Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Gift

Access denied.  This week the kitchen has been off limits for me.  I'm allowed to go in there only for essentials.  Coffee, water, pet food, and beer are the few things I have permission to retrieve.  I'd better not leave a mess either.  It is a limitation I can live with for this week. There is sound logic in my acceptance of such temporary restrictions. 

For this weekend is all about me, the birthday boy!
Who can't laugh at a clown?

Michelle has been lighting up the kitchen the last couple of evenings making the cake of my choosing.  I type, order in, and grab take out. She simmers, stirs, mixes, folds, layers, and bakes. Pretty sure I'm getting the better end of this deal.  Michelle, a gifted baker, is making a gift for her guy.  How about that.

The other day she handed me The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and said pick one.  The chocolate cake with burnt orange butter cream caught my eye.  
Target Acquired
So Michelle could make this recipe her own, I suggested she add a chocolate caramel sauce.  My slice would love to sit in a puddle of extra chocolate richness.  See how thoughtful I am.

I'm not completely sure what all is going on in that kitchen, but there are smells and sounds that have the dogs and I peaking in there wide eyed and curious. 

Bubby Kitty can't watch.  It's just too much.

During a record snow storm on January 16, 1964 in Dallas, TX yours truly entered this world. Tomorrow I turn 47.  For some reason, 47 sounds much older than 46.  Then again, 46 seemed so much older than 45, so I reckon its an annual feeling.  The thing about 47 though is that its only 3 away from 50.  Those over 50 tell me its the beginning.  I choose to believe.

Of all the birthday gifts I've received three stand out just a little more.

In 1976 there was an enormous, yet very lite, fantastically wrapped package presented to me by dad.  There were obvious smirks on all the faces in the room.  It was clear that everyone was in on this presentation. The anticipation of me opening this package was starting to get the best of the givers.

You need to know that I, at 12 years old, over topped with raging adolescent hormones, wasn't exactly a bursting bundle of joy. Apparently I was taking life a tad more serious than my smart ass parents believed I should.    

Under the wrapping paper was a large plain brown box taped tightly shut.  A firm shake failed to deliver a clank, rattle, or anything.  The only sound was the snickering coming from the onlookers. Inside that box was a vast space of nothingness.  Just some air and four walls.  That was it, or so I thought.  I was the only one in the room not laughing.  The joke was on me, but I didn't get it.

My dad said "Do you know what is in there son?"

With a confused and annoyed look I replied "no".

Dad said "In that box is a sense of humor.  Your mother and I wanted you to have one".

And it worked.  I got it.  I laughed and laughed.  It was a gift that needed no exchanging.  A definite turning point in how I viewed the world.

The next favorite gift is the cake Michelle is making right now.  I haven't tried it yet, but while on her potty break I sneaked a preview.
I have to hide these crumbs

It is a cake made with love and affection because she wanted her guy to feel special on his birthday.  It does't get more meaningful and personal than that.

Michelle's Cake Looking Ready To Eat

In 1977 Mom asked me what color cake I wanted for my birthday.  Using my new sense of humor I said green.  I was trying to be difficult and funny.  Mom made a sensational pistachio pudding cake that was absolutely green, and tasty too.

I do believe though, my favorite birthday gift of all time is the next one I receive.  The mystery of the one I've yet to experience is the best.  No matter what it is.

It is truly without question the thought that counts.

Here is to gifts past, present, and future.

Cheers! Scott 


  1. Beautiful beautiful post. Funny. Warm. Serious. Wistful.

    How did you get the cat to pose like that?

    Happy Birthday, Scott. And many, many more. I won't let you stop having them until you exceed my age. [65]

    Enjoy your cake and your special day. I hope you write a post about the cake.

  2. Sir Lance A Kitty is a regular ham. He isn't camera shy at all.
    I can tell you that the cake is tormenting me. Good thing our celebration is tonight. Glad you stopped by.

    Cheers! Scott

  3. I just saw your post about your birthday. Happy Belated Birthday to you! Michelle looks like she definitely did her thing with the cake. Yummy! I hope you had a wonderful, blessed day.