If that don’t take the tipsy cake

Published 10:07 pm Friday, December 25, 2020

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When I was growing up, a few days before Christmas we would go over to Eufaula to get my granny to come and stay with us through Christmas.

On Christmas Day, my aunt and uncle would come to eat Christmas dinner with us and my granny would go back to Eufaula with them.

My uncle was what folks back then called a dirt road sport. He was always laughing and telling funny stories. I liked him a lot.

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He and Aunt Eleanor would bring presents for Bubba, Mama, Daddy and me. We would give them presents.  Uncle Willie said he always brought more presents than he took home. Mama didn’t like that; I could tell.

This one Christmas, my granny announced that she would not be going back to Eufaula with Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Willie. She would be staying a few more days with us.

Aunt Eleanor looked surprised. Uncle Willie looked happy and Mama looked like she had seen a ghost.

My granny said she was staying to make William a cake. She didn’t say a Lane Cake but she didn’t have to say so.

Lane cakes were for grownups. Not for little children to even sniff or smell. The men liked Lane cakes so much so that Uncle Will made the Lane cake his present from Daddy every year.

“William, I believe I’ll take this Lane cake on home with me,” Uncle Willie would say as he wrapped the almost uncut cake in tin foil.

Even though my granny brought the Lane cake in a cake saver, Mama never took the lid off. She said the cake had a funny smell and it might make us sick.

One time, Uncle Willie took the lid off and the smell burned my eyes. Uncle Willie said the cake had Baptist vanilla in it and that’s why it burned my eyes.

We had a good time at Christmas dinner that year and I was sad to see Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Willie leave for home.

And, like always, when it was time for them to go, Uncle Willie got their presents and said that he brought a whole lot more than he was taking home. Mama pretended she didn’t hear him but she did.

Then, we heard Uncle Willie in the kitchen, pulling off a long piece of tin foil.

“William!” he said in a loud voice. “I believe I’ll take this Lane cake on home with me. I know you don’t want any!”

Daddy said something but I couldn’t make it out.

Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Willie went home and the next morning my granny was in the kitchen making a Lane cake for Daddy. I knew it was a Lane cake because I could smell the Baptist vanilla and it burned my eyes.

The very next day, we took my granny back to Eufaula. We got back home early but Daddy was asleep in the bed and was snoring real loud.

I thought he was sick but Mama said he had eaten almost the whole Lane cake and was tipsy.

“Well, if that don’t take the cake,” my granny said when Mama told her on the phone about Daddy.

From then on, my granny brought chocolate cakes to Christmas dinner and left the tipsy cake in Eufaula for Uncle Willie.