It was Friday night and Shelley was at Yvonne’s house for their usual weekend sleepover.
She loved being with Yvonne because she was always loads of fun to be around because she was always loads of fun to be around because she always had a grin, a giggle and a twinkle in her light blue eyes.
Mrs. Miller, Yvonne’s mom, announced she was going out for the evening and would be back early. As she picked up her purse and keys from the kitchen table, she turned toward the door with a cheery wave and said, “Be good girls. I’ll be back in a little while.”
Yvonne’s dad was in the living room, totally into the big football game on television. He was in ‘Dad Heaven’, sitting in his favorite worn lazy-boy chair with the remote control in one hand, a bowl of chips in his lap and a drink on the table beside him. Every once in awhile, the girls could hear a shout or cheer. Yup! He was definitely quite content in the land of football.
So, with Yvonne’s mom out for the evening and dad into the ‘Big game’ in the living room, the girls found themselves standing smack in the middle of Yvonne’s cheery, yellow kitchen, pondering what to do.
The girls pulled out two chairs, plunked down with chins in their hands. Shelley peered over at Yvonne and asked, “So, Yvonne. What do you want to do now? We can’t watch a movie because your dad is watching the ‘big game’.”
She sat there, peering over at Yvonne who was deep in thought. She noticed her friend getting one of the goofy grins she always got before coming up with a hair-brained scheme.
Nervously, she asked, “Uh oh, Yvonne. Do I dare ask?”
Shelley carefully watched Yvonne’s expression as her smile grew until she burst into a delightful giggling fit. Then, Yvonne jumped up from her chair and did a little dancing jig around the small kitchen. Double “uh oh”!
Finally giving in, Shelley timidly asked, “Yvonne, what are you cooking up in that silly little brain of yours?”
Just as the words were leaving Shelley’s mouth, Yvonne was already dashing around the kitchen dragging out bowls, measuring spoons, cups, pans, ingredients and anything else she thought they might need. Then, out of thin air, a bright yellow flowered apron flew through the air and landed smack in Shelley’s face and hands as she heard the command, “Here! Put this on.”
By that time, she knew without a doubt, she had her answer as she tied the apron strings around her slim waist.
Yvonne proudly announced with a face-splitting smile, “We, my friend are going to bake an awesome cake for my mom and surprise her when she gets home.”
“Ohhhh nooo,” Shelley groaned as she rolled her big brown eyes. With a chuckle, she said, “Well, at least this should be fun if not interesting.”
Yvonne already had everything all laid out and ready to start.
The girls dove in with gusto; measuring this and measuring that. Flour landed everywhere! Glancing sideways, Shelley noticed flour caked in Yvonne’s hair and clinging to the front of her apron while batter stuck to her glasses like thick globs of glue.
When she looked down the front of her own clothes, she discovered that she too was covered just as badly as her friend. There was also a thick layer of white powder all over the kitchen floor and across the whole length of the Miller’s once shiny clean countertop. With a shrug of her slim shoulders, Shelley decided it was time to get back to work. She was having too much fun to worry about a little flour.
In no time at all, everything was measured, blended and poured into the baking pan and before they knew it, the cake was being carefully and lovingly placed into the oven.
As they stood back from the stove, Yvonne said with a triumphant smile, “There! We’re all done. Now, that wasn’t so hard. Piece of cake.” She couldn’t help but laugh at her obvious joke.
The girls were quite pleased with themselves. That is, until they turned around to assess the condition of the kitchen. Along with the flour, there were mixing bowls, spoons, open ingredient containers, cracked egg shells and whatever else a person could imagine, littering the counter and table top.
“Ohh nooo,” they groaned. They glanced up at the kitchen clock with wide eyes and exclaimed in unison, “Move!”
Yvonne’s dad heard the girls through his ‘Football Haze’, quietly tip-toed over to the kitchen door and poked his head around the corner with one eyebrow raised.
“Hey girls. Whatcha’ doing? It sure smells good in here.”
However, after seeing the girls and the condition of the kitchen, he got nervous, slowly shook his head and backed out of the ‘Disaster Zone’, saying, “Oh, I see. Ummm…well, have fun girls!”
