When they came back, Dad promised I could help make it. I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake (I was and still am a loyal Funfetti man), but he knew I really liked working in the kitchen with him, so I was excited about it anyway.
“It says ‘stir by hand’” I loudly proclaimed from the red milk crate Dad dragged out so I could reach the kitchen counter, reading the instructions from the back of the box as if they would be utterly lost without them.
“That’s right, Mikey” Dad said after my sister dumped the dry cake mix, eggs and oil into a mixing bowl, after which he handed to me. “You stir this up while your sister and I watch the Care Bares movie in the living room, OK?”
I agreed, and when the two of them left the kitchen, I got to work.
Fifteen minutes later, Dad started to wonder why I hadn’t rejoined them in the living room yet. When he came back to the kitchen area, there I was – still standing on the red milk crate and holding the mixing bowl with my left hand, while my grubby right arm was elbow deep in the bowl, violently churning the beige slop clockwise like I was trying to create a vortex in the middle of it. Cake batter was splattered on every square inch of the kitchen.
“MIKEY, WHAT IN THE – “ was all he could manage to get out of his mouth before he realized what was going on. My sister stormed into the kitchen, processed the situation and started laughing. Dad started laughing too. I didn’t know why everybody was laughing, but I joined in with them anyway. We all stood in the kitchen laughing together until our bellies ached and our cheeks were wet with tears.
When we were done, Dad dumped the bowl of cake batter in the sink, washed my arm off and took us out for ice cream.