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By STEVEN NALLEY
For the first time in 10 years, Minnie Fox wonât be cooking for her own birthday party.
Fox has served for 14 years as the cook for the Oktibbeha County Jail, and she has also thrown her own birthday parties for the last decade. This year marks her retirement from the county sheriffâs department, so Patrick Fox said he and his brothers wanted to show appreciation to their mother, the department and the Blackjack Baptist Church the family attends.
âSheâs done a lot for me, and sheâs put up with a lot from the time she was born until now,â Patrick said. âSheâs a very special lady to us.â
The Hilton Garden Inn will host a party in honor of Minnie Foxâs retirement and 65th birthday at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Attire is semi-formal, and requested colors are black and platinum. The public is invited, and no RSVP is necessary.
Minnie said the Hilton Garden Inn would handle the catering, but she and a friend would handle the decorations.
âThe Hilton talked me out there so that I could sample some of the food that Iâm going to have for the party this week,â Minnie said. âIt was good, so I told them ... âIâm going to go along with this.â I will let them do the food this time, but I am planning on having something a little later and (cooking) it myself.â
Before cooking for the county jail, Fox said she ran a catering business of her own, which she still operates part-time. When former Sheriff Dolph Bryan asked her to join the department as a jail cook, she said, she also became coordinator for the departmentâs RUOK program, which makes computerized monitoring calls to children, senior citizens or other vulnerable residents when they are home alone.
Bryan said Minnie was a loyal employee and a kind cook.
âShe just loved everybody, and anytime there was a tragedy in anyoneâs family, she was the first to take up money, get flowers and get food to take over to the house,â Bryan said. âShe just loved all the people that worked there.â
Minnie said she loved her job.
âItâs very enjoyable, plus they had trustees in the back to work with me, to help me,â Minnie said. âI learned a whole lot. When I first started working at the jail, it seemed like some of the guys were so young that worked there, and seemed like they didnât know ... how to work together with one another and how to (have) fellowship with one another.â
Thatâs when Minnie said she began bringing breakfast to her co-workers, including biscuits and sausage. Eventually, she said, she planned to throw a small birthday party at the jail, but more people came than she expected.
âSo many people came, the sheriff said, âOh, Minnie. Weâve got to have this some place else because we donât have the room down here,ââ Minnie said. âSo we started having it at the Extension building, and each year it started increasing. It started to get larger and larger.â
Each year, Minnie saves up money to cook for the birthday party, and she said she does it because she enjoys giving back to the community. She said it can take a week or two to prepare the food.
âGod has been so good to me,â Minnie said. âMy enjoyment is buying (food), cooking it and seeing people enjoy it.â
Just because Minnie isnât cooking this year doesnât mean she is done cooking for her own birthday parties, she said. She said she plans to cook for another party next year âif itâs the Lordâs will,â and she is also planning to release a cookbook within about three months.