A winner in the cakewalk of life

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 2, 2001

News Editor

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition that keeps the mind sharp and keeps a person on their toes.

Playing any kind of game has always been a hobby for me, whether it was a board game, a crossword puzzle or a computer game. Winning, however, is a different matter altogether. Every once in awhile I’ll get lucky in a game of Uno or Yatzhee and depending on who I’m playing I can sometimes win a Scrabble. But most games I play are just for the fun of it.

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Lately with fall festivals all around us, I’ve been a little disappointed that I’ve had to "cover" the festivals and not participate. Festival games are some of my favorites, and I usually end up broke in the end. But my favorite of all festival games is the cakewalk.

I could walk a cakewalk all day hoping to win a homemade cake out of some mother’s kitchen. It’s been a long time since I’ve participated in one, but I can remember the Smiths Station Elementary School Halloween Carnival, where I won about eight cakes in a cake walk one year like it was yesterday.

I think it was the year that my whole family dressed up like scarecrows. From the flannel shirts to the overall to the straw hat with yellow yarn sewn in for hay, it was the Lansdon Scarecrow Family.

At the carnival I fished for the bad of goodies, tried to climb the greased pole and went through the haunted house with my eyes closed the whole time clutching my dad’s arm.

The cakewalk was set up in the middle of the girls’ softball field. There were probably about 30 chairs and I took my seat among them. The chairs filled, the music started and we all began to walk around the circle.

There is a strategy to the cakewalk. You have to walk with your back to the chair with the back of your leg slightly grazing the seat so when the music stops you can sit immediately. Well, that’s my strategy anyway.

The music stopped and the walker sat. Everyone check there number and the "ringmaster" of the cakewalk called out a number.

"I won! I won!" I screamed and ran to the table of cakes. I was handed a homemade chocolate cake that I took to my mother who was manning the concession stand. She was thrilled and I was thrilled because we knew we’d have cake to eat when we got home that evening.

But one cake wasn’t enough. I had to try my luck again. The music started, the people walked, the music stopped and the people sat. The ringmaster called out a number, and what do you know, it was mine again. This time I won a carrot cake. Again I took the cake to my mother and we were thrilled again.

Well, it only took one more cake and people at the carnival started giving me money to walk for them. At the time I was too young to realize I needed to work out a deal so I would get paid for my labor, but back then winning was enough.

I won several more cakes that year and I walked until I could hardly stand. Like I said, I haven’t walked a cakewalk in many years, but the one at the Goshen Elementary School Fall Festival sure looked tempting.

Amy S. Lansdon is the news editor for The Messenger. E-mail her at amy.lansdon@troymessenger.com


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