Shadow Child

I wonder what she would have been like, my little girl that never was.

A mother’s worst fear, a miscarriage, a child born too soon.

People said, “But you already have three children,” or “You can always have another.” How could people be so cruel? No one can be the same as this child.

I sometimes dream of her, what she might have been. Sometimes when I’m in my garden, or sitting quietly embroidering a pillowcase, I hear her voice, her laughter, and I look up, but no one is there. Only a ghost of what might have been.

#99WordStory #HighamFamilyHistory #Miscarriage #InfantMortality #NonFiction #Tragedy #MargaretGHanna

The back story:
Losing a child under any circumstance is a heart-rending event. My maternal grandmother, Mary Higham, had two miscarriages sometime in the 1920s, long before the advent of medical interventions that now allow premature babies to survive. Even though infant mortality, both premature and full-term, was more common then, it was still a devastatingly tragic event.

My mother and aunts didn’t say much about the miscarriages, just that they had happened, but their few words conveyed profound sorrow. They must have thrown a long-lasting shadow in the Higham home for my mother and aunts to remember them after all those years.


John leaves tomorrow.

He’s been here a month. A month of spending time with his friends, smoking, drinking telling tall tales. A month of being swooned over by all the girls who think he is “so handsome!!!” in his RCAF uniform. A month of helping Cale with harvest. A month of teasing his sisters and kid brother.

But throughout the whole month, all I could see is Damocles’ sword hanging over his head. I wonder if he sees it, too. If that’s why he spends so much time “living it up.”

Tomorrow he leaves. For Europe. For the war.

#99WordStory #WorldWarII #HighamFamilyHistory #RCAF #MothersWorries #BomberCommand #MooseSquadron #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna

The back story:

My uncle, John Brock Higham, “signed up” for the Royal Canadian Air Force in the spring of 1940, and was called up for training in September of that year. One year later, September of 1941, he came back to the farm at Assiniboia for a month’s leave before being posted overseas as a pilot in Bomber Command.

As happy as his mother might have been to have him home, Grandma Higham probably carried a heavy stone in her heart that entire month. It wasn’t her sabbatical, it was John’s, but she experienced it, too, just from a different perspective. The news from overseas during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz was nothing but doom and gloom, destruction and death. And her son was heading straight into it as a pilot in Bomber Command. How could she not worry?


I certainly didn’t see this coming – quite literally – because it hit me from behind. The truck tailgate, that is (don’t ask). I said many words, none of which are fit to be shared on-line.

The doctor observed my speech and movements, did the “watch the moving pen” test, and declared I had a minor concussion. “Get lots of rest, don’t work too hard or too long, be patient. Also, no TV and no computer, the blue light is bad for your brain.”

What? No computer? I live on my computer. How am I supposed to read email? Read the papers? Play Wordle? Revise that manuscript?

“Oh, and by the way,” she said, “it could take about six months to recover.”

What? Six months! Well, two months on, and I must admit, the doctor was right.

The doctor says I have only a “minor” concussion. Minor or not, it had some interesting effects, especially early on in this new journey.

I was not exactly dizzy but my head and body seemed to work in different space-time coordinates, especially if I moved suddenly or something startled me. My poor synapses had to slog through crankcase oil that should have been changed 100,000 km ago. I had very little energy – I no longer ran up and down our stairs – and I had to nap. Nap? I never nap! Never used to, anyway. Now, I had to sleep for at least an hour every afternoon.

And yes, watching TV or doing anything on the computer quickly tired my eyes, which I took to mean my brain was tired, too. I limited myself to five minutes, once a day, on the computer to check for urgent emails that had to be answered. There weren’t many. Now, two months later, I’m up to 15 minutes at a time (like composing this post a few paragraphs at a time) before my brain starts to rebel.

Two months later, my body and head seem to work together, most of the time. But I still have trouble, sometimes, finding a word that I know I know but it just isn’t there. Yeah, yeah, you get to my age and that is normal, but now it seems to be worse than Before Concussion.

I still tire easily, and when I get tired I get cranky, well, even crankier than I used to be when I was tired. Then my brain begins to feel like a bowl of stodgy overcooked porridge. I still have to nap at least an hour every day.

What is really weird, though, is when I am talking, suddenly, for no apparent reason, I stop right in the middle of the sentence. It’s not a case of searching for a word, or trying to remember where I was going with that thought, it’s just suddenly there’s a . . .

