Bucket List

Last month I ticked off an item on my bucket list: take a ride in a helicopter.

I have wanted a ride in a helicopter since I first saw the 1950s TV show, The Whirlybirds. I didn’t care about the plots and stories of the series. It was of no importance to me that the main characters were usually brought in by the police. They could even have been the bad guys for all I cared. All I knew was that I wanted to fly into the sky with a huge bubble window to look out at the land below, just like the stars of The Whirlybirds.

Finally, on a trip to Sedona, Arizona, where my husband and I met up with my sister and her husband for a week’s holiday, I got my wish to ride in a helicopter with Sedona Air Tours. For 35 minutes we rode over the red rocks of Sedona, seeing sights that are not accessible by road and would require serious hiking and climbing skills to reach. We snapped photos and recorded videos of  the cliff dwellings of the former Sinagua natives as the helicopter hovered high above the trees and valleys below. At least my brother-in-law and I did. My husband sat behind me clutching the back of my seat until his knuckles turned white.

Sights of Sedona

He told me he didn’t want to go, but the way he said it always gave me an excuse to rationalize it away. Or at least that’s how I heard it. First, my sister wasn’t feeling well when the time came, so she decided to stay back. Let’s not go, he said. Maybe they wouldn’t fly with just three of us. Well, let’s go find out, I said. Then when a group that arrived after us was called forward to go out to the field before us, he again said he didn’t want to go. We had to wait too long, he said, implying that the company was stalling us. It was my fault, I said, because I thought the time on the note we had was our appointment time, not the time we were advised to arrive at the airport. The cost was too high, he said. But it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to see the beauty of Sedona, I said.

Sinagua cliff dwellings
Sinagua cliff dwellings

I had the front seat view, right next to the pilot. The second set of pedals that control the aircraft were right at my feet. (I promised not to touch them.) There was no floor there–just the pedals above air. I was thrilled. My husband wasn’t.

But he survived. And for the days and weeks since then, when he tells people about our trip, he says they should definitely take the helicopter tour. The scenery is stupendous, he says.

I’ll remember that if we ever end up back in Sedona. Sedona Air Tours gives a 10% discount to repeat travelers.



Chocolate cake with cream

Wacky Cake

Yesterday my grandson, James, helped me make a chocolate cake. He calls it funny cake. The recipe we used calls it wacky cake. I know it as crazy cake. The recipe we used can be found below.

My dad’s sister made crazy cake for me when I was about the same age James is now. I asked her for the recipe once, but she didn’t remember the cake or making it for me. Yet it’s one of my clearest childhood memories.

I remembered that the cake was chocolate and that preparing the batter involved making three holes in the dry ingredients and pouring in three different liquids, one into each of the holes. I was delighted when I found the recipe for wacky cake in a cookbook prepared in the 1950s by the ladies of First Lutheran Church of Fargo, ND. Friends we met here who went to high school in Fargo found the cookbook among items from their parents and shared the book with me because they knew it contained recipes for some Norwegian foods. Finding the wacky cake recipe in it was a bonus.

I’ve since found the same recipe listed as an eggless, milkless cake, perfect for vegans.

I assume the recipe came from depression days, when prices were higher than many households could afford. Or maybe from World War II when food items, among other things, were rationed. During such times, the eggless, milkless cake recipe may have been normal. But later, as the economy improved and rationing ended, the recipe would become what it is for James and me–a funny cake recipe.

Having succeeded at making the chocolate wacky cake, I now wonder if I could alter the recipe for other flavors. Maybe a lemon version would work with lemon juice substituted for vinegar. I found a white cake recipe online that also calls for apple cider vinegar as an egg replacement, so I’m sure other flavors would work.

Besides, even if there are easier vegan cake recipes, I’d love to discover another one I can make with my grandchildren.

Wacky Cake

Quantity: 9×13 pan Time: 35-40 min Temp: 350o
3 cups flour 2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar 1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp soda 2/3 cup oil or melted shortening
1/2 cup cocoa 2 cups cold water
pinch of salt
Mix first 5 ingredients and put into a greased and floured cake pan. Make 3 holes in the dry ingredients. In one put the vanilla, in another put the vinegar, and in the third put the oil or melted shortening. Over all pour the cold water. Mix well. Bake.

Mrs. Ruth Radcliffe