My Bake Sale

1468444182-800pxWhenever my wife is on the phone, I can usually tell who she is talking to.

If she is warm and relaxed, she is chatting with family. When she is formal, it involves business – but whenever she is utterly brutal, she is savaging a telemarketer.

But this time, it was a bit of a mystery.

She sounded warm though formal, yet she was surprisingly abrupt. At the end of the call, she placed her cell phone on the table and stared across the kitchen at me.

“What did I do now?” I asked.

“Try again,” she answered.

I sighed. “What am I supposed to do now?”

“Good guess…” she said, opening the pantry door.


“You are going to bake brownies for the Saint Isadore’s bake sale,” she said as she rummaged through the lower shelves.

“Why me?”

“Because you are retired and I am not.” she said.


“So being retired means you have to do all the things you never had time to do while you were working.”

“Like bake brownies?”


“I suppose I could whip up a batch.”

“Try again,” she repeated.

Again I sighed.  “How many?”

The answer landed on the counter.   Plop, Plop, plop.  

“Three,” she said.

“And…” she instructed, “after you cut each batch into squares.  You will count out four squares and place them on individual paper plates.  Each plate will then go into a baggie and each bag will be labeled with a price and the date.”

“Sounds like a lot of work,” I observed, “how about just giving them a donation?”

“You can do that – but you still have to bake the brownies.”


I appreciate the idea of giving.  I respect the importance of keeping traditions alive – but I also understand what it means to bite down on a brownie made by a resentful old man.

But I delivered.

Three batches of brownies found their way to the Saint Isadore’s bake sale and for a while my wife was impressed.

A few days later when balancing the checkbook, she paused to ask, “What is this $10 check to Oak Grove Lutheran? I don’t remember doing anything involving them.”

“Uh,” I told her, “it’s where I bought the brownies for our bake sale.”

“You are kidding me,” she said.

“No, I am not,” I told her, “and don’t complain – they all sold.  Some guy from First Methodist bought the whole lot.  I think they are having a bake sale this weekend.”

Author: Almost Iowa

41 thoughts on “My Bake Sale”

  1. Haha that was priceless. No doubt I will think of this story every time I’m at a bake sale. And our Church has a lot of bake sales, lol. Seriously, though, I never thought about how this started as a tradition. And we cheat (not like you, but still) with boxes and not from scratch.

  2. A wonderfully funny work. How does the bulk of your work compare to this? I’m really interested in it.

    1. I would say this piece is close to my typical work. For some of the best, see My Favorites at the top of the page. I knock out two humor essays a week and for reasons only known to my muse, I never seem to get ahead of the game, so the piece I publish on Friday doesn’t exist on the Monday before. It hurts my quality and sometimes I wander back to an earlier essay and clean it up a bit.

      1. That’s a good way to go about it. I’ll go ahead and give some of your favorites a look!

    1. Oh, I wouldn’t worry about the Iowans. They are a sedate bunch who value freshness. It’s us unruly border Minnesotans who cause all the problems…. or so they say south of the border.

  3. This was not only funny, but I think you just gave a whole lot of people a very useful idea. And I’m not going to eat anything I buy at a bake sale ever again.

  4. Husband is working on his chess, resolutely not baking brownies for bake sales or anything else. However, when I laughed aloud at my computer he had to know why, so I told him, and he says you’ve got the right idea. Great read.

  5. I can hear the conversation now. After you die, you meet Saint Isadore. You ask him why you’re taking the down escalator. His answer: “You cheated on the brownies.”

  6. Now why didn’t I think of that solution back when my kids’ activities required baked donations. Agree with the woman whose brownies were cut in four. That happened to me once. After that I just took the pan of brownies and let the sellers cut them.
    Funny ending!

    1. Our health department has launched a full scale assault on church kitchens, it won’t be long until they direct their fire onto the lowly bake sale. It’s days are numbered.

  7. Now why didn’t I think of that?

    I used to do Killer Brownies when my kids were in grade school–Killer, in part, because I cut and decorated ’em big. And then, some parent on the fundraiser committee decided to cut them in four, destroy the design, and charge the same per piece as a full size.

    A**hats! I stopped baking for them, and my kids aged out.

  8. It’s not the baking. It’s the cutting and bagging and pricing and all of that fol-de-rol. (See? Bake sales are so old-fashioned, they bring up old fashioned words.) Your tale reminds me of the post I wrote about a fruitcake’s revenge. You can imagine, I’m sure.

    1. I had to look up fol-de-rol, it is defined as “trivial or nonsensical fuss”. What a wonderful word.

      I know how this is going to play out. The complaints and resistance of people like me will eventually kill the tradition of bake-sales then people like me will write nostalgic essays about how wonderful they were. It is amazing how so many of our traditions, like pancake breakfasts, parades and even parking lot car washes require countless hours of fol-de-rol…. It is a glue binds us together.

      And so it goes.

    1. In every sense of the word, I did write a check and was done with it. The shuffling of brownies around the countryside was just busy work, or as Shoreacres writes, fol-de-rol.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: