Every time my wife’s birthday rolls around we both remember one of my failures. (I’ve had so many.) It all stemmed from an innocent question. “What would you like for your birthday, dear?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she responded.
So…what do you get for the woman who has everything? I always take her out to dinner, sometimes in Cocoa Beach, sometimes in Orlando. But I’d like to get her some kind of birthday surprise to unwrap and when left to my own devices, this can turn out badly.
One year with no guidance from my beloved I bought a small silver pendant. But holding it in my hand it looked puny. It wasn’t enough. I decided to get something to compliment it, and after looking for a couple of days, I finally saw a boxed set of toiletries. The box was wrapped in a beautiful red and silver cellophane and included bath beads, body wash, lip balm and several other fine fragrant things. Zero hour was approaching and time was short so I bought it. Looking back, I blame the fact I hadn’t eaten lunch and my blood sugar was low to this poor choice. I was also attracted to the flashy display. (I’ve been known to chase and bark at pieces of foil on windy days too.)
Did I mention that all the products in this gift set contained the latest natural wonder – bee’s wax. The unassailable logic here is if it’s good for bees, it must be good for people too. (Just look how soft and fragrant bees are.) I didn’t know at the time Mary has a paralyzing fear of bees and doesn’t much care for their wax. When the big day came, she unwrapped her gift of bee’s wax and responded as if she’d just received a gift of laundry detergent. With narrowed eyes she looked at me and intoned, “Thanks.”
I knew immediately I’d screwed up! That pivotal day would forever be known as the bee’s wax birthday and to make sure that it’s never repeated, Mary equips me for my shopping expeditions with index cards now. On each card is a picture clipped from a catalog of a blouse, a jacket, a sweater or something. She also writes her size on it, so I can’t screw up. I’ve grown accustomed to the pitying looks and gentle advice from benevolent sales people who assist me. I feel a little like the “special” kid at camp who everyone had to carefully watch. Remember him? He had to have his name and address on a label in his jacket so the counselors would know who he is and where he’s supposed to go. But I don’t care how they view me. I’ll take all the help I can get.
After reading this, many of our friends will understand some of our exchanges. For instance, when I say to Mary, “I need to get something for my sister,” and she snaps, “Not bee’s wax!