Cupcake Days were established by our school PTA before my kids started attending there. They are a longstanding tradition.
Each month, one grade has to bring in two dozen of the sugary boogers. The PTA parents, I’d guess mostly moms, organize them and sell them to the kids after lunch for .50 each. Used to be .25 but two years ago the price doubled. Damn inflation.
Last Wednesday, I drove up at 7:45 AM, our usual drop off time, and there they were, the 5th grade Stepford moms: aprons on, cart on the sidewalk, boxes of the delicious delicacies stacked one on top of the other.
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“Geeeze!” I had forgotten. It was on my calendar. Doesn’t do you any good if you don’t check it the night before.
“Dad, can we have our cupcake money?”
I scrambled through the ashtray. I had six pennies and one nickel.
“Probably wouldn’t let you have one anyway since your sorry father forgot.”
“It’s OK dad,” my middle daughter assured me. “I’ll borrow .50 from a friend.”
I lost the Sunday School book last week and my entire class had to change curriculum. Now this. I’m losing my mind!!!
I scurried home, showered and threw on my work clothes. Snatched four quarters from the porcelain pig that DJ made when she was in sixth grade; if you’re a criminal, that’s where the family booty is kept. Darted to the Harris Teeter and nabbed two dozen, frosted in primary colors.
I hate buying the cupcakes. They cost $18, and I’m afraid that I’m going to throw a kindergartener into a diabetic coma. The red dyed butter and sugar concoction heaped on the top of their little cakes is 4 ½ inches high. It can’t be good for you.
What’s more, I could give the school the $12 they will make from sales, save $6 and perhaps a small child’s life.
I wish I could stand on a soap box and be critical of the whole cupcake thing, you know, healthy eating and all. But I’m afraid that someone in the cafeteria might start an inventory of my kids’ lunches.
“Dad, why do you keep putting bananas in our lunch boxes? We don’t eat them!”
“It’s not for you baby. It’s for me. I put them in there so that I can pretend that I’m a good parent, encouraging you to eat well, concerned for your wellbeing. Never bring them home. Just throw them away. Let’s pretend you eat them.”
“One day you’ll understand.”
After dropping off the change and double pound of lard, I fought the beltline traffic to work, my guilt left on Rowan Street by the front doors of the school.
When I arrived home that night, Stephanie, the one who had so graciously given me a bye 10 hours earlier, met me at the door.
“Do you know what this is?” she inquired holding an unusual coin between her thumb and Mr. Pointer.
“It’s money,” I responded, not understanding the significance.
“Yes. It is a Euro, the one that Pops brought back from Germany last month.”
“Do you think that our school accepts euros to pay for cupcakes?”
“I don’t know what that means but the answer is no!”
“Did you see any kindergarteners in Nurse Huber's office today?”
“Not when I walked by.”
At least one thing went right.