Today is October first, my father’s birthday. If he were still alive, he would be ninety-eight today. He died in 1988. My mother is younger; she’s only ninety-three.
A couple of days ago, my mother and I talked about his upcoming birthday. We used to always ask him what kind of cake he wanted. He answered, “Oh, I think I’d like to have either an applesauce cake or a banana nut cake--you decide.” We knew he’d say that, and we made one or the other for him.
After I got married and moved away, I still asked, and if we weren’t going to be together, I would make a loaf cake--applesauce or banana nut--and mail it to him. Once the banana nut cake I made collapsed in the middle, for some unknown reason, into a gooey mess. My husband and I ate the outside edges, and I mailed my dad an applesauce cake, which he said he liked.
When we talked about these things the other day, I said, “Let’s have a cake in remembrance of him.” And we did. This morning while I cooked breakfast, I made a banana nut cake, in cupcake form. I bought some cream cheese frosting to go on top. Mother and I had hamburgers for lunch, and then we iced up the cupcakes.
I was about ready to take a bite, when Mother lifted one slightly gnarled index finger, ready to direct. She had a mischievous smile, and I understood. We sang the birthday song--a loud version. And then we laughed, remembered him, and ate our cupcakes. He would have liked the walnuts.