. . . pause in my speech, and then I pick up right where I left off.

* * *

Our brain is a most marvelous and yet most mysterious organ. It is the seat of our reasoning, our emotions, our memories, our speech. It receives, processes, sorts through, responds to, transmits, and stores bazillions of stimuli bombarding it from everywhere. Yet, the brain, that organ that receives and interprets pain stimuli from various parts of our body (Yikes! That was hot!), can itself not feel any pain. Go figure!

Kick a bowl of jelly across the floor and watch what happens when it slams into the opposite wall. That’s your brain on concussion.

A concussion is an invisible injury. The brain cannot tell us it is bruised and damaged, or how bad the damage is. We have to rely on proxy symptoms from elsewhere in our body – double vision, dizziness, nausea, mood swings, change of personality, sleep disturbances – to tell us something is seriously wrong “upstairs.”

Even a minor concussion is no laughing matter. But many people have to live with a serious concussion. They endure double vision, constant headaches, a constantly twirling, topsy-turvy world, never-ending brain fog. They may have no idea when they will recover. Some days it must seem they will never recover. They, and their family and friends, may have to spend the rest of their lives living with – or in spite of – an acquired brain injury.

Being an invisible injury, there is no cast, no wound, no stitches to signal to people that this person is living with a brain injury. With no visible sign, they may think the brain-injured person is drunk, or on drugs, or mentally unstable. It can be so unfair.

Fortunately, there are numerous organizations that provide assistance, advice, and support to people with acquired brain injuries and to their families. Emotional support is absolutely vital. Being able to talk with someone who has “been there, done that,” to know that you are not going crazy, that what you are experiencing is normal, that you will get better, that you are not alone in this recovery, is just as important as medical intervention or physiotherapy. Maybe more so.

I’m not suggesting you always wear a hard hat or a crash helmet, although my husband thinks perhaps I should the next time we hitch up the trailer. But do take care of that noggin of yours. It’s the only one you have.

#Concussion #AcquiredBrainInjury #BonkOnTheHead #InvisibleInjury #BrainInjurySupportOrganizations #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna

P.S. What about those manuscript revisions? you ask. Did you abandon them?

Thanks for asking. I had, but a couple of weeks ago I had one of those “Why didn’t I think of this earlier?” moments. I print a chapter, then instead of staring at a computer, I stare at a page and write revisions, by hand, in pencil, in the margins, between the lines, and on the back of the page. How retro can you get? Now, if only I could read my chicken-scratch.

#ManuscriptRevisions #RetroRevisions

Springtime (?) on the Prairies

“April is the cruelest month.” So begins T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. He might as well have been writing about April on the prairies.

Come April, Old Man Winter is not about to give up his dominance. Never mind that he’s been haranguing us with cold and snow and ice and blizzards since November, mid-October if he was feeling particularly malicious. Benevolence is not part of Winter’s character.

He teases us with a few days of blue skies, sun and temperatures above freezing, even at night. Then Wham! A dump of snow. A howling wind. Day time temperatures well below freezing, never mind the night time temperatures.

We shake our hands at the sky. We scream, “It’s been five months already. Go Away!” Then we get out the snow shovel and start clearing the walk. Again. For the fourth time.

We live for that day when the trees are suddenly surrounded by an aura of green haze that, the next day, turns into full-fledged summer green. When the much hated dandelions poke their green leaves above ground. When cheeky gophers (a.k.a. Richardson’s Ground Squirrels) hop, skip and jump across the highway, daring us to run them down. When the hills of unbroken prairie grass are covered with the purple haze of prairie crocuses.

We breathe a sigh of relief. Spring, brief as it is, is here. Daffodils. Tulips. Robins. Calves. Lambs.

Then, one morning, we wake up to snow. Again. In the middle of May.

On the other hand . . .

We are not living in a tar paper shack. Or a log house. With only a cook stove to keep us warm, if we sit right beside it. With the wind knifing in through every crack and crevice. With the snow creeping in under the door and around the windows. With bedclothes freezing to the wall. With ice inches thick on the windows. Like my grandparents, Abe and Addie Hanna, endured for 17 years before they built a “proper” house.

Nor are we living in the midst of bombed-out buildings with death and destruction raining down all around us. Fearing the sound of bombs and missiles and explosions that rock the earth. Wondering if we’ll live through the night. Or the day. Wondering if our loved ones are still alive. Wondering if we’ll find safety as refugees living amongst strangers.

