Grandma Lola: The Cake
Anyone who knew my grandmother knew that she made the best pound cake on the planet. She had her own personal special recipe and an alternate one that she shared with the those that she knew. It was the best lemon pound cake with a crunchy top. Those who had the pleasure of savoring one had their own way of eating it. Some would eat the bottom first and save the top for last. Others would warm it and put a little butter on it (as if it didn’t have enough butter already). Others would freeze it and save it for another day to toast. No matter your choice, every bite contained a little bit of her love that made it even more special.
As long as I could remember my grandma would bake cakes and take them to the sick, the elderly and to places all over town. When she would go to the bank she would put a slice in the drawer with her deposit. When she would go to the doctor, she would take a cake for the staff. We came from a small town and every where she went everyone knew about Grandma Lola Mae’s pound cake. It was not unusual for her to make 3-5 cakes in a day. She had a lot of people to service.
My grandmother lived with my mom and dad for many years until she spent her last three years in the nursing home due to her dementia. Her cake baking got to the point where my parents were buying flour and sugar for her by the 25 pound bags and eggs by the dozens. She had her own little way of cutting out circles from cardboard boxes for the bases. She knew exactly when to wrap them after cooling to make sure that they stayed soft and delicious when they were delivered. Anyone who knew her, knew about and wanted her cake.
I think one of the hardest moments for me was once her dementia got to the point where she could no longer bake. It was telling when the cakes no longer came out perfect because there was too much flour, or too much sugar, or she had forgotten the eggs or had forgotten that they were in the oven at all. Fortunately, my mom has mastered her technique and her legacy lives on.
When I think back of all the smiles that she created with those cakes, the sick that she made feel better, the lonely that she brought some warmth to and the pure joy that she brought to so many, it makes my heart full. These weren’t just cakes. These were Grandma Lola Mae’s pound cakes. This past Mother’s Day her cakes were one of the things I miss about her most of all. If I close my eyes and imagine, I can still smell them baking in the oven and wonder if I can sneak a piece before she has a chance to notice.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today.