The Cake Went Upside Down

Jan Karon and Father Tim ride through a parade in a red convertible.

It was a busy weekend for on-location productions. It all started early Saturday at the Taylorsville Apple Festival as we continued our search for some of the tastiest apple pies in the Carolinas. Cameras were on location early enough to see the morning come alive.

We were aware of the reputation of two fried apple pie makers and were in time to witness the line of people waiting for the pies before the festival officially opened. It was a great visit with the pie makers and those who were in line for not just one pie, but 10-20 pies.

The fresh hot apple cider was also a big treat. We watched as the apples were put in a grinder and then into a crusher to make pure juice. It was heated and then served; no need to add sugar, mother nature added the perfect amount.

It was then time to join camera crew members already in Hudson, North Carolina. This was the beginning of our two-day coverage and stage production around Jan Karon Days. Jan was born in the Dula Hospital in Lenoir and then lived with her grandparents in Hudson as a child.

Jan Karon is best known and admired for her New York Times bestselling Mitford novels. Her accomplishments are significant and that’s why the first celebration of Jan Karon Days was so special.

Our involvement started a few months prior with a call from Hudson resident and commissioner Ann Smith. It was during that conversation that I became more than a little intrigued with the idea of doing a segment around Hudson and Jan Karon.

Little did I know from that call the story would turn into far more than a short segment. As our research developed, I filled my Audible book listening line up with Mitford books.

As many of you know, I spend a great deal of time traveling the Carolinas for story research, development or on-location production. All that translates to a lot of time for me to think and listen.

Father Tim and many of the Mitford residents became my traveling companions. There were many moments of laughter, reflection and consideration. While I enjoy reading, I love hearing a story come to life with the spoken word.

After many visits and calls with the dynamic trio of Ann, Cathy and Janice at the HUB Center in Hudson, we were ready for our action-packed weekend.

Everyone was in place for the 11:30 a.m. Jan Parade that featured a blending of local dignitaries and Mitford personalities. Jan rode in a red convertible driven by Father Tim and her car would slow and stop as fans approached.

The parade was delightfully charming with seemingly endless smiles.

And then it was time for a special lunch gathering. The lunch was preset and consisted of very healthy portions of a tasty chicken salad, pasta salad, assorted cheeses and grapes. The centerpiece of each table was a beautiful orange marmalade cake.

All was going well. I shared a table with our crew and Hudson leaders. We were all enjoying our chicken salad but there was much talk about the cake. I decided that I would cut the cake. Some wanted smaller pieces, and some wanted larger pieces. Regardless of the size, we all loved the cake and with almost half remaining, it was time for a few smaller second pieces. So, I went in to do my work once again. The thing that I did not consider was the fact that I had already cut half the cake and the weight of the remaining cake was mostly on one side. As I went in for the second round, I touched the side of the cake stand. I’m not sure how, but it was as if time slowed as we all watched the remaining cake turn completely upside down.

Amazement and laughter ensued. Everyone looked our way and the chef arrived with an offer to bring a new cake.

The rest of the day went well and ended with a dinner theater experience.

But one thing is for sure, the upside-down orange marmalade cake is best enjoyed with friends and laughter.

Thanks for the memories Jan.

I’ll tell you about Sunday next week. It was a grand day indeed.

Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com