Compared to what millions of people elsewhere are enduring, snow in the middle of April is nothing. And, to quote prairie farmers, “We need the moisture.”

Every snowbank has a silver lining.

#PrairieSpring #SnowInApril #Gratitude #WorldProblems #WeAreFortunate #CountingBlessings #NonFiction #Contemplation #MargaretGHanna


I must have walked a million miles in my day. Well, maybe not quite a million, but certainly many, many miles.

Part of an archaeologist’s work is looking for sites, and often that means walking. Walking across fields, across pastures, across sandy blow-outs. Walking and looking. Walking and paying attention. It became so much a part of my being that even today, 15 years after retiring, I still look down at the ground when I’m walking.

Surveying like that was almost an exercise in meditation. Be aware of your destination. Be aware of your route. Set a slow but steady pace. And eyes down sweeping from side to side.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Eyes centre. Left. Centre. Right. Centre.

About 75% of the brain is set to recognize known shapes, sizes, colours, textures. But the other 25% has to be alert to the unknown, the unexpected, the “Hmm, I wonder what that is?” moment.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Eyes centre. Left. Centre. Right. Centre.

That rhythm stopped for only two reasons. One, I found something. Stop, pick it up, examine it. Is it anything? Yes? Then record, map, collect. No? Put it back.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Eyes centre. Left. Centre. Right. Centre.

The other reason to stop was simply for the joy of stopping. For the joy of seeing where I was. To breath the air. To stretch my eyes to the horizon (remember what I wrote about Saskatchewan’s horizon?). To listen to a Killdeer or a Meadowlark sing their hearts out, to watch a hawk fly overhead, to wait for a Mule Deer to decide if I presented a threat to her, to watch a coyote watching me with a wary eye as it loped across the hill top. To listen to the breeze. To watch the ripening grain ripple in the wind. To simply experience where I was. To realize how fortunate I was to be in that place at that time. To be.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Eyes centre. Left. Centre. Right. Centre.

I walked across a good part of Saskatchewan – farmers’ fields and pastures, the Missouri Couteau, the Qu’Appelle River valley – but no matter where or when, it was always the same.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Eyes centre. Left. Centre. Right. Centre.

And I still do it today.

#ArchaeologicalSurveying #Reconnaisance #Memories #Meditation #Contemplation #Walking #Awareness #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna

What Happens in Emergency . . .

In case any of you are authors thinking of writing a scene in which your protagonist has need to go to Emergency, here are some possible scenes for you to include.

1. Emergency is the medical version of Rock-Scissors-Paper – no matter how serious you think your injury/illness is, someone else’s injury/illness will always trump yours. If you have a cut finger, someone else has a broken arm. If you have a raging fever, someone else is in anaphylatic shock.

2. The first thing you do when you walk into the waiting room is count the number of people already there. Bad move! You now have an idea of how long you will have to wait. (Hint: not any time soon.)

3. Waiting is the medical version of Snakes and Ladders. Each time someone is called in from the waiting room, you go up one rung closer to being called into the Inner Sanctum. Each time someone comes in on a stretcher, you slide down farther away from being called into the Inner Sanctum.

4. The only questions you hear from other waiting patients are: 1) “How long have you been waiting?” (A: You don’t want to know), and 2) “What are you in here for?” (A: Again, you don’t want to know.)

5. There is always at least one baby screaming.

6. You hear a nurse ask, “Where is the Thing-a-ma-bob to take a tiny battery out of a nose?” and you wonder if that is why the baby is screaming. Q: Why would a baby stuff a battery up its nose? A: Because!

7. There is always at least one person coughing. Loudly. Persistently. In these COVID times, that’s the last thing you want to hear.

8. There is always at least one toddler who refuses to sit still, who squirms and whines, whose nose is running, and whose parent doesn’t seem to notice.

9. There is always one patient – usually male – who gets fed up with waiting and starts yelling and screaming at the nurses, as if it’s their fault an accident victim just rolled in on a stretcher, putting said person well back on the “to be seen” list. Eventually, the nurses call Security who escorts the person out, still yelling and screaming. One of the few high points of your wait.

10. If you remembered to grab your cell phone/tablet, good for you. You can now read email, update your Facebook status, take a selfie, play games, maybe even read that book you downloaded five months ago. Be advised, your battery will die at least an hour before you are seen.

