The Colossians 2:21 Cake

While those interested in senseless violence watched The Superbowl from the adjoining room, those of us with love in our hearts for the human race sat peacefully around the dining room table discussing matters of peace and tranquility. I recall my niece Taylor requesting a peaceful Uncle Dane story from Billy, who with his wife Renee, was joining us for dinner following our afternoon Superbowl Sunday Neon Salamander concert at First Baptist Church, Tecumseh.

Billy had the story of the Colossians 2:21 Cake heavy on his mind, as this was unquestionably the most peace-loving story he could think of. However, his desire to protect the innocent public from top-level secrets like the Colossians 2:21 Cake recipe, as well as the desire to disavow any direct involvement in the story, prohibited him from bringing forth the facts as he and I know them. This resulted in a general stirring of the waters amongst the niece population to such an extent that, had Taryn been present (she was off at another church function), the pressure upon Billy would have been such that he would have had no other option but to put himself in a highly vulnerable position of exposure. But alas, he warded off the entreaties of the younger, and less experienced in the art of nagging, twins, and somehow steered the conversation into less treacherous territory.

So I will now relate the tale of the Colossians 2:21 Cake in such a way as to convince the readership that Billy's involvement in the story is purely fictitious, and that he only appears as a literary device, utilized to make the story believable, as it would otherwise fall on its face.

It happened once upon a time in the middle years of the 1980's in Norman, Oklahoma, where the famous University Of Oklahoma is situated. Billy and I lived in a two bedroom apartment a few miles east of the OU campus. Those apartments are still there and probably still have a hole in the landing of the stairs which led to our particular unit. That is to say we lived upstairs. Tacey will be especially fascinated by this fact, as she is tremendously taken by upstairs dwelling places of every sort. But you see, it could be no other way. These sorts of activities always transpire in seedy upstairs apartments. Drug manufacturing, bomb building, prank phone calls to Ultgensplaat, Holland; they all happen upstairs.

Billy and I were both members of Trinity Baptist Church where each week we gathered for worship and training in spiritual matters. Both of us are devout Christians and would (usually) never consider doing anything to terrorize a fellow human being. However, when that fellow human being happens to be the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, one must look at the spiritual test value of any practical joke under consideration, before one dismisses it as purely worldly. Besides, I had spent the previous summer months as a custodian at the church, and in the course of my duties as such, discovered that Pastor Ellif had an Arkansas Razorback plaque attached to the underside of the toilet lid in his personal bathroom. Now you know already that I don't go in for football, but some things just can't go without a little retribution.

Therefore Billy and I began our plotting, and soon the perfect opportunity presented itself before us. The annual (although it is rumored that it has not occurred since) Men's Bake Off was scheduled to take place on a Saturday in the near future, and Billy and I began finalizing our plans to do justice. Keep in mind our primary goal of putting the pastor to a little test.

Scripture memory was an especially hot topic in our circles in those days, and it seemed a reasonable assumption to us that there really shouldn't be any verse in the whole Bible that a man of Bill Ellif's position should not know by heart, especially if the verse resided in The New Testament. It was this conviction that was guiding Billy and me when we stumbled upon Colossians 2:21, which states (and I quote the King James Version so as to not infringe upon any copyrights), "Touch not, taste not; handle not." A simple application of a sign reading "Colossians 2:21 Cake" to our entry into the Men's Bake Off, and the test/dispensation of justice would be complete. All that remained was to concoct a confection so foul, so utterly inedible, that the point could not possibly be mistaken.

Thus, empowered by our mission and armed with our decidedly out-of-context Bible verse and the contents of our modest kitchen, we set forth to build the dreaded Colossians 2:21 Cake. It occurs to me all of a sudden why these strange food songs keep coming to the surface in our songwriting careers. (See "Isle Of Langerhans" and "Food Song #42.") It's like repressed feelings bubbling forth, or something like that. The shrinks would have a field day with us. Anyway, we produced an innocent 9" square cake pan that would soon become an avenging angel of death for the next several months. Into the avenging angel of death we poured ingredient after ingredient in every conceivable amount. There was flour, of course, but mostly corn meal, along with sugar, baking soda, at least a half cup each of salt and baking powder, ketchup, Miracle Whip, cocoa, liquid smoke flavoring (for that grilled taste), Kool-Aid and Jello mixes, Tobasco Sauce, lemon juice, pickle juice, mustard, eggs, poppy seed muffin mix, Pioneer Biscuit Mix (plenty of that), crushed potato chips, sour cream and onion dip, maple syrup, butter, and many other wholesome food parts that I can't quite bring to mind, but I'm sure were there. It would become the heaviest, densest cake the world has ever known.

Billy and I stirred the mixture with all due sufficiency (it took both of us) and popped the sucker in the oven for, oh, I'd say probably about four hours. Of course we first preheated the oven to the exact temperature of 350ºF (international bachelor's standard oven temperature). Needless to say, the toothpick test failed pretty miserably, but we finally concluded that the cake was done.

The next problem was how to get the thing to the church without being seen. We discussed several options, including disguises, UPS delivery, and such, but finally had a true friend take it to the church for us. We didn't bother to tell the friend what we had done. We just put a nice layer of foil across the top with our sign on the inside. I don't remember who that friend was...I guess we've fallen out of touch over the years.

Sources informed us the next day that Pastor Ellif failed the test. He, being the pastor and all, was the first through the line and was sampling each entry personally. I think he took special interest in ours upon seeing the biblical reference. However, after being resuscitated in the wake of the bite he took, he called out in a mighty voice reminiscent of the prophets, "WHAT DOES THAT VERSE SAY?!!!"

Well, Billy and I did not win the award for the best cake. This blow, however, was overshadowed by our grief upon learning that our pastor had failed us in his scripture memory excellence. Yet, our grief was fleeting, for we were comforted with the fact that at least we had been instrumental in seeing justice served.

As for the cake, it somehow found its way back to its place of origin, where it lived a long and peaceful life inside our apartment, safe from forks everywhere. Then one day, we decided it was time to reclaim the cake dish. Not. I suppose the cake's own gravity held the dish firmly attached to the cake, for we were unable, even with the combined force which we had once called upon to stir the mixture, we were unable to separate the two. So one of us, I can't recall whom, but I'm pretty certain it was Billy, carried it out to the dumpster. But a misplaced footfall caused him to trip while going down the stairs, and the Colossians 2:21 Cake flew out of Billy's hands and came crashing down upon, and consequently through, the landing of our staircase.

So, the moral of this story is this: If you ever come across an entry at a men's bake off with the label "Colossians 2:21 Cake," A, Don't taste it. Commit that verse to memory now. And B, Don't accuse Billy or me of baking it. It was someone else who read this story. Blame the internet.

Postscript: I would like to thank Billy for jogging my memory on a few of the details. He read the initial version, and although he had nothing whatsoever to do with this story, he seemed to remember several vital points of it, some of which I included, and some of which I ignored, because I liked my version better.

© 2013 Dane Tate