Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Cake Saver

We have a lot of fall birthdays, in fact, today is my husband's. Others were two of our daughters' and our two youngest grandsons. I even have one coming up soon. Since my husband is gluten intolerant, the only way he gets a birthday cake is for me to make it. It came out of the bundt pan beautifully and after it cooled I reached for a special cake plate to put it on. The children's cakes came in boxes and were beautifully decorated, but my husband's cake was decorated more simply since I'm not very artistic and as usual was running short on time, but as I looked at that stemmed cake plate with its protective dome, it took me back in time. A glass cake saver on a pedestal was something my mother always wanted. Her mother had one and Mama didn't know what happened to it after her mother died. Being only ten at the time, she'd had little say in what happened to her mother's belongings. She often spoke of how pretty a cake always looked on a proper cake plate. I don't know if I and my siblings were a little dense or if we just never happened to find one to give her. My father gave her a nice practical tin one and one of my sisters gave her a lovely plate on a pedestal but with no lid or dome.

I'm not sure when my mother's dream became mine, but for years, I too longed for a graceful cake saver, but it always seemed there were other things I needed more. They were also a little hard to find. One day while visiting my daughter, Mary Jo, on an Army base where her husband was stationed, I mentioned to her how my mother had wanted a cake plate like her mothers and that somehow I had developed the same longing. Sometime after I returned home my daughter and another sargeant's wife who had become her close friend were talking about their families and my daughter mentioned that she was thinking of looking for a cake plate for me for Christmas and why. Her friend said she wanted to find a CD her daughter wanted, one she listened to every time she was at Mary Jo's house. Knowing her friend wouldn't find the CD locally since it was the sound track for an LDS movie, Mary Jo called me and asked me to get one for her to surprise her friend. I did, and the next time I went to visit, I was the one to receive a surprise---a cake saver, just as I imagined my grandmother's must have looked. It wasn't a gift from my daughter, but from her friend.

That cake saver has become a kind of link to my mother and my grandmother, but also to my daughter, and to the friends who have enriched both my life and my daughter's. Pretty cakes in boxes are nice; I love them in fact, but I'm glad for the occasional excuse to place a cake on that plate and gently set the domed lid over it. The memories it invokes, in my mind anyway, make even my clumsy decorating efforts appear elegant.

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