11. If you didn’t remember your cell phone, well, sorry, but you are in for a long boring wait. Thanks to COVID, there are no trashy magazines. No People or Us, no Chatelaine or Woman’s Weekly, no 10-year-old National Geographics, no Motor Trend. No trade magazine promoting the latest in medical equipment (“They used that on me?!”). No holistic medicine magazine touting the latest apple cider vinegar-based cure-all for everything from hangnails to heart attacks.

12. As if a lack of trashy magazines isn’t bad enough, if you are (un)lucky enough to be in a waiting room provided with TV, you have my deepest sympathies. Waiting room TVs have only two offerings: 1) the in-house medical channel promoting a myriad of healthy ways to live longer interspersed with videos of smiling, earnest practitioners counseling equally earnest, smiling patients, or 2) the children’s channel with live-action programs so inane they make the cartoons seem intellectual.

13. At least one stretchered patient will be accompanied by several of your city’s finest, leaving everyone to wonder, “Is he a gang member?”, “Was he shot?”, “Was he knifed?”, “Is he hand-cuffed to the stretcher?” Another high point of your wait.

14. Blood goes everywhere! It seeps into every nook and cranny, every crevice and pore. It’s impossible to get rid of. The much-advertised glue named for our largest primate relative should stick so well. No wonder criminals use industrial strength solvents to remove blood traces. No wonder CSI types find blood even when there is none visible to the naked eye. No wonder archaeologists find blood on millennia-old stone tools.

15. When you do finally get taken into the Inner Sanctum, you discover it is a mad house back there. Total Bedlam. Doctors, nurses and orderlies scurry back and forth. Monitors beep. Patients moan and cry. Stretchers, some occupied, line the hall way. Yet, the doctor or nurse who attends you is pleasant and patient, laughs at your self-deprecating jokes about the stupid thing you did that ended you up in Emergency, and takes the greatest care of you in spite of the bedlam.

Don’t ask!

And then it’s over. You’re finally released. You walk out into the cool night, take your first breath of fresh air in several hours, and promise yourself you will never, ever do such a stupid thing again. Then you go home and swallow a fist full of pain killers.

Not that I would ever do such a stupid thing!

#EmergencyRoomVisits #EmergencyTriage #Humour #Accidents #WaitingGame #MargaretGHanna


“Margaret, today I think we should do . . .”

Uh-oh. I knew what that meant – Mom had a chore for me to do.

Mom loved the Royal “We.”

Doing chores for Mom often meant doing chores with Mom. And doing chores with Mom was always an adventure. It was a time for stories, jokes and laughter.

Especially jokes. Mom was never above pulling a fast one, even on her daughter.

Like one time when we were doing dishes – Mom washing, I drying. It devolved into a game of “I can wash faster than you can dry!”

I was keeping up but I seemed to be drying an inordinately large number of saucepans. Wait! Didn’t I just dry this saucepan?


She laughed. “I wondered how long before you noticed.”

Instead of putting the saucepans away, I had put them on the stove. Which stood beside the sink. Within Mom’s easy reach.

Silly me!

#ChildhoodMemories #HannaFamilyHistory #NonFiction #FamilyHistory #Humour #DoingChores #MargaretGHanna

Dinosaur At Large!

“Mom! Mom! There’s a dinosaur outside!”

I looked up from my crossword puzzle. “Really?” Now what had Adam, my son, seen?

“Quick! Come see.” He grabbed my hand and I followed him onto the back deck.

He pointed. “It’s over there. You can’t see it now, it’s feeding on something, but just wait! Oh, there it is!”

Off beyond the trees, I heard roaring and grating and tearing and then it appeared above the trees, swung around and disappeared — the neck of a large yellow excavator ripping up the street in the next block.

I clapped my hands to my face in mock terror.

“Good gracious, Adam. It’s going to eat us!”

“No, Mom.” He rolled his eyes – I was so ignorant about dinosaurs. “It’s a herbivore, probably one of the brontosaurus species.”

“But, it’s so huge. It could squash us and not even know it. Or knock over our house. How would we escape?”

Adam patted his large watergun. “Mom, you don’t have to worry. I have my Blast-o-Matic with me. If it comes this way, I’ll dial it up to maximum and blast it into extinction.”

“But when you kill it, it will fall over and crush us!” I was trying hard not to laugh.

