We hear it all the time from people who are suggesting we check out a certain story they have discovered.
“This person is a little bit crazy. It will make a good story.”
It’s true that we are often attracted to “a little bit crazy,” but the truth is that we have come to believe we are all that to some degree. It’s human nature, especially when a person is passionate about something—passion almost always makes a good story.
So, imagine our delight when we first heard about a woman so passionate that the word “crazy” had worked its way into her commonly known name.
Jody Powers was known in Calvert as the Crazy Kolache Lady. We found her in her little bakery on the main street, mixing up her kolache dough at one o’clock in the morning. That, we thought, must be why they call her crazy. Who would do this at 1 a.m.?
But that’s not the reason for the nickname.
After watching her mix and bake treats all night long, we saw her open her doors at 7:30 a.m. to a line of hungry customers. Nothing crazy about that, I thought.
Then, sometime in midmorning, the line thinned out as patrons went off to work while Jody still had several shelves full of kolaches. She stood in the window of her shop, watching cars zoom by on the very wide Texas Highway 6 as it passed through this town of less than a thousand, wondering why they couldn’t pull over for a quick sample of her kolaches. And that’s when we found out where she got the name.
Like she had done a hundred times before, she wandered out the door and onto the side of the highway, where she began to . . . sing.
“Oh, Zamykal Kolaches, it came from my grandma . . .”
She sang in a loud voice as she danced and waved a dish towel over her head. The song went on to tell the tale of how her kolaches came from her grandmother’s recipes in the old country and how you could get them right now, right here, if you would just stop for a minute or two.
And then the darndest thing happened. People started pulling over. They bought her kolaches before they drove off with a smile, no doubt happier to face the day.
Crazy Kolache Lady? Yeah, crazy like a fox.
Sadly, we lost Jody to leukemia in 2015. Her daughter reopened the bakery in Dallas for a few years, but it has since closed. Yet Jody’s song still rings in my mind.