VINSON: Ever tell a little white lie?

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I imagine most have heard the term "little white lie." Based on my experience, the term refers to an untruth that, for the most part, is benign and not intended to actually hurt anyone, versus an "outright lie" purposely told with malice, with the potential to hurt the innocent.

Have you ever told a little white lie? That's what I thought.

The following is a story that was revealed to me, and, no, I can't authenticate it as being the gospel truth. However, it does serve as a good illustration regarding how one should conduct him/herself in life.

Mrs. Helen Johnson (fictitious name) was to bake a cake for her women's church group, which went by the title Ladies of Faith. The reason for Helen baking the cake was that it, along with other cakes, pies, and pastries, was to be part of a church-sponsored, bake-sale fundraiser.

Married to a prominent banker, and a bit of a socialite in this small southern town, Helen, however, had totally forgotten about baking the cake until the very morning of the fundraiser.

Frantic, Helen rummaged through her cabinets and, luckily, found a box of Angel Food Cake mix. Hurrying around, she mixed the contents and stuck it inside the oven to bake. Removing the cake from the oven, she discovered that the center of the cake had dropped flat. The cake looked horrible!

Realizing there wasn't enough time to bake another cake, Helen, fueled by a mixture of anxiety and ingenuity, commenced looking around the house for something to build up the flattened cake-she had a plan!

So, Helen went into her bathroom and grabbed a roll of toilet paper. She inserted the roll inside the cake, then proceeded to cover it with layers of decorative icing. When she'd finished, the cake looked perfect, good enough to win a contest! Helen raced over to the church and placed her cake amongst the others to be sold at the fundraiser, which was to begin at 8 a.m.

Next, Helen called her older daughter, who lived nearby, and gave her these instructions: Before going to work, the daughter was to swing by the church, buy the cake that Helen  had delivered, and bring the cake straight back to Helen. The daughter agreed.

About 8:30, the daughter called and informed Helen that someone else had bought the cake before the daughter could make it to the church and purchase it.

Helen was petrified: She would be the subject of much gossip. She would be socially ostracized. Her banker husband would ridicule her. However, she had no choice other than to let it play out.

It was about a week later, and Helen and her husband had RSVP reservations to attend a  dinner hosted by the governor and his wife, Charlene, at their antebellum Governor's Mansion,  an "Upper Crust" southern event, to say the least. Charlene was a snooty, self-serving type, always talking about herself. Actually, Helen despised Charlene, but always put on a smiley-face front.

After an elegant dinner, Charlene disappeared into the kitchen, returning to the dining table with a beautiful cake for dessert . . . the very cake Helen had baked for the fundraiser!

Her face now flushed red, Helen was about to stand up and come clean about the cake; she had no other choice.

Before she could stand, though, the senator's wife, sitting next to Helen, commented, "Why, Charlene, what a beautiful cake! I must know where you bought it so I can get one."

"Oh, I baked it, myself," Charlene said, smiling and making eye contact with all those sitting at the table.

Immediately, Helen's blood pressure returned to normal, and she, with tongue in cheek,  eyes twinkling, said, "I agree, Charlene, what a gorgeous cake. Your baking skills speak volumes of you. I certainly hope there's enough for seconds."


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little white lie, Mike Vinson
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