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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: 'Cat'astrophe
By Marie Fink


When Jan’s children were young she could play and work all day into the night. She enjoyed her sometimes tiring roles as mother, wife, teacher, chef, chauffeur, nurse, and the myriad of other things that could be listed in her job description.

On one particularly busy day that blurred into darkness, it was about 11:00 p.m. before Jan was able to lay her head upon the inviting pillow. In almost an instant it dawned on her that she forgot to do what she had looked forward to nearly all week: bake her adorable four year old daughter’s birthday cake for the following day’s party with friends and family.

Springing from the barely dented pillow, the industrious young mother flew into action thinking, ‘This really won’t take very long.’ ‘I know what I want to do, and the recipe is easy.’ Her husband received a quick kiss on his forehead then into the kitchen she dashed, gathering the necessary utensils and ingredients.

Upon talking earlier in the week with the sparkling and vivacious Katie, this clever mother knew that she could create the “Cat or kitten cake” that her precious birthday girl desired. Now it was only a matter of preheating the oven, greasing and flouring the pans, and throwing the ingredients together to be able to pour the batter, and bake. ‘Cutting the shape and decorating in the morning before the children wake up will be easy,’ contemplated the optimist.

Her nimble mind and hands were working efficiently when she reached into the pantry shelf for sugar. ‘Sugar, sugar, I’m sure I have sugar’, she puzzled. In a day before supermarkets were open twenty-four hours, some energy drained from her fuzzy mind at this late hour when she realized that the sugar container was indeed empty. “Grrr!” was all her brain could scream for a moment, when a brilliant idea came to her twirling thoughts, ‘Why don’t I just use powdered sugar instead?’

Undaunted, the imaginative mother continued creating the cat/kitten cake for cute little Katie, who was delighted the next day when she saw the finished product. Even the white batter had a hue of light purple, just as requested. The ears were shaped perfectly and the round head and body, exquisite. This fledgling baker had never handled such an easy cake. She was able to move it back and forth from one hand to another, carve without making any cracks or errant cuts in the beautiful…sponge. ‘Yes, that’s what this reminds me of; a sponge,’ she thought as she was carving. ‘Hmmm, something may not be right with this, but for now, I’m happy there is a cake,’ she mused.

The party was wonderful with giggling girls, cousins, and a couple of neighbors, plus husband and son (big brother to the girl of the hour). The children played games and the girls all wanted a turn with the large ‘Barbie head’ Katie received from her aunt and uncle. This was a real plastic head for which to fix hair and put on makeup. (This unusual gift occupied many a girl’s time for hours into years.)

At one point Katie wondered aloud, “Is it time for everyone to sing to me yet?” “All I have to do is light the candles,” her mom answered. As the scrumptious looking dessert was being cut it was hard not to notice that there were literally no crumbs falling. As appealing as this creation appeared, suddenly everyone knew deep down that it was somehow not going to taste very good. There was plenty of other food provided for the party and portions were doubly taken. When the celebration was over, absolutely no one had eaten their sweet treat. Pieces of played with, colorful cake lay strewn about the many little plates.

At the end of the day, bubbly Katie was happy and thankful and went to bed chattering away about the party, the people, the presents, and the pretty, but sad cake. As was customary in the neighborhood, this resourceful mother, not having the heart to throw it all away, decided to feed the birds with the leftover birthday “sponge”. And not even they, who usually attempted anything thrown their way, were curious about the feast that lay before them. Jan quipped in her mind; ‘Double Grrr!’ then promptly fell onto her soft pillow for a catnap.

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This article has been read 406 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Shipman 02/04/10
This was terrific, from beginning to end! Great description, lots of detail, and good use of third person. I felt "in the moment" with this super mom. What a fun birthday story to pass on through the years. Good job!
AnneRene' Capp02/04/10
I was tickled reading this and pictured the little wind up bunny that keeps going and going!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/06/10
What a delightful story, and now I know not to substitute powdered sugar while baking a cake!
Ruth Brown02/07/10
Clever little story.I liked hearing the mother's thoughts.
Teri Burns02/09/10
I enjoyed your story. We moms like everything to be just so and will do anything to make it happen.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/11/10
Hey Marie, congrats on placing 12th in Level 1 with your entry! You are among some great writers, so good job! If you haven't already, be sure to check out the Highest Rankings posted on the forums: