Many of my fondest memories surround the summer visits with my Aunt Yvonne and her seven kids in Bonney Lake, Washington, where swimming and languishing on the lakeshore consumed our days. Those pre-teen and early teen days are for me like scenes plucked from a Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer adventure.
We must have looked like a motley crew ambling barefooted down the dirty gravel roads, all of which led to a maze of trodden paths to our choice of swimming holes. We sauntered off with inner tubes bouncing about our waists, beach towels thrown over our shoulders, and plastic jugs of iced tea tucked under our scrawny sun-blushed arms.
It was a quiet forested area where we ran freely, safe and unfettered all day long, returning home when darkness fell. We were naive, classic country bumpkins who were loud and fun-loving. Our laughter echoed across the lake and bounced off the tall evergreen trees as we endlessly played and poked fun at each other.
One afternoon we were drying ourselves after a dip and enjoying an iced tea break when several of my cousins’ schoolmates stopped to chat with us on the beach. One of the older girls said, “We go skinny-dipping every evening over by the foot-bridge. It’s really fun; you guys should come over tonight.”
I believe it was the first time swimming without a swimsuit had ever occurred to any of us. We were enthralled with the adventure and nodding in the affirmative when the youngest of us blurted out, “We’ll meet you under the footbridge tonight at dark.”
As dusk fell we walked along the shore giggling nervously as the footbridge came into sight. By this time we’d discussed the possibility of getting in trouble should our parents catch wind of the caper.
“If we get caught we’ll probably get put on restriction,” my cousin, Mariann, said expressing genuine concern.
“Ya know – it’s not the worst thing in the world to go swimming without clothes!” Someone reasoned.
Halting in his tracks, my oldest cousin, Joe, said. “Stop where you are!” His eyes narrowed and he honed in for a better view of the beachfront. “Look over there on the shore!” He said.
Dark shadowy figures were quietly scurrying about on the shore grabbing up the swimmers’ clothing. Heads were bobbing up and down in the water as nude water babies noisily splashed and played in the drink. They were oblivious to the shenanigan being pulled on them.
We looked at each knowing the invitation to go skinny dipping was a set-up. The older kids were going to play one of the oldest pranks in the book on us and we’d almost fallen for it! We turned on our heels and raced toward home as if the law was after us.
“You kids are home early tonight.” Aunt Yvonne said.
“Oh, we’re just hungry for some of that cake and ice cream you promised us!” Joe replied smacking his lips to distract from our flush, guilt-ridden expressions. That night we learned it’s easier to avoid a tight spot than it is getting out of one!
Blueberry Cake Pudding is a delightful way of saying “so long” to summer, and it’s sure to taste doubly delicious after spending a day at the old swimming hole – whether you go skinny dipping or not!
Blueberry Cake Pudding Delight
1 quart blueberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 orange or lemon cake mix (1 lb. 3 oz.)
1 cube margarine or butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°. Place blueberries in lightly greased 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking dish; evenly sprinkle sugar over berries. Spread dry cake mix over berries (right out of the box). Drizzle top with melted butter.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Serve warm or cold topped with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream or whipped topping. Yield: 6-8 servings
Raspberry Cake Pudding: Follow directions for Blueberry Cake Pudding replacing blueberries with raspberries, add ½ teaspoon almond extract to berries and use white cake mix.
Cherry Pineapple Cake Pudding: Follow directions for Blueberry Cake pudding replacing the blueberries with 1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple (undrained) and 1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling, use yellow cake mix and sprinkle with 1 cup chopped pecans before baking.
Coming Soon: We just semi-finished my new website,
Traditional Comfort Food & More, so check out the new site http://www.cynthiabriggsbooks.com/ and let me know what you think at email@example.com The site is technically up and running but we still have a few kinks that need to be handled.