes 4-5 quarts. This is a hearty soup, very filling and great for a winter day.
© 2013