The Back Story
Joe hates snakes. Those three words don't convery his aversion. If he's flipping through a magazine and accidentally turns to a page where there is a snake, he screams. If we're looking through channels and come on one with snakes, he screams. If we're watching a show or a movie and a snake comes on, he screams. If a movie scene with snakes is long, he covers his face looks away and whispers, 'tell me when it's gone.' Which I do.
This has struck the girls funny ever since they learned of it. And them trying to scare him with a snake has become a kind of tradition. Joe loves it. So, when birthdays come, he knows that there will be a snake drawn in a birthday card, or his name spelled with the J being a snake, or something like that.
Getting the snakes.
We were going to put snakes, hidden under icing, in Joe's birthday cake. My mission was to get the snakes. The whole thing almost came to naught because I couldn't get to the toy store. The Dollar Store only had huge snakes that would never fit on a cake. The clerk, who had shown me where the snakes were, said, "You want it for a birthday cake?" with horror in her voice. "Yeah, cool, huh?" I said. So I went over to the mall that has the toy store and found my way blocked by construction, could not get from one side of the mall to the other. I had to go up, and out, and down to an entrance without a door opener and down to that elevator. This was the point at which it almost fell apart, the elevator over there is broken down more than not, it was raining, did I want to go. I went. It was a struggle to decide, but I went. The toy store found me the snakes, the woman who helped me find them, said, "Snakes in icing, awesome!" I almost invited her to the party.
Mike is much better at doing decoration so he and the girls took over the kitchen. I had made a cake, but we had, for this instance, bought cans of icing, both vanilla and chocolate. They were in there working hard. Every now and then one of the girls would come out, look at Joe, and laugh. They'd go back in and go back to work. Joe looked at me like, "What's going on?" He was suspicious. The cake looked beautiful. The snakes were hidden in the brown icing that formed the heart.
|Photo Description: Cake iced with brown and white icing with yellow candles and multicoloured sprinkles. Ruby's toes somehow got into the picture.|
The cake was brought to Joe to blow out the candles and then cut the first slice. After the candles were done, he started to cut and the knife came into contact with one of the rubber snakes. He said, "What's this?" and touched it and pulled it from the icing, letting out a piercing scream! The girls, and the rest of us, found this very funny, as did Joe when he got over the shock. Suddenly everyone was talking and laughing about the cake. They told Joe that there were two more snakes hidden in there and every time one got pulled out there was more screaming and more laughing. Finally, the snakes are out and the girls are beginning to lick the icing off them. When ...
|Photo Description: Ruby holding an icing covered snake up in front of Joe, predictably screaming and Sadie licking the icing off the snake in her hands.|
What Sadie Said
The laughter and the talk of the snakes in the cake went on for some while and then finally, in a moment's quite, Sadie's quiet voice asked, "Is this real or is this a dream?" I turned to her and said, "It's real, Sadie, it's real."
I guess for her the moment was so perfect but so odd that she had to check it out. She was tired from laughing and the scene - one of snakes on a cake was the kind of scene not usually part of everyday life.
She was right.
It was one of those moments where life had interected between completely perfect and a bit bizarre and it was a bit dreamlike.
What Joe Said
"Between the snakes and the screaming and the laughing," that was, without question, the weirdest and best birthday cakes I've ever had."