My wife and I never drive or walk by a bake sale without stopping. I know families have rules, but this is a law.
Some of the most creative driving maneuvers I’ve ever made were when I turned back for a bake sale.
You know the story your aunt tells at family gatherings about the guy who drove over the sidewalk, and she jumped out of the way a split second before being hit, only to see him park at a church? Hi!
The excitement of walking into a church and seeing four blue-haired ladies at a table full of baked goodies is matched only by … huh, I’ll get back to ya on that.
You feel like you’re at a Smithsonian virtual exhibit where you’ve gone back in time. The smell of your grandparents’ house comes alive. Recipes from years ago, before there were blueberries.
Like the one we were at in York, Maine where one of the sweet old ladies, Myrtle, reminisced about her fling with Lincoln.
The senior set love my jokes. I wait for the inevitable moment when they ask if there’s anything else they can do for me and I say, “Take my wife, please,” and they crack up and my wife groans and I’m living my best life.
I’ve always wanted to be rich enough to walk into a bar full of people and scream, “Drinks for all my friends!” They cheer and I’m hefted up onto patrons’ shoulders and paraded around the village, where every child born for the next century is named Scott, oh, and also the dogs.
Minus that, I like to go in and buy all the remaining goodness on the table.
Of course, I’m well aware of the pricing. A ziplock bag of five chocolate chip cookies so good they can make the lame walk again? 75 cents. An apple pie so fresh it can give you a sparkling personality? $1.50. The grand total for my take is $11.25. Here’s $12. Keep the change and use the extra to build a wing onto the church. Another group chuckle. Killin’ it, right?
The ladies never mind when I buy everything, as they always remark that now that all the confections are sold, they can get a cocktail. That’s a bake sale inside joke. They’re already lit up.
Not all bake sales are a visit to Mayberry. Can you say, school bake sales?
In those elementary school gyms, Rice Krispies treats are always the headlining item. Once, my boys came home with a plate of them and I used them as sponges.
Who willingly chooses Rice Krispies over Tollhouse? Forget saturated fats and corn syrup, this is one of the biggest dietary crimes perpetrated on today’s kids.
Sure, back in our day, our moms smoked liked chimneys while pregnant and even more once we were born. They popped pills like M&M’s and left the house on bridge nights with a frozen TV dinner on the counter and instructions to “not burn the house down.”
But they never shoved a sticky block of saw dust down our throat and called it a snack. This proves we’re not evolving as a civilization.
You can always feel the rising competition between mothers at school bake sales. There’s inevitably some mother touting expensive bakery cookies as her own. Hey, Sarah’s mom? Next time, rip off the “Cookies by Glenda” sticker.
And I don’t care that Emma’s mom, who made the apple bread, just unfriended you on Facebook. What I’m concerned about is the $76.95 price tag for it.
Bake sales to raise money for sports trips are even more annoying. The headline item being a bone-dry scone. Which is the only type.
At Jessica’s mom’s table, they’re selling some unidentifiable item made with no butter, wheat, eggs, nuts, sugar, dairy, salt or flour. Consuming these tasteless tofu-based atrocities will combat all real and imagined allergies. I would rather be stabbed to death with an EpiPen.
The proceeds will go toward a luxury bus and rooms at the Marriott. We traveled on the hood of our dad’s station wagon and camped by the side of the road and we could still kick your butt in whatever game we were playing. Just be like everyone else and set up a GoFundMe page so parents can hate on the ones who didn’t give “enough.”
Currently, we’re running dangerously low on baked goods at the house. My wife is worried that many of the seniors have passed away and church bake sales might be a thing of the past. I pray not. Because I’ve been dying to tell the ladies about the time a priest, rabbi and the Pillsbury Doughboy walked into a bake sale.
Scott Kerman is a Methuen native and host of the Grandstanders Live! Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org