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Entry 25 Pleasure and Business

All Saturday the cake for the party at the Goldfarbs stood in the place of honor on the kitchen counter. It resided in a cake safe to keep it fresh, but I could still make out its lovely graceful bundt cake outline. Inside the safe, the cake was a white cake with no egg yolks and cut up pecan pieces and sliced maraschino cherries to make it white and pink with handsome brown spots. It would look beautiful both whole and cut in slices. It would whip the pants off any bakery cake.

Saturday I studied and rode my bike. When I came in at five o'clock, Aunt Aliza sniffed me and this time she made both Stasch and me take a shower. This meant we got to shower together which isn't so weird. Hot water and gas to heat the water is expensive.

"I'm going to read silently if you big kids study," declared Stasch as he slpashed the water with his feet. Aunt Aliza's long black hair must have gotten stuck in the shower drain again. I hoped she wouldn't make me clean it out. She usually didn't give me disgusting things like that to do unless I pissed her off which didn't happen too often.

We got out of the shower and got dressed. Stasch noticed that I'm growing hair between my legs. It is blond and frizzy. "Wow look at all the hair!" he exclaimed. Little brothers can be pains if you know what I mean.

I tried to ignore him. "It gets sweaty and itchy," I told him.

"What about under your arms?" asked Stasch.

"It stinks."

"So why not shave it off?"

"Girls do that. Guys don't," I said.

We dried off and got dressed in clean clothes from the skin out. We did not ride our bikes to the Goldfarb but instead went in the truck which Aunt Aliza had taken for an oil change earlier in the week. She told everyone about the slow witted old person who worked in the oil change place.

"I say we swtich oil change places," dad suggested.

"Then I can't shop when the oil gets changed," answered Aunt Aliza.

"Then don't complain about the service."

"Customer service is learned. No one was teaching that young man."

" sound so sympathetic."

My parents (and they are parents after a fashion) can be quite entertaining.

"Let's hope nobody's on any of those low carb diets at the Goldfarbs," sighed Aunt Aliza.

"I bet they all are. People who have money forget about good food," my dad declared.

"Well if that's so, we'll just invite the kids in to eat. No point in a good cake going to waste."

"Maybe they'll let us take the leftovers home," I suggested.

"Please don't count on it," Aunt Aliza reminded me.

We found our way to the gated community of Elsinore which is on the north side of Greenup. Greenup used to not be very big so it is now all suburbs and subdivisions. Elsinore was one of the nicer ones. The Goldfarbs lived in a big white brick split level house.

The party for the grownups was in the living room. The kids all got to go in the den and the buffet was in the kitchen. Ruth Goldfarb was impressed by Aunt Aliza's cake. "You made this yourself!" she squealed.

Needless to say, I was glad to get down in the den. There was a DVD going with the volume turned on low. The younger kids watched it. We bigger kids hung out in the study which was also Dr. Goldfarb's home office. We went in and left the door open so if the younger kids decided to kill each other or if they got loud we could deal with them. Yes, I promised my mom I'd look out for Stasch but I figured if there was trouble, I could hear it.

We decided to have French practice since there isn't any one who still remembers their French except the seven of us. Lenny has the hardest time with French. Koli...well we made her our judge and had a conjugating verbs French bee. We used Dr. Goldfarb's white board. Josh said it aws OK if we dug out his markers though we had to try three times to find ones that weren't dried out. "Ces tres durs et inutiles," commented a disgusted Koli.

After dozens of rounds, Atalaya and I were the last kids left standing. She looked at me with a big smile. She was embarassed enough to go red. "Ecoutez, Attention!" yelled Koli in her best imitation of our French teacher whom we know only over the computer.

Atalaya beat me, and we all went upstairs for a victory snack. The little kids came too, so there was a whole mob of us in the kitchen.

"Don't you young'uns destroy any of the food," snapped a woman's voice.

"It's all right. They've been so good," purred Ms. Goldfarb.

"Leave some for the adults," called another female voice. I was glad this was not Aunt Aliza.

The adults had alreaday taken a few slices of cake.

"Such a pretty cake," said Koli of Aunt Aliza's creation. "Who made this."

"Aunt Aliza," I said feeling pretty good.

"My mom can bake any cake in the world!" boasted Stasch.

"She should work in a bakery," said Koli.

"She can make more money working as a computer operator or helping dad with the print shop," I answered.

"It's good to be in business for yourself," Koli commented.

"You work your butt off," I said back.

"So, but it's still all yours."

"My dad has his own practice," said Josh.

"Yeah, but he's a doctor. That's different," commetented Atalaya.

"Yeah, whell my dad works for United Steel," answered Lenny. "They have good benefits and a union shop." This was a sore spot since the car plant wasn't unionized. Koli's parents worked at the car plant.

We kids stood in an uncomfortable circle. Out in the living room the adults were talking up a storm.

"How come we never heard about all this?" twanged Koli's mother.

"Because nobody thinks kids from the hollows can do anything, like that Erskin Caldwell idiot who wrote my book. You know I still have English to do," sighed Koli.

"So do I," asnwered Atalaya. "Let's close the office door and get some reading done. Do you mind?" she asked.

"No problem," answered Josh. We'd all brougght our school books. Studying together can be very social.

"Those aren't normal kids," said a voice from the living room. "Normal kids wouldn't study on a Saturday night."

"These are the kids that are going to make it," said a rich resonant male voice that I realized belonged to Moe Grimsley. "My wife had one like this and I have one like that now."

"I'd rather have a son like this than one who is the other way," said Aunt Aliza. "It's a blessing. You have to make the most of it."

We went back down in to the den. It is very strange to hear adults say even good things behind your back. We really did have reading to do though Josh and Lenny had finished theirs. They worked geometry proofs instead. The TV made soft white noise. After a time, Stasch joined us. He wanted to practice reading silently.

"Yes," I told the big kids who looked irritated. "He really can read silently now, though he has to put a piece of paper in his mouth."

Josh gave Stasch an envelope to stick between his lips and watched Stasch for a time. "Good kid," said Atalaya under her breath. Stasch did not flinch. He was going to hear a lot more compliments like that as he grew older if he kept up the way he was keeping up now. I was glad Aunt Aliza made him take his medictation.

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