Wednesday, June 10, 2015


A little girl’s inventiveness saves Christmas when she remembers: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Eleven-year-old Celeste is determined to help solve her father’s problem: his ice cream truck freezer broke, so what can he sell to make money for Christmas gifts? Celeste whips up angel food cake, sure that her mother in heaven will send angels to earth to buy the cake and help the family have a merry Christmas. Despite intervention from her teacher, Celeste bakes angel food cakes and so many people buy them that she and her father have presents enough for everyone in the neighborhood. Maybe Celeste was right and many of them were angels.  

On a warm December day, 11-year-old Celeste Peterson’s father leans against his rainbow-painted Ice Cream Truck, concerned that the freezer has frizzled and left him with nothing but a river of cream and sugar. Celeste shrugs, licking two melting popsicles at once. Mr. Peterson worries he’ll have no ice cream to sell and since it’s cold outside, it’s already harder to sell ice cream in the winter. If he pays to fix the freezer in the ice cream truck, he will have no money left for Christmas gifts. Celeste tells her father the next best thing to ice cream is angel food cake. She says that angels eat angel food cake, and she’s going to make angel food cakes for her dad to sell, so he can pay to fix the freezer. She’s sure he’ll have money left for gifts and she might even meet some angels if she fills the truck with angel food cakes.

Celeste mixes up the delicious batter, scrapes it into baking tins and places them in the warm oven. When the angel food cake is done, she gives her father the first slice and explains how they’ll sell enough angel food cake to buy a new freezer. Her dad wants to know who—if anyone—is going to buy angel food cake from an ice cream truck in December. Celeste says her mom, who has been with the angels since last Christmas, would say the angels are going to buy the cakes. In fact, Celeste thinks her mom is going to send the angels to the truck. Mr. Peterson tells Celeste he is going to try to fix the freezer himself and asks her not to overdo it baking the cakes. Celeste says she never overdoes anything but might have to take the week off from school. Mr. Peterson is doubtful but scratches out a quick note to her 6th grade teacher: “Mrs. Rogers, Celeste has a stomachache and can’t come to school this week. She ate too much sugar. I’m sure you understand. Yours, Mr. Peterson.”

Despite unannounced visits from Mrs. Rogers, who tries to put an end to Celeste’s cake baking, Celeste makes enough angel food cakes to fill the entire ice cream truck. Saturday is a beautiful December day with an inch of snow. So many strangers, including Christmas carolers, visit the truck that Celeste knows they must be angels. Her father makes so much money he buys a new truck instead of fixing the broken freezer and names it the “Angel Food Cake Ice Cream Truck.” On Christmas morning, there are enough presents beneath Celeste’s tree for everyone in the neighborhood. From then on, Celeste and Mr. Peterson sell angel food cake with ice cream and never lack a thing. Celeste tells everyone it was because her mother sent angels from heaven—who had their cake, and ate it, too. She even hangs a sign on the new truck that says: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

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