More Up, Please

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Richard and I got married ten years ago today. All day long (and it’s been a LONG day), I’ve wanted a taste of wedding cake.

Our wedding cake was made by Cecelia Villaveces’ bakery here in Athens. The bottom layer was vanilla, the top chocolate. The whole thing wrapped in white buttercream icing. After Richard and I shared a bite, my friend, Sasha, sliced it up for the guests and served it on little glass plates. So sweet.

I’ve been thinking today about the youngest guests at that wedding–my brother’s sons, Grant and Jake. Let’s see, Grant is driving now so at the time they would have been 6 and 3. It was chilly that day, so they were dressed in turtlenecks and dress pants. I just remembered that Joe and Beth should have been on the way to Mexico for their annual spring break getaway, but they came to celebrate with us instead. I am so grateful for that.

The boys were in fine form that sunny day. After the ceremony, when the men were rolling up the Persian rug that we had used under the tent, I remember Grant and Jake insisting on “helping” to carry it back up the hill. Then they rolled down the hill until they had grass in their hair. I remember Jake chatting with Richard’s dad and how it tugged at my heart to see him with a little boy as his only son was dying.

As the luncheon wound down, Grant came by the little table where Richard and I were sitting to visit with us. He told me that he had been named student of the week. He was so proud of himself. I bragged on him and we clinked our glasses together in a toast to his success. Then he said, “Aunt Ashley? When are we gonna cut that cake?” I assured him that it wouldn’t be much longer. Then I leaned in close and whispered, “And YOU get to have the first slice because YOU are student of the week!”

We gathered around the cake table. Richard and I shared a little bite. The boys stood right at my elbow, first in line. Grant took his plate and walked back to the table where his parents waited. Big Gay overheard Grant as he looked his very health-conscious mother in the eye and said, “Aunt Ashley said I could have the biggest slice of cake and you can’t say no because she is THE BRIDE!”

Special days call for cake, so Grant and Jake each had a slice then lined up for another one. When it was Jake’s turn, Sasha asked if he wanted chocolate or vanilla.  Jake squinted at the cake and pointed to the top chocolate tier. “I want some…I want…um….gimme some UP!”

The adults in earshot laughed pretty soon we were all asking for “up” instead of chocolate.

That night, after the meds had been infused and the family was in bed, I sat up late writing thank you notes. The remains of the cake called to me from a white cardboard box in the center of the dining table. I opened the lid. All the up was gone, so I cut a slice of down. It was still deliciously sweet, but all I had to choose from.

Today’s the kind of day when I just want some up.

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