“Mom, don’t you remember?” He sounded so exasperated. “When my Blast-o-Matic is at max, it vapourizes things.”

I heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank heavens. Adam, you are such a brave boy. I’m glad you’re here to defend us.”

He smiled, straightened and saluted. “At your service, Ma’am!”

I went back inside, smiling. My little hero had things well in hand.

* * *

A couple of days ago, I did indeed see a large yellow “dinosaur” working in the street one block over. As the arm swung back and forth, into and out of sight, it reminded me of the long-necked dinosaurs that used to roam the earth. How big they were and how tiny we are! I just had to write this story about a boy with an imagination as big as a dinosaur and his mother, complicit in his fantasy.

Writing this story also reminded me of the many times my brother and I lived out our fantasies when we were children.

We traveled across Canada, even the world, by train – all in our dining room. We lined up the chairs, one behind the other; I was the passenger, my brother the engineer cum conductor. “Ticket, ma’am,” he’d say, and I would hand him my “ticket.” We traveled through the Rocky Mountains, across the prairies and through forests, to the sound of “choo-choo-choos,” steam whistles and clanging bells. Every now and then we went to the “dining car” to enjoy whatever it was that Mom – excuse me, the Chef – had prepared for us. Eventually we had to park the train, er, the chairs and return to – sigh – reality.

Long before Sputnik and John Glenn, we went to the moon and back, in a cardboard box. To adults, it looked like a cardboard box but to us it was the super-duperest, spiffyest rocket ship ever built. And guess what? Long before Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, WE discovered that it was not made of green cheese. Why would anyone even think the moon was made of green cheese? We brought back moon samples; at least, I think we brought back moon samples. Of course, all that traveling really worked up an appetite, so it was off to see what culinary delights NASA, er, Mom, had devised for space travelers.

This was well before we had TV. We had to devise our own entertainment, and devise we did. And no, it wasn’t playing “house” – “you be the Mommy and I’ll be the Daddy.” Heck, that was so boring!

We’d rather be outside, playing “cowboys and Indians” – now politically incorrect – or maybe it was “Cowboys and Rustlers”. Either way, there was a lot of running around, pointing our index fingers at each other, yelling “Bang!”, and falling down “dead,” only to be miraculously revived when Mom yelled, “Lunch!”

We pulled cattails from the nearby slough that magically became swords and we transformed into swashbuckling pirates battling the Royal Navy (and always sending the Navy high-tailing it across the seas) or we were Knights of Old saving Damsels in Distress (I refused to be the damsel in distress).

We climbed our favourite tree and became Robin Hood and his band of merry men, waiting in ambush for the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham. “Take that, you villainous cad!”

Or, once again, we were pirates, in the crow’s nest, on the look-out for gold-laden Spanish galleons. Arrr, me hearties!

TV ruined a lot!

#Dinosaurs #ChildhoodMemories #ChildhoodImagination #Fiction #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna #LifeBeforeTV #Play


We had a close encounter of the skunk kind the other day. It had wandered into one of our squirrel traps. Long story short, we managed to release it but not without incident. We didn’t get sprayed, directly, but the odour still stuck to our clothes. They went into the washing machine, we went into the shower, and my husband’s old runners went into the garbage.

It brought to mind the summer of 1977 when I was directing excavations on an island not far from the Village of Duck Bay, just off the western shore of Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba.

The “Summer of the Skunks” began the day a crew member came running back from the outhouse shouting, “I just saw a skunk!”

We didn’t pay her much mind. After all, she was the one who firmly believed that moths have fangs and suck your blood. Seriously!

Her report was confirmed a couple of days later by a more reputable crew member. Soon we discovered there was not one, but an entire family of skunks co-habiting the island – Mom and Dad, four Teenagers, and the runt whom we named – wait for it – The Squirt! (Da-dum-dump!)

What to do? So far, we hadn’t been bothered. We decided to let well enough alone and see what happened.

We learned that the skunks were as wary of us as we were of them. The first time we met on one of our paths, both turned tail (hmmm, maybe not the best phrase given we are talking about skunks) and ran for the hills, not that there were any hills on the island but you get my drift.

Next, we discovered that, if we clapped our hands really loudly, the skunks would scurry off into the bush. The skunks quickly learned that the sound of clapping hands meant nothing at all so they stood their ground.

So did we.

