This Takes the Cake
John Norberg, humor columnist s

When we retired last year my wife said I needed a plan. She said her plan was to do lots of volunteer work, help people, and serve the community, work at church and much more. She planned to climb mountains, swim oceans, read, exercise and live life to the fullest.

"What's your plan?" she asked me.

I told her in retirement I was kind of thinking about sleeping late, watching old movies on TV and keeping regular meeting appointments with my recliner.

It turns out we have both followed our plan in retirement.

Last week my wife Jeanne received a wonderful honor for all the good that she does. She was recognized as a Woman of Distinction at a YWCA banquet. She is very deserving and I am proud to be married to a woman who does so much good.

In fact, even more than being proud I'm really kind of counting on her goodness when my time at the Pearly Gates one day arrives.

St. Peter looking over my record in his big book: "This really doesn't look good. Why did you do all this stuff? Oh, look at this. I can't believe it. What were you thinking? I just don't think we're going to be able to get you in."

Me: "You gotta let me in. How about my wife? My wife has done so many good things she won't need them all to get her in. She'll have plenty left over. Why can't she just pass some of her good stuff off to me so my balance sheet looks better."

St. Pete: "You can't get into heaven on your wife's coat tails. We know you've been counting on that for years. Didnít' you get my email about that?"

Me: "I deleted it."

St. Pete: "You deleted email from St. Peter? That's not going to look good in this book, either."

Me: "I went for the 'save all' key on my computer and my fingers hit 'delete all' instead. It was an accident."

St. Pete: "Do you know what happens to people who don't make it in here? They get sent downstairs and they have spend eternity working with computers that don't work."

Me: "No! Anything but that!"

There was a beautiful and huge banquet at the Purdue University Ballrooms for the women being honored. I was very happy to be there. And I was even happier when we sat down at the dinner table and I saw the desserts preset at every place.

It was chocolate cake to die for. This wasn't just any chocolate cake. This was chocolate cake with thick chocolate frosting and rich chocolate candy added on top of that. There was chocolate filling between the layers.

For me it was love at first sight.

Wife: "I know what you're thinking. You can't eat the cake until the end of the meal. Dessert comes last. There's a salad and roll course, the main course and then you can eat your cake."

Me: "Who says we have to eat dessert last. That makes no sense. What if I get full from the salad and vegetables and don't have any room left for cake? That would be a disaster. What if I put off dessert until the end of the meal and drop dead of a heart attack right in the middle of the main course. I'll miss my last dessert! I deserve my just desserts."

Wife: "The word is 'deserts.' And mind your manners."

She turned to talk with the person seated on the other side of her at the big round table and everyone started eating their salad. While my wife was facing the other way, I picked up my fork. As if it had a life of its own it skipped past the salad and landed right in the middle of my cake, the part with all the frosting. I took out a big bite.

It melted in my mouth. My wife kept talking. So I kept eating my dessert until it was all gone.

When I finished I felt horrible. I didn't feel guilty about eating dessert first. I was depressed because I didn't have any more cake.

Sure it had been delicious and there was no reason to put off eating it until the end. But now I didn't have anything to look forward to at the end of the meal.

It was a beautiful program. They showed TV interviews of all the women being honored on a huge screen set up at the front of the ballroom. Finally, it was my wife's turn to receive her recognition. She went on stage and to the podium where she spoke, thanked everyone for the honor, talked about what a great community we have and how we can accomplish so much together. It was a great talk.

As she spoke, I looked up at her way off on the stage. I looked at her empty seat at the big round dinner table. And there seating right next to my place at the table was her untouched chocolate on chocolate on chocolate cake to die for.

At the end of the evening she returned to the table, sat down, picked up her fork and moved it toward the cake plate. There was nothing on the cake plate but a few tiny crumbs.

While she was speaking, someone had stolen her chocolate cake to die for.

Now I know what you're thinking. Think what you want. I have said all I'm going to say about this case of the missing cake.

But I'm afraid this whole episode is not going to help me one bit in my problems with St. Peter.

I wonder if he can be bribed with chocolate cake?

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