Simi Valley & Friends:It’s only cake.

Its only cake. And sometimes people make mistakes.

I remember my 13th birthday. It was going to be a big deal as a family gathering was going to be had at a park in Simi Valley. And all my relatives were going to be there. It was going to be good and I was totally pumped and looking forward to it. Even though my birthday was falling on a Thursday, we were going to celebrate it on Saturday. The only thing I really asked for were a pair of ankle top boots I had seen at Kmart. Texas Steer brand if I remember right. Doesn’t seem like a lot. But I was an easy kid. And by that age I was pretty much done with toys. I was all about doing stuff and eating hamburgers.

It was exciting. Early on Saturday mom was busy boiling potato’s so she could make potato salad for the party. We were going to hold it at Oak Park in Simi. A small obscure little park off Arroyo Drive which was one of the back ways into Simi before the freeway was built. I remember my mom on the phone calling to my aunts to make sure what was going to be taken for the Barbecue. There was going to be chicken and steak and chips and salsa and of course birthday cake.

I was dying with excitement as we loaded up the car and started to make our way there. Once there I helped find tables and started to get busy putting down table cloths and other party stuff. As time went on family and cousins started to arrive. When my cousins got there it was on…we would take off and go exploring. While the adults would sit around and get things started like the cooking of the meat. I watched as my uncles started to pop open the beers and make man talk. While my mom and my Aunt Sarah were putting things together. My Aunt Angie was tasked with the job of picking up the cake which was coming.

After about an hour…we were hungry and it was time to eat. Being late March, the weather was great. Not hot and we had shade from one of the giant oak trees there. After everyone ate it was time for cake. WOW! What a surprise….a whole sheet of cake, Not a quarter…or a half but a whole sheet. I had the biggest smile as it was set in front of me. After opening up my gifts. It was time to cut the cake. I blew out the candles and them my mom cut a piece for me. As I started to eat the cake it tasted kind of different. Not bad…just different. My mom noticed and asked what was wrong with it. I said it tasted weird. After asking my aunt what kind of cake it was…she said it was Chocolate cake with champagne filling. Since I wasn’t liking it too much. my mom got mad at my aunt and gave her a light scolding over it..

I felt bad and could see that my aunts feelings were hurt as she got up to go smoke a cigarette facing away from the group 30 feet away. Just my looking at her from the back I could see she was wiping tears away between puffs on her smoke. I loved my aunt . I felt bad that she was hurt and I was mad at my mom for making her cry. I got up and walked over to her with a fresh piece with two forks. And I told her it wasn’t was just different. And the more I ate…the more I liked it. She flicked her smoke and immediately hugged me as she cried into my shoulder while saying I’m sorry mijo ..I didn’t know. Its OK aunt Angie.

I gave her a napkin to wipe her tears and said…there’s more chicken. Lets go have some. She sat with me at the table and we ate together. Her husband Gill must have seen the whole thing because he came and put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it gently. I know he saw my aunt Angie cry and it probably hut him to see it. Later my mom must have sensed I was a little mad at her and she asked me why. Because you made aunt Angie cry. And she means more to me than any dumb cake in the world. She felt bad and called later when we got home to say she was sorry.

When my aunt Angie passed away about 4 years ago. I cried as much as I did when my mom passed. She was the cool aunt, the fun one who did the string tied to my tooth and door knob trick to pull a lose baby tooth when I was 9. All I can say is peoples feelings matter more than any material thing that can always be fixed or replaced. Now…whenever I have a piece of champagne cake I always try and get a second piece.

I like it that much now

By: Mario


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