I love the 4th of July! What a beautiful time of year!! The best part: this weekend marks 8 years of marriage to the best person I know. In honor of that, I though I'd share a story from our first year of marriage:
My Aunt once told me a story about her first days of marriage to her first husband. They were so poor that, one day she opened the cupboard and all the food they had was a loaf of bread and some ketchup, and no money to buy other food. She decided to make the most of it. She set the table with their best dishes, lit some candles, turned on romantic music, and set the 'meal' upon the table. Then, she got all fixed up and dressed up. When her new husband came home, she and he feasted on ketchup sandwiches. They laughed until their sides ached. It's always been an inspiration to me, this story.
On Jeremy's first Birthday since our marriage, I wanted to do something special for him. We were never ketchup-sandwich poor, but we came darn close. Jer was working 2 part time jobs, and going to school full time. Despite all his hard work, the ends of the month barely met. There was no extra money for a Birthday gift. I managed to pull together a few dollars for a cake and a frosting mix, thinking that I would make him a special cake, and put some candles on it, and surprise him with a celebration when he came home the evening of his Birthday. Despite the humble gift, I was super excited to do something special for him. I made the trek to my mother's house in Alpine that afternoon, to use her oven (ours was not functional!). The plan was to bake the cake, decorate it, and return home to American Fork before he did.
I lovingly spread the chocolate cake with German Chocolate, the coconut kind of frosting. I wrote the letters, "Happy Birthday Jeremy," across the face of the cake, and decorated the edges with chocolate icing. It took longer than expected to decorate it, and by the time I headed home it was already dark outside. But I knew if I hurried I could still beat him home and get ready to surprise him! I had set the cake carefully on the passenger seat, and was racing down Highland Highway as fast as I dared, when I suddenly saw a blur run in front of my car. Slamming on the breaks, I barely missed a raccoon and watched in horror as the cake I had worked so hard on, my only gift for my sweetheart, fell face-down on the car floor. Blessedly, I had wrapped the cake in plastic wrap, so it was still intact. Sadly, where the letters had once read: "Happy Birthday Jeremy," they were now smeared and unreadable. The entire cake was a smooshed mass of frosting and crumbs.
I cried the entire way home. When I say I "cried," what I mean is that I sobbed like a 5 year old who lost it's puppy, like teenage girl who just got dumped, like a pregnant woman who...you get the picture. I bawled all the way up to our apartment, where I discovered Jeremy had beat me home after all. Which only added to the tears. Sobbing, I got out of the car, disheveled cake in arms. He had heard the crying, and imagining something horrible, he raced out to see what the matter could be. Had I been in an accident? Was I hurt? I presented the cake to him and managed between hiccups to choke out the words "raccoon" and "car". Supressing a smile, Jeremy tenderly put his arm around me and led me into the house.
He sat me on the couch with a tissue in my hand, went to the kitchen and got a fork, and proceeded to eat his Birthday cake. He told me, "It's so yummy! Never in my life has a cake tasted so good!" Tears became laughter and laughter became tears, as I watched him shovel mouthful after mouthful of chocolate mush into his mouth, vowing with every bite that it was delicious. That night, we laughed until our sides ached.
I've learned some things since then. First, is that Jeremy strongly dislikes anything with coconut in it, including German Chocolate cake frosting. Second, he would do anything rather than to see me cry, including eating coconut. Third, I love him more than anyone or anything in this world. He has taught me to love more deeply than I ever knew I could. That is why, when people ask me how long I've been married I always reply, "Not long enough!"
One of many married pictures July 5, 2002
(notice his squinty eyes....that's a funny story for another time...)
Happy Eighth Anniversary, Jeremy! I love you!!