51: Sweet Discovery

51: Sweet Discovery

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Sweet Discovery

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

~Psalm 126

On the morning of my birthday, I caught my newlywed husband hunched over our kitchen counter, carefully studying the directions on a box of cake mix.

Scott and I had been married less than a year. His military duties had taken us far from our Yankee roots. And, when it came to celebrating our birthdays, even the warm Georgia sunshine couldn’t take the place of our families back in Pennsylvania. Scott did his best to fill the void with kindness.

What my sweet husband lacked in baking experience, he made up in tenacity; he was determined to make it a memorable day. Decades later I still cherish his impish smile as he mixed up my birthday surprise.

Scott neared his final preparations with an air of satisfaction. His dimples deepened and he flashed me a broad smile. His warm brown eyes sparkled with the joy and spontaneity of a little child, as if to say, “Look what I did.” I laughed out loud, tickled by his thoughtfulness, thoroughly enjoying his sense of accomplishment. His face shone as he carried two pans of cake batter to the oven.

It was then that I realized that Scott mixed his cake with love, goodness and a few other things. Sharp points protruded from the batter in the center of each pan. Seeing my quizzical expression, Scott assured me of his attention to detail. “The directions on the box say the cake is done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.”

I wrapped my arms around this precious man, still staring at me with puzzled eyes. Gently, I explained that toothpicks are inserted at the end of the baking, to test the cake’s doneness, not during it. As the smile I’d been trying to stifle met Scott’s, we burst into uncontrollable laughter; it was one sweet discovery.


~Kathleen Swartz McQuaig

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