Birthday Cake Blues
So Thursday, it’s girls night out, and me and the Women Who Run With the Moose (Celeste, Rita, Betty, Dot and Shirley) are having some “refreshments” down to the Brew Ha Ha. You know, “re-hydrating” after Zumba class!
We’re talking about what we’re going to do to celebrate Celeste’s birthday. Her kids and husband are having a special dinner for her, but we’re workin’ on who of us is going to order and pick up her birthday cake.
Why, might you ask, isn’t someone in her family taking care of the cake? (Haven’t we all pondered this question, right?) But it’s not something women tend to talk about in public. It’s a sad little secret we keep to ourselves; that achy tooth we poke at once a year. We might admit to buying our own Christmas presents, wrapping ‘em up and putting ‘em under the tree. We joke about that, and how we pretend to act surprised when we open them. But this birthday cake thing, that’s another story.
And it would have stayed secret in our little group, too, if it wasn’t for Shirley. Thank goodness for Shirley! This must have been, oh, ten, fifteen years ago, now. Can’t remember what we were doing. Girls night out, probably, ‘cause the whole gang was there.
Dottie notices it first. “What’s a matter, Shirley? You seem kind of down in the dumps.”
Shirley kind of looks away and sighs. “It’s nothing,”
“You can pull that crap on your husband,” I tell her, “but it won’t work here. What’s up?”
“It’s too embarrassing.”
Celeste doesn’t miss a beat. “Embarrassing? Remember when I got so excited to see Rick Springfield I peed my pants? Spent almost the entire concert in the john trying to dry my panties out over the blow dryer? Banner moment.”
“Or how ‘bout when I was maid of honor at my sister’s wedding,” Rita pipes in, “went to the bathroom, and did the entire first dance with the back of my dress tucked into my pantyhose?”
Dot goes, “Classic!”
By now we’re in hysterics. “Come on, Shirley,” I says. “We’ve all been there, done that. Spill the beans.”
Shirley goes, “OK, OK. So it’s my birthday coming up next week, right?”
“Has been for what, forty-some-odd years?”
“Well, I had to order my own birthday cake.”
Us girls all look at her, mouths open. “I know,” Shirley says. “It’s just so embarrassing.”
“OK,” I admit. “I’ve ordered my own cake.”
“Me too,” Betty says.
“Me, three, “Dottie and Celeste agree.
“I usually make mine,” Rita says sheepishly.
“I’d been order my own cake for years,” Shirley continues, “and hadn’t thought too much about it. But then there’s this new kid at the bakery, didn’t know me. She asked me what I wanted written on the cake, and I said, ‘Happy birthday, Shirley.’ Then she asks what the name is for the pick up slip. ‘And I say, “Phyllis.’ Don’t know why, it just came out. Couldn’t bring myself to say, name on cake: ‘Shirley’. Name for pick up: ‘Shirley.’”
“Well ‘Phyllis,’” Betty exclaims, “I think this whole birthday cake thing is just horse poop! From here on in, we have each other’s backs on this one. Women Who Run With the Moose do not make, order or pick up their own birthday cake. We’ll do it for each other.”
“Here, here!” we all agree.
And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since. It’s the least one friend can do for another. Before we finish our “rehydrating,” it’s agreed: Celeste’s having a lemon cake with butter cream frosting and raspberry filling. Dottie’s ordering, and I’m picking it up. It’s going to read, “Happy Birthday, Beautiful!”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side! Listen to the podcast.