Last year this time our whole family and most of Russ’s siblings and families were gathered for what we fondly termed “Papipalooza”.
We had gathered for a celebration of his milestone birthday and official entry into the Sixty is Better Club by meeting up in Kansas City and going to a Royal’s game.
The cake above was decorated to complete one of those reenactment photos from a birthday many moons ago.
It’s a Wacky Cake and I don’t celebrate a birthday for this man, nor do I make that cake that I don’t remember the day I wrote the recipe down on an index card. The same index card that I pull out of the recipe box every time I make it.
It takes me back to the summer we were dating.
Five months after our first date and one month before he would ask me to marry him; I wanted to make him a special birthday dinner so I asked him for his favorite meal and cake.
Because in my house growing up, you got to pick your birthday dinner and dessert. Didn’t matter what it was, my mom made it happen; which would explain the year I got a watermelon with a candle in it because that was what I loved most for dessert at that time.
He told me he liked his mom’s baked spaghetti and something called Wacky Cake.
Since these apparently were family recipes and we didn’t have the luxury of google search, I dialed his parents home with no small amount of nervousness to ask his mother to share with me the recipes required.
If I was filled with butterflies making the call, imagine my heart jump when his dad answered. I stammered around explaining the reason for my call and feeling slightly silly but my fears were quickly put to rest as they always were in all the years ahead with his parents.
Mom was getting her hair done, but his dad was full on board with the plan and rummaged through the recipe box on the counter until he found Wacky Cake. He read it off to me and then the baked Spaghetti and wished me well.
He was delighted, you could tell, that I wanted to do this and that’s how it always was with him and mom.
They loved me like their own even though I was a bit of a diamond in the rough.
I miss them and the way they loved us.
I miss the way they moved slowly and were never in a hurry or rush like their daughter-in-law.
I miss the way nothing was a big deal for them and how they were content with each day and what it brought.
We laugh sometimes thinking of his mom and how she would have enjoyed conversation with these grands of ours and how they both would have chuckled over their antics.
I am thankful for their son…and for the legacy that lives through him <3