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Cake walk

One of the benefits of having a large family is that we are practically guaranteed to win at least one cake at a cake walk.

A week ago, the kids’ school had its annual Fall Family Dance. I had never heard of an elementary school hosting a dance, but the kids’ school is clearly not your average elementary school. A large laminated poster of Tom Selleck hangs in the main office.

Part of the Family Fall Dance was a cake walk, set up in the kindergarten room. We arrived at the dance about the time it started, unfashionably early. We had to walk by the kindergarten room on our way to the gym and noticed tables full of cakes but not many cake-walkers. It looked like a good time to participate.

The kids positioned themselves on a number. When the music started, seven kids walked around the circle of fifteen numbers. Five of those kids were ours. The music stopped and the teenage girl running the show pulled out a number. Nobody was standing on it. She pulled out another. Everyone held their breath. “Four?”

It was Sam. Sam, who hates cake. Sam, who hates cookies. Sam, Crown Prince of Salty Food, sworn enemy of all sweet baked goods except for an uneasy alliance with Lamar’s plain glazed donuts. Sam won a cake.

I knew I needed to provide guidance.

All the kids were genuinely happy for Sam, until we approached the cake, cookie, and pie covered tables. There were homemade brownies on paper plates, covered with Saran Wrap. Cupcakes and cakes in plastic carriers from the grocery store seemed to be the most abundant. A few cardboard cake boxes with gold embossed stickers signifying the more pricey and elaborate cakes drew my attention.

Sam, pick this one! Sam, a gingerbread cake! Gingerbread! Brownies, look, there’s brownies! Ooohhh, vanilla cupcakes. They have sprinkles, Sam! Sprinkles! Blue and orange Bronco sprinkles! Sam! Each child lobbied for their own #1 choice, the cake they would have picked had they been lucky enough to stop on #4.

Sam ignored everyone. He knew what he wanted. On the corner of a table was a bundle of Reddi-Wip, round sponge “dessert cups”, and fresh strawberries. Someone had donated a kit to make strawberry shortcakes. He ignored the sponge cakes and strawberries, completely enchanted with the can of whipped cream. “I want the whipped cream!”

It isn’t every day a kid wins a can of whipped cream at a cake walk. Sam was very happy and celebrated by dancing wildly in the gym to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration.” I think they had Sam in mind when they released it back in 1980, twenty years before his birth. It’s the only explanation for how he wore that song after winning his whipped cream.

Last night I noticed the strawberries were losing their vitality and the little cakes were about to expire, so I sliced and sugared and shook and sprayed and presented strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Sam ate his minus strawberries, minus cake. He said it was the best strawberry shortcake he ever had in his life. It was the best I ever made.

8 comments to Cake walk

  • I love the mental picture I am getting of Sam dancing in the gym over his prize. Kids sure know how to celebrate over the small joys of life don’t they? Congratulations on your “cake” Sam, and good choice!

  • Way to go Sam!

    Now…why is there a poster of Tom Selleck in the office? I’m hoping it’s just because he was an alumni.?????

  • R

    This took me back to the cake walks in our Christian school’s dinky lunch room at the annual ice cream social. I adore your writing.

    I read your post about nursing, and looking out over the city, seeing other mothers nursing their babies. You just say things so – so amazingly.

    I love your voice! What blessed children you have, to be able to call you mother.

  • I want to go to your kids’ school! Not for Tom, (my fourth grade teacher had a poster of Tom in her office too), but for the cake and dancing. And, of course, the whipped cream.

  • You have such a wonderful way with words 🙂 My eldest son Quintus, will also not be the happiest kid in the room if he had to win a cake…it doesn’t do anything for him

  • Congrats to Sam on his big win! Isn’t it wonderful that a simple can of whipped cream could be his wildest dream come true?

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