I FELT JUST LIKE a queen, waiting patiently at the dining room table to be served a slice of decadent chocolate cheesecake.
I must say, it’s a wonderful feeling to be on the receiving, rather than the giving, end. And that’s how it is now when I celebrate my birthday.
On Monday, a day after my birthday, my daughter drove down from Minneapolis for an appointment and later dinner out with me, her dad and her brother. But afterward, ah after that meal, I really enjoyed the celebration.
My first-born had baked a from-scratch, all-chocolate cheesecake. She clued us in that the recipe called for melted peanut butter chips mixed into the chocolate batter. But she scorched the peanut butter chips and had to substitute chocolate chips. That produced some gentle teasing about a many-years-earlier chocolate pudding cake disaster.
Clearly, she’s learned a thing or two about cooking and baking as the cheesecake was pure chocolate perfection.
As much as I enjoyed the rich creamy dessert, even more I appreciated that my daughter chose to make a cheesecake. She knows it’s my favorite dessert.
Then I opened my gift from her and appreciated even more that my eldest had chosen items perfectly suited for me. She didn’t buy just any old thing just to give me a present. Rather, she shopped at a south Minneapolis antique store—one with lots of antlers and a place she nearly walked out of due to all those antlers on the walls.
Inside the antique shop, she found a slim volume of poetry, Minnesota Skyline, published in 1953. The book wasn’t priced, she said, and clerks discussed, in front of her, the price she should pay.
I flipped through the pages and knew I would enjoy this collection with poems like “Wind in the Corn,” “Pioneers of Southern Minnesota,” and “Spring on the Prairie.”
I haven’t had time yet to indulge in the anthology. But that evening, after I opened my daughter’s gift of poetry, I read aloud a verse from “Delano on Saturday Night” by Margaret Horsch Stevens of Montrose:
Men, bent, with toil, feel younger in the glare
Of lights, exchanging jokes and arguments;
And women brighten as they meet and talk
Of recent births, and brides, and home events.
We laughed as we pictured families gathered in downtown Delano on a Saturday night in the 1950s. How times have changed.
After that impromptu poetry reading, I pulled four slim yellow trays from my birthday gift bag. Once again, my daughter had selected an ideal present for me. I collect vintage metal trays and these were unlike any I have or any I’ve seen. For now I’ve propped two atop a shelf—art leaning against a wall.
There’s something to be said for aging, when you can see your children as grown adults, who are caring and loving and giving and who know that you love poetry and cheesecake.
© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
The Lund Press, Inc., of Minneapolis published Minnesota Skyline.