24: Grandma’s Cake

24: Grandma’s Cake

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Grandma’s Cake

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

~Winston Churchill

“Let’s go on a walk,” Grandma suggested cheerfully while twisting her wavy, snow-white hair into a bun. The rest of the family was busy in the fields harvesting hay, and it was my responsibility to watch Grandma.

“Oh, no,” I cautioned. “Last time you stepped in a big mud puddle and Mom was very upset.”

“Oh, posh,” Grandma replied. “I’m not going to sit and rock all day. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Let’s make a cake.”

“Grandma, we can’t make a cake. You can’t see,” I reminded her anxiously.

She laughed. “You can do anything you want to if you just try,” she said. “God gave us five senses and seeing is just one of them.” She pulled herself up from the rocker, and I guided her to where her apron hung on the wall. “Now, get a kitchen chair, child,” she directed.

I pushed the chair up to the counter in our big, sunny pantry. Following Grandma’s directions, I carefully retrieved a teacup from the cupboard. Putting one chubby hand on Grandma’s shoulder, I nestled the cup in her hand. Then I found a big bowl and placed it in front of her. Deftly, she measured two level cups of flour in a big bowl. In amazement, I watched as she blindly searched the containers in the cupboard.

“Now find me the baking powder,” she commanded.

“But Grandma, I can’t read,” I stuttered.

“You can taste, can’t you?” she replied tartly.

I found a can and handed it to her. She screwed the top off, licked her finger, dipped it in the powder and tasted it. “Oh, no, that’s baking soda,” she declared. “Now you try it.” It tasted bitter and fizzy.

The next container I found was not quite so bitter, and Grandmother announced that it most certainly was baking powder. I found the sugar and flour, and Grandma said we could tell which was which by tasting or feeling.

We identified vanilla easily by its smell. Grandma made sure that the lids were replaced on every container and that the containers were put back where they belonged. Then she showed me how to crack an egg properly and let me help beat the cake. By now the pantry was showing the effects of our cake-making.

Grandma ran her hand over the countertop. “Lands, child,” she laughed. “We have made a mess. Never mind, we will have it spic-and-span in a jiffy.” I got a dishpan of sudsy water and wiped the counter vigorously with the dishcloth. I watched as Grandma carefully ran her hand over the counter, feeling to see if it was clean enough. She had me wipe the counter again and then again. Finally she declared it was thoroughly clean.

Just as I wondered how we would be able to fire up the cook stove, Mom walked into the kitchen. She added kindling to the coals and a little later carefully opened the oven door and stuck her hand inside. She announced that the temperature was just right. I proudly carried the cake to the wood stove, and Mom popped it into the oven.

Grandma eased herself back into the rocker and said with a smile, “Someday you will face difficulties. Don’t be too blind to look around and see how you can overcome them. Use the materials and abilities that God gives you. Count what you have, not what you don’t have.”

I don’t remember how the cake turned out, but I have never forgotten the making of it.

~Norma Favor
Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul

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