Watching her dad back out of the kitchen, Yvonne and Shelley guiltily glanced over at each other and resumed their mad dash around the kitchen in a valiant effort to finish the cleaning up.
Shelley figured it had to be the fastest they had ever moved in their lives!
After the last bowl was drived and put away, the counter and table top wiped off and the floor swept, it was time to take the ‘cake’ out of the oven.
Both girls held their breaths as Yvonne donned her mother’s oven mitts, reached in the oven and slowly but carefully pulled out what looked like a pale, hollow flat pancake with cracks all over the top that resembled little roadways of a map of the United States.
They stood rooted to the spot in front of the stove with wide eyes and dropped chins while Yvonne held the pan up between them. Their expressions mirrored their disappointment and surprise, until the slightest trickles of laughter bubbled up from deep within their throats.
Yvonne’s mouth started twitching as she tried with all her might not to double over with laughter. She reached over to set the cake down on the table so that she wouldn’t drop it. As soon as the cake pan touched the table, the laughter they were trying so hard to contain erupted throughout the kitchen. The laughing tears coursed down their cheeks as they clutched at their sides.
Between her gales of laughter, Shelley sputtered, “Yvonne…what-what did we d-do w-wrong?”
“ummm, umm…gee S-Shell. I d-don’t know,” Yvonne gasped with a shake of her head.
Glancing towards the table, Shelley declared, “Well, Yvonne, it looks kinda’ funny. How come there’s all those cracks? How come it sunk in the middle? It sure doesn’t look like on of my Mom’s cakes.”
Yvonne held her palms up as she tried to form an answer when the back door opened, announcing the arrival of her mother. With wide eyes, the girls glanced at each other in alarm as they heard light footsteps tapping their way toward the kitchen.
Shelley took in Yvonne’s beet-red face and said with a soft giggle, “Well, I think your mom is definitely going to be surprised.”
Mrs. Miller must have heard the giggling, because she took two, cautiouos light steps into the kitchen and peeked around the room. When her eyes landed on the ‘cake’ ceremoniously placed in the centre of her kitchen table, she glanced from the girls’ red faces to the table and back again. As she did, understanding filled her eyes. Without saying a word, a gentle smile spread across her face as she slowly approached the table while trying to contain her own rising laughter.
As she calmly and gently assessed the situation, she murmured, “My, my. What do we have here?”
Yvonne clasped her hands in front of her and gave a slight lift of her shoulders as she squeaked, “A cake? We wanted to surprise you, Mom. did we?”
Mrs. Miller’s giggle grew until she couldn’t hold it back any longer. The sight of the girls’ efforts sitting there on the table, looking so forlorn, proved to be too much. With tears of love and laughter, Mrs. Miller wrapped an arm around each of the girls’ shoulders as she asked, “Girls, are you sure you used all of the ingredients in the recipe?”
Yvonne placed a finger against her chin and looked toward the floor as she tried to remember all the ingredients the recipe called for.
Shelley, on the other hand, couldn’t help looking toward the ceiling as she tried to remember the list. It was as if she were hoping she might find the answer plastered up there on the ceiling.
After several minutes passed, Mrs. Miller spoke up with a grin and asked, “Let’s see now. Baking soda? Baking powder maybe?”
The girls glanced over at each other with serious concentration. Yvonne was sure they had put those ingredients in the mixing bowl, while Shelley started to have her doubts.
Mrs. Miller nodded her head and said, "Alright girls. Let’s see now. You would need the Baking Soda or Baking Powder for the cake to rise. Why don’t you get me a small plate and a knife and I’ll be the ‘Taste Tester’.
Yvonne turned and reached into the cupboard for a plate, while Shelley opened the cutlery drawer and carefully reached for a knife to cut the cake. After the girls handed over the requested utensils, they waited in silence. It had come down to this. Yvonne’s mother prepared herself for the ‘fatal taste test’. Dum-dum-da-dum dum-da-da-dum-da dum-da-dum.
As they watched her expression expectantly, it became clear that Yvonne’s mother was having trouble swallowing! After rushing to get her a drink of water, her advice was this…“No girls. when baking, always make sure you have ‘all’ the ingredients before you start. And also, ’don’t forget the Vanilla!”