I pulled the bottle of wine from its hiding place between the paper bags and the refrigerator and tip-toed down the hall to my office, pausing in front of our bedroom door to make sure my husband was sound asleep. I latched the door behind me, turned on the light, and dug through the clothing in the closet for the treasure I’d buried there.
I’m a sneaky wife.
I’ve known since 1977 that my husband likes fruitcake. His eyes lit up every year when his mother brought hers out for Christmas. It was fine with me they enjoyed their tradition, but I’ve never liked fruitcake. I also have a strong aversion to alcohol, and when I learned her recipe called for embalming it with spirits, well, you can bet I’d never look for an occasion to make fruitcake. Never.
What changed my mind?
This year I wanted to give my husband a gift that cost me something, a gift created to please him alone, and not me. A gift only I could give—my love. And he’d celebrated enough holidays without his favorite treat.
After taking notes from family stories and scouring the internet, I chose a recipe, bought and hid the ingredients, scheduled the baking when I was sure he wouldn’t be around, cleaned up the evidence and stashed the cake in the closet like his grandmother used to do. Later that night I doused it with wine and hoped he wouldn’t smell it in the morning.
Love rules over all.
Love costs whatever I’m willing to pay, and I want to love him completely. However, since he was ill during Christmas and missed our family gatherings, he didn’t feel the extent of my love till several days later. That’s when I appreciated one redeeming quality about fruitcake—it’s longevity.
I ate one of the last pieces tonight so I could wash the container. The other piece is in his lunchbox for work tomorrow, but I should have given him both pieces. I love my husband, and surprising him was lots of fun, but I still have no desire for fruitcake.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis