Once upon a time, a young lad worked all day long with his sister and his mother on making three huge, lasagnas from scratch for that evening’s pot luck dinner at the Lutheran church they attended. The three of them chopped and stirred and grated and layered and baked all day long, happy that they would produce a delicious meal to share with friends and neighbors.
At last the time arrived and they gathered up the lasagnas and got them to the church hall on time. But no sooner had they arrived than the pastor asked if they could help set up the tables and chairs. Of course they were willing. Of course they delivered the lasagnas and went straight to work setting up the room… all by themselves.
And while they were working so hard, the food line was opened and people began finding seats and eating. Many of them liked lasagna, as it turned out.
By the time the boy and his sister and his mother finished setting up the tables and chairs for the entire rest of the congregation, nearly everyone had been through the line at least once. Many had been through twice.
So the boy and his sister and his mother got in line for what was left. Let’s see… there were half a dozen pots of baked beans, most of them in hues that were somewhat unconventional for baked beans. There was ambrosia salad. Every potluck in history, someone brought that stuff and to this day I believe there are twelve people who have tried it – eleven of whom have regretted it immediately. There were some Jell-o salads with chunks of random stuff in them that did not appeal.
Lasagna? Long gone. The pans had been cleaned of even the tiniest iota of burnt cheese.
But there was one thing left on that buffet that the boy was willing to eat: a single slice of chocolate cake.
And there was a woman ahead of him in line (going through for the third time) who was reaching for it.
The boy thought fast. He had something of a gift for telling tales sincerely and he told one now:
“My mom made that cake.”
“It’s a my favorite cake.”
“My mom has trouble getting me and my sister to eat our vegetables, so she makes this great chocolate cake and puts cauliflower in it. That’s chocolate cauliflower cake.”
“Yeah, she puts the cauliflower in and then I eat it right up. It’s delicious.”
At that point, the lady decided she didn’t need a slice of that cake. They boy and his sister shared the slice of cake, which was entirely sans cauliflower. They enjoyed it tremendously.
The boy grew up to be Mr. Twistie’s best friend, songwriting partner, and devil on his shoulder. Tweedledum to his Tweedledee, as it were. He’s a good friend of mine, too.
And today is his birthday, so I’m baking him a chocolate cake… and just for him, I’ll tell him it’s got cauliflower in it, even though it doesn’t.
Happy birthday, my friend, and many, many more!