Most newlyweds don’t have enough freezer space to store such items as the commemorative top layer of their wedding cake. Parents are entrusted with such responsibility. When this task befell me following the marriage of one of my sons, I dutifully wrapped and sealed the cake to preserve it for that magic moment—their first anniversary.
I tucked the package well into the bowels of the old, chest-style deep freeze in the basement, far from sight, in the hopes that it would not be thawed by someone mistaking the bulky package for a sirloin tip roast.
My friend Edna warned me what would happen. She said that according to the statistical laws governing the first year of marriage, one or more, of the following events would occur:
- Couple separates or divorces.
- Couple moves to another state/country.
- One or both are on diets.
- Wife is hospitalized with first child.
- Freezer goes out during vacation.
- Parents die or moved to condominium.
- Nephews find cake while looking for Popsicles.
- Cake saves the day at the family reunion.
Happily, none of those things had happened. I had a sense of satisfaction knowing that I had outwitted Edna with her doomsday predictions. When the anniversary rolled around, my son and daughter-in-law asked me to thaw out the cake in preparation for their visit. I put on a cap, jacket and mittens and headed for the basement. I lifted the lid and leaned into the icy cavity, bending at the waist with half my body submerged in the freezer. I discovered treasures long forgotten—a five-year old elk roast, an unknown species of fish, and a package of batteries that are said to survive longer on ice—but no cake.
The Missing Wedding Cake
In the spot where I had placed the cake, was a small partially wrapped block about the size of a pound of hamburger. Now I allow for some freezer shrinkage, but this was ridiculous. When I picked up the loose wrapping, out rolled a small chunk of wedding cake covered with freezer burn. The rest had disappeared!
About that time my oldest son walked down the stairs.
“What happened to Russ and Deb’s wedding cake?” I asked, holding up the remains and the bundle of freezer wrap.
“Oh, is that what that was?” he said nonchalantly.
“You mean you ate all that cake they were saving for their anniversary?”
“Well, I didn’t eat it all at once,” he protested.
“But you ate it?”
“I guess you could say that. At first I just took small pieces because it was so hard to break off. You know, we’ve really got a good freezer there, Mom. It keeps food rock solid. I thought I would have to use a saline torch to break off a piece big enough to eat.”
I was stunned. “How could you do this?” I asked.
“It was really hard. I eventually had to use a hacksaw and that was a lot of work.”
The “cake-naper” later attempted to justify himself by explaining to his brother and sister-in-law that the cake had not maintained its original flavor and really should have been thrown away. He had spared them that discovery and given them the opportunity to make other arrangements. In time, the tale of the vanishing wedding cake became family legend and something we laughed about. And, since I live in a family that always likes a good story—this one “took the cake.”
Alternative Anniversary Gifts
I have since discovered that it’s not the cake, but the gift that counts. An anniversary present is an absolute necessity for at least the first ten years. After that orthodontia and motor overhauls take precedence. Here are some suggestions that everywoman would love—I speak from experience here, having observed forty-six anniversaries. If you cannot afford the suggested gift, use the alternative to show your heart’s in the right place.
- Love boat cruise with shopping stop in Porto Vallarta. Alternative: A trip to the local marina, dinner at Captain D’s with shopping at Walmart Sale-a-rama.
- Trip to Las Vegas and big star show. Alternative: Casino night at the local parish house; the accordionist plays Take a Chance on Me when advised of your celebration.
- A larger, more visible diamond ring. Alternative: Replace the rings and pistons in the car. If there is still money left over, get her some new ring tones for her cell phone.
- A fur jacket. Alternative: A zip-yourself-in snuggy bag from L.L. Bean.
- A filmy, sensuous, negligee from Nieman-Marcus. Alternative: His and her flannel night shirts, monogrammed pockets, one size fits all from Sears catalog. Matching travel slippers.
- A trip to some grand monumental site—Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore. Alternative: A weekend bus trip to Branson with tickets to Andy Williams’ Christmas extravaganza.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you can’t be lavish, at least be imaginative. Or as some cheapskate once said, “It’s the thought that counts.”