I thought it was a magical recipe but I also loved that our teacher trusted us to such a grown-up activity. The kitchen was a serious place in my house, filled with hot, sharp, fragile things...not a place for kids. Getting to bake something, even as simple and haphazard as a Dump Cake, was pretty much the highlight of my academic career up until that point.
I have never forgotten that day and actually let Ms. Bole know it almost immediately after reconnecting with her on social media (which also just one of my most favorite things in the world!). Years later, when I became a teacher myself, I often used cooking and baking in my classroom. I always thought about Ms. Bole and how ahead of her time she must have been. When most teachers were teaching out of textbooks, she was lugging groceries and dishes to school in an effort to make school fun and exciting.
So here's my point: we never really know what a small gesture may mean to another person. Whether an ordinary, easy thing or something that takes a little more planning and effort, the results often bring about all sorts of much needed feelings in someone else...and memory that may stay with them for the rest of their life.
I don't even know the last time I made Dump Cake, but tonight, as I threw together that easy dessert, I thought of Ms. Bole. I thought of how much she taught me that year. I thought about how her patience with me as I struggled with math gave me a little more faith in myself, and how fun she made learning even when things got difficult. I reflected on how grateful I am to still be in touch with her, 38 years later, and to be able to let her know how thankful I am for her.
That's really what kindness does. Nothing fancy and not at all difficult. Just dump in a whole lot of goodness and voilà!
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 21 oz can cherry (or blueberry) pie filling
1 pkg cake mix (yellow or white)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, cut into slices
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 inch dish.
Dump pineapple, with juice, into pan. Spread evenly.
Dump pie filling evenly over pineapple.
Dump entire dry cake mix over fruit.
Sprinkle nuts over cake mix.
Place cut butter slabs evenly on top.
Bake 50 minutes or until top is brown and fruit is bubbly.
(thank you, Ms. Bole!)