Mission Park Elementary School Cake Walk Champion 2007

I married a man who wins cakes, relentlessly. Raffles, cakewalks, school carnivals, town festivals, if the prize was cake-related, he was the Man. The Cake Man. When he was 16 he rocked a cake walk in the town of West, Texas (which is in west Texas, believe it or not. Have you noticed that Texans are somewhat....less than sibilant with their town names? Sheesh.) It was a 4th of July Town Festival and he just started winning cakes. By this time he was riding high on three years worth of victorious cakes. The Eagle Scouts cake raffle, the school carnival cake walks, he was the Pied Piper of cakes, a cake magnet. I think by the time of the Texas cake walk he was entering cake walks for the thrill involved; I think he planned on throwing them back. He bought his ticket, stood on the starting number in the circle and the music began. I imagine polka music at first, followed by some country western ("we have both kinds!") and then, scrraatch! *SFX: Sound of record needle scratching against record, just believe me, all you who've never heard that.* The music stopped. He won a cake. And another. And another. He said that after the 5th cake people were starting to revolt. Rumors started flying, the cake walk was fixed, that damned furriner was taking all their cakes; the California Cake Walk Kid was robbing them blind. I can just imagine them, starting to feel for their .44's, eyes narrowing. He started giving cakes away. He won more. Finally after NINE CAKES IN A ROW, he lost & you could almost hear the guns slide back into holsters. He never walked another cake walk, figuring he better quit while he was still alive. They take their cakes walks seriously in the Lone Star State. Beware.
So I bring this up because today B and I went to Salinas to pick up G from a 2 night stint with Grandma (woohoo!). We met them at the little school carnival around the corner. When G first saw us she started to run towards us on the lawn with her arms open wide, her red hair glinting against the green grass, blue eyes flashing. "Hi! Hi!" she yelled. It was a moment.
Grandma followed behind, slowed by some bulky parcels in her arms. "Guess who won her first cake?" she said. Yes, our Amazing Miss G cleaned up at the school carnival cake walk. Dark chocolate with rainbow sprinkles.

Cake Walk Gene vs. Hobbit Feet Gene
Apparently there's a Cake Walk Champion gene, and my daughter has inherited it. I'm glad B passed on this trait, I'd much rather have cake winners in the family, rather that than say, some of the other possible family traits like myopia (both of us), lateness (me) or the hairy, hobbit feet gene which is definitely from his side of the family.....
I always wanted to have an all day concert with local punk bands that had a cake walk in between bands because then you could bill it as a 'Punk Rock Cake Walk', words that sound really great together.
I haven't been around the local punk scene since high school (just a couple of semesters ago, really *cough cough*) so I've settled for a 'Root Beer Float Blanket Fort Party' which is also really hard to say. But very fun to do. Maybe we need to have another........

And a word to Susan, author of 'The Bricks in the Cave' -I love your story! I'm trying to write a book review to do it justice, which is hard. I've blog rolled your site, meanwhile, and hope to have a review soon! Thanks for checking back!


Susan Harwood said...

I can' tell you how pleased I am to have such positive feed-back about'The Bricks in the Cave'

Interesting that you will be having an 'Advent Blog'. I am already preparing an 'Advent Calendar' for my blog - except it won't have text, just pictures.

Another couple of responses . . . like your friend Kirsten, I went to St Andrew's University.

And . . . I note your connection with YWAM. My husband had some very positive experiences of YWAM in England when he was younger.



rosa said...

I'm glad the YWAM association was positive-in the past I've worked with YWAM in the U.S.and a bit in Europe & Africa, and then a few years ago in Scotland. We've lots of friends who work with YWAM in England. We certainly love the UK, especially England! It's a bit of an obsession, really, although we try to remember that England is just a place like any other, with good things (green rolling hills, old buildings and Cadbury's Fruit & Nut bar) and bad things (terrible post-war architecture, too much litter, and Milton Keynes.) It's hard not to romanticise a place that is home to the Romanticists! In which part do you live?

Susan Harwood said...

Dear Rosa

I live on the south coast of England, right in the middle, on the edge of a town called 'Weymouth'. It is a really old fashioned sea-side holiday place with donkeys on the beach in the summer, punch-and-judy shows, little red and white striped huts on the sand where you can buy cups of tea and ice-creams.

We live slightly out of town, beside Portland Harbour. There is a blackberry embankment outside our house and the sea is immediately on the other side of it, with a little 'Famous Five' style cove where we can have picnic meals. (Indeed the setting for the Famous Five stories is just a little further along the coast from us going eastwards.)

If it sounds idyllic - well it is! And having previously lived in inner-city areas in London, Edinburgh and Newcastle, you can guess how much I appreciate it!

It is in response to this new situation in which I find myself that I wrote 'The Bricks in the Cave'. I am perfectly aware that many children in this country experience quite dire and challenging social problems and I think it is quite right that these are addressed in children's literature. But I began to wonder what books children who live in happy families in pleasant places (as mine do) could 'identify' with. And there must be lots in this situation really.

I also think that, in addition to all the exciting adventure stories that are around at present, there is a place, ocassionally, for something gentler.

This is quite a turn around for me because in all my life until now my comitment has been to the poor and the powerless - who don't live anything at all like the kind of life described in The Bricks in the Cave. While I do not in any way want to forget them I also felt I would like to celebrate some good things for a change!

Hope this isn't too long a reply!


rosa said...

Wow!Weymouth sounds pretty idyllic, and iconic! Donkeys and cups of tea! We've been down to Cornwall, (St. Michael's Mount) but we've yet to get over to your neck of the seaside. Sounds lovely!I totally agree about celebrating good things and admired your story for it. Have you ever read the American novelist Jan Karon? She writes about a fictional community in the mountains of North Carolina called Mitford. Her novels are seen through the eyes of the town Episcopalian priest. She has a blurb about wanting to "applaud the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives." I think this is important, esp. in children's lit. to remind us that everyday life can have quite a bit of adventure in it, just waiting in the wings, right around the corner....I'm recovering from a wierd sinus/ear infection, sorry if I sound a little groggy....!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.