As the holidays approach, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. This morning as I indulged in my ritual cup of Folgers, (two sugars, no cream, instant) the memory of my grandmother triggering my trust issues and scarring me for life came over me like a wave of unwanted reflux. “Would you like a piece of cake?” She asked me, caressing my hair and smiling. With my innocence and age appropriate naiveté I eagerly replied, “Oh yes, please!” I sat at the table and she plopped an unfamiliar loaf of sorrow onto my plate.
“What, what’s this?” I asked with confused bewilderment. “Cake.” She simply answered. I poked at the abomination before me with my fork before I made one of the first bad decisions in my life and took a huge bite. “Yuck!” I screamed as I spat the bread-like, yet gelatinous sin out of my mouth. “That’s not cake!” I groaned as I pushed the plate of woes as far away from me as possible.
“It’s fruit cake. You don’t like it?” That was all she could say with a slight smirk on her face. See, what I didn’t know was that every holiday season, people gifted and re-gifted each other fruit cakes. Why? Because who the hell would purposely eat reindeer shit? At the tender age of five, I found out that the adults in my life would trick me and trick me good. She knew that pile of demonic excrement was old, first of all, and devoid of anything that would resemble a tasty treat. In retrospect, I am almost positive that the cake of despair that she served me was no less than three years old.
This happened to me Christmas season, 1985. This was a time when you would find a loaf or two of fruity sadness sitting untouched and unloved during the holidays. Now that it’s almost 2020, I hope and pray that no child will ever have to experience the holiday struggle cake ever again.