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The day before yesterday I turned 72. That sounds really old. But then, after you say it a couple of times - I'm 72 - you kind of start getting used to it, then you figure, eh, might as well get on with it, such as it is.
Now, what with me still being footbound, housebound, and mostly chairbound (see post from 8/19/2023, https://www.ailantha.com/blog/i-invalid-part-one-four-insults-and-an-injury), celebratory options were still pretty limited. I therefore invited my son Tommy and daughter-in-law Emily,
...to come over on Sunday, the day before my birthday, for lunch. And to bring a couple of pizzas with them.
My daughter Theresa's friend Mayren would be there, too.
On Saturday evening I sent my mate Tom out to Giant Eagle to pick up a birthday cake. I instructed him to make sure and get a white cake, not chocolate (me being one of those rarest of creatures, a chocophobe), with vanilla icing.
"White cake, vanilla icing," said I. "Got it?"
"Got it," said he.
He picked out from the Giant Eagle bakery a suitably zippy cake for the occasion.
There'd been no one present in the bakery department to write "Happy Birthday" on the cake, but I was fine with it, considering the generous border of icing stars and the over-sized globes of icing balloons; for everyone familiar with my biodata knows that all I ever really want for my birthday is a store-bought cake smothered in that thick, dense, hyper-sweet store-bought vanilla icing, ideally on top of which may sit more icing frills. I don't mind if the frills are dyed red, yellow and blue, or, for that matter, any color on the spectrum, and the "Happy Birthday" script is strictly optional.
And so, pizza, cake, and loved ones for my birthday it would be.
Or so I'd planned.
The following morning my daughter Theresa woke up feeling wretched.
"I've got the worst sinus infection," she said.
Uh-oh, thought I. "Take a COVID test," I said.
"I'm pretty sure it's just a sinus infection," she said.
"Take a COVID test," I said.
So she took a COVID test, and:
So that was that.
I called my son and daughter-in-law to let them know that lunch - which they were going to provide - was, sadly, called off.
But they said they would drop pizza off at the house for us anyway, suggesting that we could still all celebrate my birthday with pizza, just not together.
I decided that when they handed us off the pizza, I would hand them off part of my birthday cake because, together or apart, what's a birthday celebration without some cake?
When I proceeded to remove the plastic dome of the cake so that I could cut it I made a terrible discovery:
This was not a vanilla cake; it was an almond cake!
My mate, never before having been in charge of procuring a birthday cake, assumed that white icing meant vanilla icing. Checking cake labels was not within his realm of experience. But even so, I doubt that in the 46 years we've been married I ever happened to mention that I hate the taste of almond extract flavoring with the heat of many suns.
Tom, of course, felt terrible about buying me the wrong birthday cake, and though I assured him that it was fine, that he didn't need to rush out to buy me another cake, he nonetheless rushed out to buy me another cake.
Meanwhile, Tommy and Emily arrived laden with pizza, salad...
...and birthday cake!
That is to say, a dozen beautiful mini-bundt cakes, which they intended as a collective birthday cake.
I asked them if I could give them in exchange some almond extract birthday cake. They took a hard pass.
As soon as they left I tried to call Tom in hopes that I'd catch him in time to let him know that he now didn't need to buy me a cake after all, but I was too late. He'd gone to Meijer's this time, where he found the most gorgeous, rose-bedecked cake, and there was even a baker on duty to write the message.
So now I had three birthday cakes.
But what to do with them all? As Theresa was dealing with Paxlovid mouth and so had no interest, there was only Tom and me to eat them. Much as the two of us love our sweets, even we couldn't pound that much sugar.
We came up with a plan: We'd freeze the beautiful cake until some time in the future when we could have more people over to share it. Tom would take the almond extract cake as a nosh for his church group the following morning. That left us with the very manageable dozen mini-bundts, which we got to work on after eating our delicious pizza and salad.
Our mini-bundt cakes were over-the-top delectable. This one was topped with a yummy cream cheesy frosting.
Later in the day Mayren came over for an across-the-room visit with Theresa, and when she left we had her take along some pizza and a couple of mini-bundt cakes.
The following morning, my birthday, a delivery arrived on the front porch.
The boxes were warm, and the fragrance donut-y and heavenly. Inside the boxes were a dozen donuts, still warm, the toppings still beautifully gooey.
They were a gift from my sister Romaine,
...who had them Doordashed from Dragon Donuts, a popular local donutery,
...where the donuts are made to order; that is to say, you order your donut and the baker pours a portion of batter into the donut-making machine, which then drops a circle of batter into the fryer, and a few moments later you have a fresh donut, which will then be dunked into the frostings and toppings of your choice.
My sister did not know that Dragon Donuts were my favorites. It was simply kismet that she happened to Doordash from this place.
Delighted with my birthday donuts, I wondered if one of my friends might be free to come over for a donut or two (or three) and a cup of coffee. But then (sigh) I remembered: we had COVID here!
So Tom and I, wanting to take advantage of these Dragon Donuts in their prime, took a birthday donut break then and there.
Our Dragon Donuts were sublime: ever so slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the the icing was perfection.
Since my friend couldn't come over to my den of COVID iniquity, I sent Tom over to her house, where he left a couple of donuts and a couple of mini-bundt cakes on her front porch.
Later that afternoon another friend swung by with a card and and I sent her away with a couple of donuts and mini-bundts as well. She tongue-in-cheekily pondered whether it was right that she brought me a birthday card then came back with a present. "It's karma," I replied.
But, in truth, having friends and family to share my birthday cakes and donuts with - even if we had to be in separate pods - was the best gift I could have asked for.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
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I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.