Friday, June 12, 2009

Its Thunder Cake Time!

"As summer clouds drift low over the fields..."grandmother looked at the horizon, drew a deep breath and said, "This is Thunder Cake baking weather, all right. Looks like a storm coming to me." - Patricia Polacco

Greetings everyone, from where I am reporting from it is the first major rainstorm of the summer! ha ha. I just came in from...thoroughly enjoying it, and although I took time to first change into warm pajamas and wrap myself snug in a quilt I am still simultaneously shivering as I type.

When the storm started I was leaving the movie theater parking lot. The rain hadn't started to fall yet, but the wind violently whipped my hair about in every direction as I ran to my car. In the distance I could hear thunder, and was reminded of an old children's book I used to read (and actively participated with) during the rainy season in Arizona when I was little.

The book was Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. It is a story about the author’s own childhood, how as a little girl she was terrified of thunder and how her grandmother helped her overcome her fear by baking cakes. When the little girl, filled with fear of the lightning and thunder hides under her bed, the grandma coaxes her out and tells her they need to "prepare the cake before the storm arrives, or else it is not a real thunder cake." She then tells her how to gauge how far away the storm is by counting seconds from the flash to the boom. They undergo different tasks to complete the cake while counting the storm's approach. When they get back to the house and place the cake in the oven the grandmother tells the little girl how brave she was for walking outside and completing each task as she did, and that she should no longer be afraid of the sound of thunder. As they pulled out the cake and began to slice it the rain started pouring down on their roof.

It really is such a cute story, I wish I still had a copy of it. As a child, I was never really too frightened of thunder, however, I loved learning how to measure the distance of a storm and practice such a unique way to bake a cake. (The back of the book gives instructions and a recipe to make "Thunder Cake.")

Anyway, back to the parking lot...As I was walking to my car when I heard the thunder I watched for the lightning to appear. Instantaneously when I saw it flash across the sky I began counting. "...One Mississippi, two Mississippi... and so forth," until I heard the loud roar ripple across the sky. It was my immediate reaction to count that reminded me of the book I had read so often in my youth. Although, unfortunately I did not have time to prepare a cake, I did race the storm to my neighborhood, I drove up aways to a road that is high in the mountain and over looks the valley. The neat part is that the counting worked as I parked my car the down pour started. I got out of my car and let the rain soak me as I watched the spectacular light show in the sky.

I cannot wait for the next storm to pass through. When it comes I am going to make myself and all who wish to join me a real thunder cake! I used to do it all the time, and I plan to do it with my kids someday, who knows perhaps it will help them overcome their fear of storms.

"As rain poured down on our roof, Grandma cut a wedge for each of us. She poured us steaming cups of tea from the samovar. When the thunder ROARED above us so hard it shook the windows and rattled the dishes in the cupboards, we just smiled and ate our Thunder Cake. From that time on, I never feared the voice of thunder again."


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