Small Talk

Life gets sweeter around birthdays

I have had a very sweet week.
It was my birthday week, which never hurts, and I scored not one but two gorgeous cakes. One was tasty chocolate with a picture of Johnny Depp on it. Even at my age, that’s sweet.
The other was actually a giant Boston-cream-pie cupcake covered with dark chocolate.
It was the kind of thing you want to eat all alone, in the dark, all-at-once-without-hardly-chewing. I didn’t, but I gave it serious thought.
Another enormous source of sweetness came from all the amazing little hugs, birthday serenades, an eight-foot poster and a zillion hand-made birthday cards I got from those adorable little ones that come through my elementary school library. That kind of sweetness could soften up a marble statue and I grab it at every opportunity.
The cards are my annual treat, saying things like “Happy birthday to the world’s best librarian — who is turning 13,” and one with “The Big Book of Birthday Cakes” drawn on the front.
It’s even funnier when you realize that 13 is just about as old as they can imagine anyone being.
But my sweet tooth, which is that of a 300-pound pastry chef, got quite a workout midweek in my delicious, yearly task as judge at the fifth-grade Gold Rush Days pie-baking contest.
I’ve been invited to the task for three years and it has usually averaged about 20 entries.
You would be astounded at the very palatable and often-attractive creations these little fingers whip up.
As one or two always look like they were truly baked over an open fire, hence we have an award for authenticity.
To everyone’s shock, this year, the pies on the table totaled 43. As the junior cowpokes circled nervously around, I munched and savored, reviewed and rechecked, getting just a little dizzy in the process. What I expected to take 15 minutes took 45. And even then I was hard-pressed to pick just six winners. I was loving every bite, but many of the moms were worried at the amount of pie I had to process. They worried needlessly. Sure I was full, even with 45 small bites, but my mouth and I were more than happy to make the sacrifice. I’ll just skip lunch next year. There’s always room for pie and happy little faces.
I wish much sweetness in all your lives. I have an overabundance.