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Cupcakes and Awana

November 5, 2012
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Knowledge you may need to know for this post to make sense: Awana is a Bible club that many churches use for their children’s ministry. It’s like a curriculum to help teach children about the Bible.

I have only one, solitary memory of Awana. For all I know, I could have attended Awana for a full year, every Wednesday taking part in the meetings. But any memories I may have had have been completely shut out, only to leave a memory wrapped entirely in a cupcake. One long-lost cupcake.

I was in K-4 at the time. K-4 is what some private schools have before kindergarten. It was a small school and had only one or two K-4 classes that met in a separate building with its own playground. I have sparse memories of that small building. Memories of someone’s dad taking the class for a ride in his convertible around the parking lot. Or the memory of one of the teachers wearing orthopaedic shoes with really thick soles.

In my class was a red-headed girl we’ll call Summer. I don’t remember much about her, except everyone seemed to think she was weird. I shudder to think that even at four years old, we were already dividing people into the cool and not cool camps. But Summer was placed firmly in the not cool camp. Now that I think about it, though, I could just be remembering her that way because of my Awana experience. And because she threw up in class once.

This private school was part of a church, and on Wednesday nights we’d go to church, and I’d take part in Awana. Or at least I took part once.

On the night in question, someone had brought the class cupcakes. Each child in the class would receive a cupcake to take home with them. There were just enough cupcakes for each child to have one cupcake. One. At the end of class as we waited to be picked up by our parents, Summer grabbed her cupcake and left with her parents and younger brother, while I was still wrapping up my craft and waiting for my parents.

Then it happened.

Summer rushed back into the classroom and grabbed a second cupcake. It was the last cupcake. There were no cupcakes left. The passage of time could be adding a few details to this traumatic experience, but I remember seeing her in the distance, surrounded by dusk, as she gave the cupcake to her brother.

Guys. You’re probably thinking “Tiffany, it was just a cupcake.” Well first of all, just a cupcake? I bet you’re the same kind of person who spoils the surprise ending of a movie and then asks “Oh, you probably wouldn’t have watched it anyway, right?” It’s not just about the cupcake. It’s the principle of the thing.

But it’s mostly about the cupcake, to tell the truth.

This is America, and in America, like all other civilized countries, you don’t just take an extra cupcake without making sure everyone else has gotten theirs. If there aren’t enough to share with your younger brother, you either share your own cupcake, or teach him a life lesson by telling him only the big and strong get ahead and get a cupcake. But you don’t just take someone else’s cupcake.

I’ve thought long and hard about this incident, and I think the reason I have a hard time sharing food can be traced back to Summer and her thieving ways. What if this is the last time I ever get to eat Pizzeria Combos because someone buys all the other ones in the world? What if they decide to stop making pizza, and so this is the last time I get to eat a piece of hand-tossed pizza with pepperoni and green peppers.


Or maybe I’m just way too attached to delicious food. Either way, I’m never naming any future daughters Summer. There’s no telling what kind of troublemaker she’d turn out to be.

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