Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Prize on the Bottom

See? Dresses. Pfff . . .
Birthdays are magic.
Truly.
Oh, and chew your cake carefully. You never know what's in it.
Maybe I should explain . . .
My friend was turning six.
And I was invited to her birthday party!
A whole year away.
Okay, it probably wasn't a year. Likely only a few days, but time mooooves reeeaaalllyyy slooowllly when one is six and waiting for a birthday party.
Finally, it was time.
I not-so-patiently submitted to being scrubbed shiny.
Then scampered across the hallway to my bedroom and dug out my favourite jeans and western shirt.
Mom followed me, laying a frilly dress on my bed while I donned the requisite undies.
Wait. What? I have to wear a dress?!
I stared at her, my six-year-old face the picture of dismay.
I'm remembering this how I want . . .
Mom insisted, so I again submitted, this time under protest. I'm sure my arguments included some or all of: "I can't play in that!" or "I look like a freak!" or "It's too squishy!" or my patented "None of the other kids will be wearing dresses!"
A note here: All the other girls were wearing dresses. Traitors.
A short time later, I appeared in the front hallway pressed, dressed and combed (Incidentally another thing I hated.) and ready for excitement.
Just so you know, I can't remember whose birthday it was, or what we did.
I'm quite sure it was fun. And featured the requisite games, gift opening and ooh-ing and aah-ing.
There is one thing that really stands out in my mind.
The cake.
Angel food.
We were each given a large slice on a fancy plate.
And that's when the magic happened.
In the bottom of my piece was a little toy.
I'm not making this up.
There really was a toy in the bottom of everyone's piece. Wrapped in a tiny piece of waxed paper and baked right into the cake!
Genius!
I carefully released my toy, and ate the cake.
Then spent the rest of the party playing with my little trinket.
Now looking back on this with adult eyes, I realize that the toy was probably made of metal, otherwise it would have melted.
And maybe painted with lead-based paint, which none of us knew about in 1961.
Yikes.
All I knew was that there was a toy baked into my piece of cake and that was the coolest thing ever.
Ever.
And just so you know, I still look at the bottom of my piece of cake.
Every time.
Even when I've made it.
You never know when the magic will happen.

15 comments:

  1. I hope that magic happens again with care! When eating a piece of King Cake I am always cautious as an adult because what if I do get a coin or the baby Jesus and bite down and break a tooth or a crown? As a child it is all fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah we don't consider such things with our young, pearly little biters. Old teeth . . . sigh.

      Delete
  2. Funny the little things that make such an impact on us when we're children. If only we could go back to the times when a little toy in our cake would make our day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It has to be magic. There is NO other explanation. Keep looking, Diane! Someday there will be another prize in there :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. My one and only birthday party as a kid...I have the picture to prove it...ALL girls fand ALL in dresses....sheesh. No toys in my cake though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hands up all who would like to see that picture.

      Delete
    2. I wish I could show you but my scanner is long dead....it's a beauty though...party hats and all.

      Delete
    3. I'm with River. I'd love to see it!
      I loved those party hats. We have them. But we use them for party time dancing in the kitchen!

      Delete
    4. I'd love to see it too, and if you have a digital camera, Delores, you can take a picture of your picture and then post that. It's not quite as good as a scanner but it's not bad!

      Delete
  5. That's the type of thing that would've enchanted me as a kid! Such a cute story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laurie! Obviously, we're kindred spirits!

      Delete
  6. I love seeing little girls in pretty party dresses. There's a swing towards little girls wearing pretty dresses when they go to town here in Adelaide now, mostly tiny little Asian girls about 3-7 years old, all dolled up in ribbons, frills and lace, but some Australian little ones too.
    The toy in the cake idea is genius :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They look so sweet! Nothing cuter!
      Funny how something so simple could stay with me so long!

      Delete

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