Heaven's Blue Ribbon

A widow receives a helping hand from beyond in baking a prize-winning chocolate cake.

By Bonnie Chocallo, Wyoming, Pennsylvania

As appeared in

Two years in a row, my Hershey Cocoa Cake took the blue ribbon at the Luzerne County Fair. Much of the credit belonged to my husband, Mike. He was my official taste tester, helping me perfect my recipes and suggesting what I should try next.

“Delicious!” he’d say, pressing the last crumbs of my latest confection into his mouth. “My wife is the world’s best baker!”

“Oh, you. You always say that,” I’d say as I scrubbed my mixing bowls. Mike was my biggest fan.

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After Mike died, it was hard to muster up the energy to continue baking, much less compete. With the county fair looming, I sat at the table and looked around my quiet kitchen. Mike would be so disappointed if I didn’t at least enter this year’s competition, I thought.

I had all the ingredients for the cocoa cake right in my cupboard. I dug out my measuring cups. Soon I had a bowl of brown batter. But when tried to preheat the oven, the digital display stayed blank. The oven wouldn’t heat. I called my son, who came right over to have a look.

“Looks like the thermostat is totally shot,” he said. “It’s an old oven, Mom. You’ll have to buy a whole new appliance.”

I couldn’t believe my rotten luck. If Mike were here, he’d find a way to help, I thought. Out of frustration, I grabbed the oven knob and gave it a hard twist. The digital display flashed. The oven was working!

I poured the batter into a pan and popped it in. The rich scent of warm cocoa filled the kitchen.

I did have to buy a new oven, like my son had told me. But my old oven won me a third blue ribbon—with a little help from heaven.

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I have taken your magazine for years. I really look forward to getting my magazine.You might say I can hardly wait until it gets here.I would like to tell you about my seeing two angels. I had been sick off and on for over three years. This is really a long story how I got to where I am today. I had taken care of my husband for over six years because he had colon,rectal and liver cancer. It was eating into his back and abdomen then the last two months before he passed away it went into his bones .It was horrible to set and watch him die slowly.thank God he brought me thru this whole thing. The day I saw the angels my daughter had come to pick me up to take me to the hospital because I was having colon surgery. that morning my daughter said mom did you see the sky I have never seen anything like this. she was backing the car up and I'm telling her to stop the the car so I could get out of the car to look at the sky.when I looked north I saw this huge Angel seemed like he was looking right at me.I looked south and here is another Angel looking at me It's like they had my home right in the v shape of their bodies I could even see the feathers on their wings blowing in the wind.I have never had chills in my life like I had that morning.I told my daughter to get out and look at those angels.So she saw them too. We proceded to go to the hospital where I had the surgery.I was in the hospital for over three weeks then spent eleven days in a rehab hospital.It has taken several months even after I got home to recuperate. My daughter told me mom I think God let you see those angels just to let you know you are going to be ok.I really felt that peace that passeth all understanding. I just wanted to tell you about what I saw. I will never forget it .I thank God every day for letting me see those angels.Most of all I thank him for his mercy and grace. Thank you Elma Sellers