Predictable Behavior

I am a creature of habit.  So much so, that my kids and friends know where I am every minute of the day.  Each night, between 6:00 and 7:00 PM, dinner.  Same three meals  over and over again — if I’m cooking.   Same restaurants where I order the same meal.  Between 7:30 and 8:30 PM, I show up at the Y, where I’m greeted with big, friendly hellos from the young, hungry staff.  You see, I usually have some of my freshly baked cake in hand.  “FREDDE!!!!!!” Wendy and David yell from behind their tall desks where they’re doing their YMCA duties.  On the way home from the Y, I might make a quick stop at the market to drop off another piece of cake for my friend Kent, who bags groceries.  Then home for a swim.

One night a few months ago, I forgot that I had wanted to bring Kent a nice, big slice.  It had just been his birthday, which he did remind me of several times in the weeks before.   I love Kent’s enthusiasm for life and how excited he gets when he tells me about singing opera with his talented mother in the church choir.  I follow his career, such as it is, a few performances a year.  Kent had already clocked out one night when I ran into him and decided he should just get in the car with me and come back to the house, where I could give him a fresh slice.  I felt so bad about missing his actual birthday.  But to be fair to myself, I hadn’t baked that day.  We pulled into the driveway and I wasn’t sure whether he should just stay put while I run in and bring the cake out.  But, after telling him my husband might be asleep because he wakes up very early for work, we entered the house quietly.  I quickly locked our dog Bing in the bedroom, because he can scare you if he doesn’t know you.  Then Kent followed me into the kitchen.  I cut the slice, put it on a paper plate then put in a candle, lighted it, and sang Happy Birthday in no more than a whisper.  Think Marilyn Monroe — only short, brunette, plain-looking and wearing sweats, having just come from a workout.  In the warm glow of candlelight that a great cinematographer would envy, I could see a huge smile spreading across my friend Kent’s face.  Priceless.  I held back tears.  It was a magic moment, the kind you see in movies.  I captured every frame to play back in my head.

A few weeks ago, I went to the Y at the predictable hour, then swung by the market, this time equipped with a piece of cake for Kent.  I asked where he was because I know he leaves work around 8:00 and maybe I missed him, though it was just 8:00.  The person I asked gave me an odd look and simply said Kent wasn’t working that night.  Then a week or so went by and I saw Kent in the village.  He told me that he got fired.  I asked why, because Kent is a fixture to all of us in this neighborhood.  Apparently, a bully at work had been harassing him, and one day when he just couldn’t take it anymore, after months of months of abuse, he hit this dude back.  I applaud him for it because I’m sure the guy deserved it.  But, I sort of wish he had told me about the abuse because I’m one of those people who likes to see a bully back down — you know, when you stand up to them and call them out on their shit!!!

Here is how predictable I am.  If I see unfair behavior, I’m going to step right in the middle of it, no matter the consequences.  Then I’m going to head home and eat a piece of cake.

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!!!

Recipe:  This is one of my more popular cakes. Not that my cakes are in a popularity contest but this one is usually a hit at the Y or with Kent.  My husband often calls it my chocolate layer cake.  I correct him every single time.  This is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  It’s very old fashioned/southern.

Fredde Duke’s Big Hit Cake

4 Egg Whites

2 Cups White Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (one stick) softened unsalted butter

1 plus 3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Cup Buttermilk

In a medium bowl whisk Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar and then add egg whites one at a time.  Add flour mixture and the buttermilk to the butter/sugar mixture in sections until it’s incorporated.   Spread batter into prepared pans, I use two round 8 inch rubber cake pans.  Cook for 35 minutes in a 350 oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Best Chocolate Frosting

In a double boiler on top of stove, put three tablespoons unsalted butter to melt with 1 cup of best quality semi-sweet chips.

When the chocolate/butter mixture is melted, let it cool for a few minutes.

One box of powdered (confectioner) sugar in a bowl with 2/3 cup whipping cream and add the melted butter and mix with a hand beater. And, a teaspoon of vanilla.
Enjoy this Anti-bullying video my son Barnaby and his girlfriend Mariah made. She directed.

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7 Responses to “Predictable Behavior”

  1. Jonah Wilson says:

    Another great blog Fredde!

  2. Julie Phalen says:

    So what happened? Did you chew out the bully? Did you find your friend a new job?

  3. Hoov says:

    Wakko you know my gig. We both know that bs and I are not any page 2 thumps up. ::::) aloha Hoov

  4. Kent's Mom (Linda) says:

    Thank you Fredrica!

  5. Kent's Mom (Linda) says:

    Kent took nine YEARS of abuse at that store.

  6. Debbie Schellenberg says:

    Well done Freddie…I love reading your articles. they are so insightful and interesting…and now I am HUNGRY!
    Sorry about the guy at the Y. Is there anything we can do to help?

  7. robin says:

    okay, first, what happened with kent?
    second bing hates me.
    third, so desperate for yellow cake/choc frosting recipe.

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