Starting a piece with a definition is an over-used literary device, but appropriate to today’s topic. To wit, Merriam-Webster defines “miracle” as “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” Let’s not dwell on “outstanding,” rather focus on “unusual.” And before I disclose, some background is called for.
My late sister Rosie ran circles around the rest of her siblings in her ability to create thoughtful, cute things. She made me Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls with my name inscribed.
She made my nephew a clown Halloween costume that was passed down to the other nieces and nephews the way some families pass down a christening gown.
My inability to do these kinds of things rivaled the inabilities of my siblings, the difference being that they didn’t try. Alas, I was a member of the “hope springs eternal” crowd. Apparently Rosie shared my hope for myself, so when my kids were young and she was decluttering, she would, from time to time, ship me things. Before Christmas, she sent three two-foot high cardboard cutouts shaped liked gingerbread men that my kids could decorate. And before Easter one year, she sent me a lamb cake mold with instructions to use a box cake mix. That was it, the only instruction. Not sure why she thought that was adequate, but as I said, she had more hope in others than they in themselves.
For starters, the mold had 2 pieces. I mixed up the cake, presuming that one piece was the left side of the lamb, and the other, the right. So I filled each side with cake mix. When I took it out of the oven, each side had risen, thus when I removed the cake from each side and put them together, I had a two-headed lamb.
I’d already met the definition of “miracle,” yet there was more.
Unbelievably, I was not dissuaded from going further. I was expecting my 20-something niece and Jim’s brother’s family to join me, Jim, and my three teens for Easter brunch. After a moment’s reflection, I decided none were fussy and all would prefer dessert despite its appearance. So, I forged ahead because I had no alternative and time had grown short. So short, I felt I couldn’t wait to decorate my two-headed lamb cake.
I skillfully applied a white frosting and teased it up to resemble the soft curly fur of a lamb. Masterful. Then ,the piece-de-resistance. I added two red jelly bean eyes and a black jelly bean nose. Viewed from the proper angle, one would hardly notice the duplicate head. Into the freezer it went for a “quick cool.”
A short time later, the time for dessert arrived. I dispatched my son to fetch the cake and bring it to the table. It took him longer than expected because he paused, finding it difficult to walk and laugh simultaneously. You see the “quick cool” wasn’t quick enough and the warm frosting gave rise to some melting of the jelly beans. As all stared in amazement, someone snapped a picture.
Over the years, the picture has been shared to family and friends of family. It is forgotten for several months, then like an Easter miracle, rises.
I am thinking there is no better time than a global pandemic, when people are starved for a bit of amusement, to share my creation publicly. Hence. I present, my two-headed lamb cake.
Rosie, we will miss you tonight when I launch my inaugural attempt at a family Jeopardy game on Zoom, but rest assured, hope springs eternal for my creative ambition.