Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fruit Cake Redux

We're still eating our way through my Christmas fruitcake - the one I baked down in South Australia several months ago, and just before Christmas, had carried up to the Gold Coast as almost our entire cabin-baggage allowance.
            Our town is serviced by one independent airline that takes advantage of its monopoly over the rural district by enforcing - to the half-gram - punitive levies on luggage limits exactly half the size of the weight limits of anyone's connecting flights.  Fruitcakes with the density of plutonium require a certain amount of sleight of hand, involving sympathetic friends and hand-offs in the gentleman's john after weigh-in at the check-in counter.
            The Tabubil family fruitcake network is no small matter. When I was in graduate school in North America, Mum was in charge of fruitcake production.  Every Christmas she would bake me a cake of my very own.  Every year about October, she found somebody heading over in my direction and proceed to lay the sympathy trip of the millennium on the poor sod.
            "O Sir," She'd say, clasping her hands before her. "My very own eldest daughter is alone and away from home for Christmas.  Would you, could you, carry to her this small token of love - hand-baked - across the thousands of cold, cruel miles that lie between myself and her lonely heart?"
            Touched, and weeping lightly, the unsuspecting traveler would pledge his honor and his passage.  Every time.
            "So very kind!"  Mum would purrWhipping a small wheelie suitcase out from behind her back she'd say  "Here's the bag.  It's heavy enough that it has to travel separately, you know. I do hope you didn't plan for any hand-luggage of your own."

My mother may be underhand, but she is honorable in the greater matters, and the next Christmas, last year's victim would receive a fruitcake of his very own, which might necessarily involve shanghaiing someone else to take it to him- until we reached the point where we now stand - at the centre of a fruitcake network that spans three continents.

They are very very good fruitcakes.

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