My Mom taught for nearly 47 years in Fairfax County schools. Every year she would host a party at her house for all of the teachers at her school at the end of the school year to celebrate. The party was a big deal for my Mom. My Mom is an amazing cook and would make everything she served from scratch. She’s also more than a little neurotic about cleanliness and would clean for days before the party, including involuntarily drafting my sister and I into the insanity.

My first year in college my Mom married my step-father and moved into his house with his teenage daughter, Amy, and Beagle, Scruffy. Battles between my Mom and Scruffy would erupt periodically for the years they had to live together. As for Amy, poor Amy. At least my sister and I had each other when my Mom went on her cleaning frenzy; Amy was all alone against my Mom, rubber gloves, and can of Comet cleanser.

To celebrate her first year in her new home my Mom decided to make a white cake from scratch. I’ve been told that’s a rather difficult process that entails such things as sifting flour and separating eggs. To be honest, I have no clue what it entails as I’m more of a buy a box of Butter-scotch Krimpets type of baker, myself.

The day of the party arrived. The family was banished. The house was spotless. The cake was baked, frosted, and waiting in the middle of the dining room table. Mom went upstairs to freshen up before her guests arrived. When she came downstairs she glanced into the dining room for one last check. Standing in the middle of her highly polished, solid wood, dining room table with his mouth full of cake and face smeared with white frosting like a rapid dog, was Scruffy.

He took one look at Mom and took a flying leap off the table, across the living room, through the kitchen and family room, and up the stairs to the bedrooms, all the while with cake and frosting flying in all directions. My Mom finally caught him upstairs and dumped him, rather impolitely I’d imagine, in the yard.

Somehow she managed to get the house back in order before her guests arrived, and the party proceeded, albeit without cake.

Never content to leave well enough alone, Scruffy had the last word. People with dogs know, large quantities of sugar and dogs don’t mix. About half an hour into the party the “recycled” cake made a reappearance. Out of both ends of Scruffy, from one end of the yard to another.

My older sister and I like to think that this episode finally upstaged the year our cat, Mehitabel, decided to bring baby bunnies as “gifts” to the party guests.

–Kim Simons

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