Eventually, we could pass each other, very cautiously, without incident.

And so life continued. We dug the site. The skunks dug worms and grubs.

Skunks are very interesting creatures. They can’t see well and often blunder into things. We discovered that the morning I opened up the “office tent” to find two of the Teenagers inside. They scrambled back and forth along one wall, coming within inches of the open door, only to turn around and scramble back the way they’d just come. Only by chance, so it seemed, did they stumble into the doorway and run off.

The Squirt, cleaning up

They may not see well but they can smell! The Squirt came wandering through our cook tent one evening as we were eating supper and headed straight for the tub that held our yet-to-be-washed pots and pans. He did a good job of washing, not so good with the drying.

They’re definitely built for digging. Long claws on their forelimbs can rip open almost anything. They’re wedge-shaped – pointy at the nose and widening toward the rear.

When you’re stuck on an island, you learn to devise your own entertainment. One night, that entertainment took the form of Feeding the Family. We had cooked stew for supper and traces were left in the pot. We put the pot out on the ground and, in keeping with our sophisticated reputation, placed a wine bottle (empty, of course; no archaeologist worth his/her salt would waste booze) wrapped in a towel beside the bowl.

The Teenagers were the first to arrive. They encircled the pot and began to lick it clean. Along came The Squirt who tried to nose his way into the tight circle. The Teenagers were having none of it. The fight for a bite of tasty stew intensified. The tails began to rise. The Squirt never did manage to get his share of the stew.

But we were well entertained. And not sprayed.

The only incident happened the day some kids came over from Duck Bay with their dog and ran up into the bush before we could warn them about the skunks. Two seconds later, we heard a bark and then a yelp and the dog came ky-ying back with the kids not far behind. “Lady, there’s skunks on the island!” they yelled.


RIP, egg noodles!

Oh, there was one other incident. The Teenagers broke into our food tent one night. We heard the ruckus but no one was about to go and break it up. In the morning we surveyed the damage. Amongst the shambles, we saw well-munched packages of Baker’s Chocolate and completely untouched packages of egg noodles.

Those egg noodles remained untouched until the day we backfilled the excavated units. We dumped every package into one of the units.

When we returned the following summer, that unit had the tallest, lushest growth of weeds on the entire island!

And the skunks were gone.

(P.S. Three days later, there still remains a faint but distinctive Eau du Pepe Le Peu in our garden.)

#Skunks #MephitisMephitis #Archaeology #Manitoba #DuckBay #LakeWinnipegosis #AschkibokahnFbMb1 #MargaretGHanna #NonFiction #Humour #ArchaeologicalAdventures #WildlifeEncounters

Another Baking (mis)Adventure

My husband’s family has A Family Birthday Cake recipe. It’s a basic white cake (homemade, of course, not out of a box) with lemon custard filling and coloured icing. Each sibling has his/her own colour — my husband’s is green.

As my husband’s birthday approached (the first we had celebrated together after our marriage), he “informed” me that I would have to get the recipe from his mother and make The Family Birthday Cake. None other would do. In due course, she gave me the recipe and I made the cake.

She, along with all the other siblings, attended the birthday celebration. I was a tad anxious as I served up the cake — you know the stereotype about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, how we never quite measure up. Fortunately for me, this particular mother-in-law is an extremely gracious lady. She gave me the Mother-in-law Seal of Approval! I relaxed, having passed the crucial test with flying colours.

Today, another family birthday approaches so this morning I made the Family Birthday Cake. Separate the eggs — Check! Beat the eggs whites — Check! Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla – Check! Add the milk alternately with the flour and baking powder — Check! Pour into greased and floured cake pans and put in the 350 oven — Check!

Because there are always bits of cake batter left in the bowl, I settled into my post-cake-making reward — licking the spoon and beaters. I mused as I took my first taste how I was flouting the now common perception that you shouldn’t eat raw cake or cookie batter because it contains raw eggs.


I’d forgotten to fold in the beaten egg whites!

Quick! Get the pans out of the oven! Scrape the batter back into the bowl! Carefully fold in the egg whites! Wash and regrease and reflour the pans. Pour batter back into pans and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

The cake turned out just fine. It’s now iced with red (well, more like hot pink) icing, ready for the celebration. Bon appetit!

#Baking #BirthdayCake #FamilyBirthdayCake #BirthdayCelebration #BakingMisadventure #Humour #AlmostDisaster #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna