The BEST part, however, was that every single adult - male and female - followed him around the church, hanging on every single word. We all love stories. We all love to see interpretations of stories. For some Christians, stained glass windows are the only Bible stories they ever read.
We often need the tangible in order to believe the unimaginable.
We would gather in her kitchen sometime on Saturday afternoon, after all the other Saturday chores had been done, including polishing our shoes and laundering our white gloves.
We would line up all the ingredients on the kitchen table - the older kids measuring the liquid ingredients, the younger ones allowed to measure the dry ingredients. One of us was assigned to greasing the pans, another to chopping the walnuts (which we first had to crack - usually with a hammer - and get the meaty walnut out before chopping).
And I, only I, was allowed to sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into the batter. I was also allowed to make the marzipan balls that went on the top of the cake. Eleven for the disciples. "None for Judas," my Grandmother would say, wagging her finger. And, a big one for Jesus in the middle (You can see that I used blue and pink Peeps Bunnies on mine.)
And my grandmother, only my grandmother, was allowed to pour in the hot applesauce. We all stood back when she did that, in a respectful silence which was tinged with a bit of awe saved only for sorcerers and magicians.
And, indeed, she did cook up laughter there in her kitchen. In the midst of the doldrums of Lent, she was making Bolos do riso - "Laughter Cakes".
Oh, but here's the special ingredient - the secret of "Laughter Cakes".
After every ingredient had been added and stirred, and before she poured the batter into the muffin tins or cake pans, she would gather us round the Very Large Mixing Bowl. And then, she would tell us not to worry. That Lent was a very sad time, but that soon, it would be Easter. Jesus would play a wonderful trick on Satan, and death would not kill him.
And, because death could no longer kill Jesus, death could no longer kill us. Because of Jesus, we would know eternal life in heaven where we would all someday be, once again.
She would tell us this and then say, "So, laugh, children. Laugh into the bowl. Laugh into the cake. Laugh at the Devil. He can't win. He can't ever win! Only Jesus can win. Only Jesus! Laugh! Laugh! Laugh!"
And, we would. Laugh. Loud. Right into the bowl. I swear people ten blocks away could hear us laugh. It was the best part of making - and eating - that cake.
And yes, she would put the brandy my grandfather made in the cake AND the frosting. Hmm . . . maybe that's also why she called them "Bolos do riso". Nah, laughter was the special ingredient that "made" that cake - special for Refreshment Sunday.