Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fruitcakes from the Grave

Fruitcake is perhaps the most misnamed food item of all time. First, it has no real fruit in it, unless you consider gross red and green jelly-like things (or raisins) to be fruit. And, secondly, the dense, sticky binding for the aforementioned "fruit" resembles no good cake I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Why anyone would think these things make a nice Christmas gift is beyond me. In fact, I actually might be offended to receive a gift whose name commonly connotes crazy. Are you trying to wish me a Merry Christmas, or make a comment on the status of my mental health?

In spite of all this, fruitcakes remain very popular with the older crowd. And when I was growing up, my Great-Grandma Bessie would send everyone a fruitcake for Christmas. The forty-five pound cake would arrive via UPS in a deceivingly cheerful Christmas tin. My Mom would set it out with our other Christmas cookies for company and anyone who knew better would pass it over for more edible options (not including the Date Drops which my Dad swears are delicious). Those who didn't know better (this being me) would be sucked in by what appeared to be Gummy Bears inside the cake. This would be promptly followed by much gagging, spitting into napkins, and discreetly tossing the remainder in the trash.

Sadly, when I was a freshman in high school, Great-Grandma Bessie passed away, and when Christmas rolled around that year there was a mixture of regret and relief that a fruitcake would no longer be gracing our Christmas table.

But then the strangest thing happened. Just as normal, a heavy white box appeared on our front porch. Could it be? The same Christmas tin and the printed card telling us that Great-Grandma Bessie was hoping we would have a nice holiday were inside. It was a fruitcake from beyond the grave!

My first thought was that out of all otherworldly places, fruitcakes would be most readily available in Hell. But, Great-Grandma Bessie was a nice, God-fearing woman. Albeit, she did send out fruitcakes, but I think she was doing it with good intentions. I still, to this day, refuse to believe that Heaven is a place where fruitcakes could exist. So, we'll just stick to the story that Great-Grandma Bessie liked to get her Christmas shopping done early. Very early.

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