When you raise four kiddos, you see your fair share of fundraisers. Everything from overpriced coupon books, wrapping paper, candles, and popcorn…to car washes, chili feeds, and trips to Sonic with tips benefiting the team.
These are usually the bane of any parents existence, with a few notable exceptions. One being those Sonic-day fundraisers, and my personal favorite, the cakewalk.
The cakewalk is an under-appreciated moneymaker with benefits. Charitable bakers bake up their personal best in a cake-off that would make Duff Goldman and Buddy Valastro’s heads spin.
The array of yumminess is too much for one person to take. (ok…me! I’m the one person.) Not the kind of too-much where you walk away, the kind where you buy a ream of tickets so you get to play well…and often! I’m nothing if not a winner. (And I’ve got the array of clothing sizes in my closet to prove it!)
The cakes are usually displayed on a banquet table with a dollar store tablecloth and not much fanfare. This does nothing to take away from their iced beauty. As my grandma always used to say “No point in gilding the lily.”
A cake in its natural habitat needs no hullabaloo.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one simply doesn’t pick out a cake. The cake picks you! A cake siren song of sorts, that the sweet-toothed or pleasingly plump can attest to.
As with anything else, If you want to play, you got to pay. (Now that’s my kind of gamblin’.) So tickets in hand, you proceed to the inner circle…of construction paper that is. Numbered squares form a large circular gameboard of sorts. You are the pawns.
Next comes the best part. Because a cakewalk is not just about cake. No…there is more to the cakewalk than meets the eye. There is also music. (And who doesn’t love cake and music? Together. Hum and yum, or yum and hum, whatever works.)
Now there’s no guarantee what kind of music you’re going to get. I’ve heard everything from the church organist banging out a dirge, to songs I haven’t heard since painfully awkward sock-hops in my pimply teens. It usually depends on the age and lifestyle of the super-mom coordinating the event.
High-maintenance mom means wildly inappropriate popular music, so she can be cool. Sporty mom means the cakewalk will turn into a full-blown competition, power-cake-walking to Eye of the Tiger. Scholarly mom means orchestra or opera, so we’re all going to suffer as she makes it a combo: learning experience/sugar fest. (Eyes will be glazing over all right!) Hippie-chick mom wouldn’t be caught dead at a cakewalk, but she just might heckle (passively) from the sidelines. (She’s still cross that no one supported her Veggie-Walk suggestion.)
Circumstances may vary, but the premise is the same. Pick a square, any square. When the music starts-GO-and when the music stops-STOP! The emcee will call out a number, and if you’re the lucky one standing on that number-You Take The Cake- literally!
So in this case, you actually want your number to come up. If you’re one of the sorry stragglers left over in the end, you will go away empty-handed, or it will be slim pickins. Either store bought cake, because somebody’s kid just told them they needed a cake that day-or horror of horrors-somebody let their kid do the baking, and brought that cake-fail anyway to bolster little Johnny’s confidence. If you’re ever forced into that situation, please do the right thing. (Grab the store cake and run!)
Life really isn’t all that different from a cakewalk. Sometimes you think you have a myriad of choices, and it’s exciting and almost overwhelming. What to do, what to do. With an enthusiastic start, you briskly move along, eye on the prize. Sometimes, the stars align and you walk away with your desired choice. All is right with the world.
Other times, your first pick may not come through, but luckily you had a back-up plan and can still walk happily away.
Then there are the other times. The times when things get tough, and then still tougher, and life shows you that it’s no piece of cake after all. In fact, everything seems out of sync.
What started out as a vigorous walk soon slows into a foot-dragging saunter. Around and around you go. It seems as if your number will never be called…(kind of like the DMV).
But you keep on keepin’ on. One foot in front of the other. You don’t feel the progression at first. In fact, it can seem like you’re never going to get anywhere. Like cement boots. But a baby-step is still a step forward. And as any mom can tell ya, those baby-steps soon lead to great strides.
So what if plan A didn’t work out? Or B,or C, or even D?
Don’t forget the rules of the cakewalk.
Just walk. And stop. Catch your breath, and walk some more.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. And walking out of darkness and into that light is a glorious thing, no matter how long it takes. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, that light at the end of the tunnel is…candles…on a cake! And that would be just desserts.
🍋 If you only walk on sunny days, you will never reach your destination.
From the book Aleph by:Paul Coelho