The Fruitcake

Posted: October 18, 2013 in Community, Family, Humour
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Over the 23-plus years that I have known my wife, it has been a challenge to surprise her at Christmas. Oh, I can surprise her by walking into the room wearing nothing but socks and a smile (especially when her mom and dad are visiting), but actually surprising her with a gift is surprisingly difficult.

I’m not sure if it’s because she’s very intelligent, or I’m a bit klutzy, or a combination of both. Yet, year after year, Anne always seems to find out what she’s getting for Christmas. She gets this talent from her father. Ol’ Fern, or as I like to call him, Sherlock Holmes, has an uncanny wit about him that makes it very difficult to fool him. In our family, the stories about how he’d figure out what he was getting at Christmas are legendary. He once picked up one of his gifts at Woodhouse, the old furniture place, because he looked a lot like his brother. The clerk just handed him the box, and said ‘Mr. St Louis, here’s your brother’s present that you ordered.’ And, without missing a beat, Fern took it home and set up his new remote control.

Anne is the very same. Unless I buy something, put it somewhere else like at my parents’ place, then get amnesia, she’s going to figure it out. She’s the kind of person that will see a piece of string in the laundry, and somehow will use this to figure out that I bought her tickets to a concert. She’ll see a dead fish in the garbage, and thus figure out that I hid her gifts in the attic. She’s sees the dog snoring, and she then knows that I am planning a party for her. It’s that bad.

I’ve had to resort to using ‘false leads’, leaving clues that aren’t what they seem to be to try and mislead her. I left a Mappins card on the floor at the shop, and sure enough, she found it, and sure enough, she thought she was getting jewellery. I had her fooled, until I realized she actually expected jewellery. Oops. I guess I’d better act on that.

Anne is now gluten-intolerant, so eating has become a problem for her. There are not a lot of food-based gifts you can give her. But there are some. And one of her favorite things, particularly at this time of year, is fruitcake. But, just try finding gluten-free fruitcake. It’s very difficult to find and very expensive when you do. But I really wanted to give her this.

And so, I set out to find some. And I did! Unfortunately, the lady that makes it lives way out in Timbuktu, and didn’t want to ship it. Nor would she take credit, debit or a cheque. Cash only. Well, it was evident that the only way to get her this fruitcake was to meet this lady face to face. I was going to drive all the way out to get it, but Anne, with her Spidey-senses in overdrive, offered to go for the ride with me on this ‘service call’. So, that was out.

We finally agreed to meet in North Bay, where she had a doctor’s appointment. At 10:45 am, she with the blue van, me with the white, would meet and make the exchange. It felt weird. Almost like ‘Mission:Impossible’ meets ‘Cops’. As I saw her van pull up, and she got out with two unmarked bags, I got out to make the exchange. I was expecting an ambush.

‘You got the stuff?’ I asked her. ‘You got the money?’, she responded. We both looked around, making sure nobody was watching us. It looked like an illicit drug exchange. The fact that it was in front of a drug store probably didn’t help. We exchanged our goods, and I left with what is possibly the best fruitcake money can buy. I felt good. Finally, a nice surprise for Anne.

I got home a little early, and put it nicely on her desk. I was excited. I finally pulled a fast one on my wife. Even the kids were excited when they got home, just before their mother. ‘Good one, dad!’ they exclaimed, patting me on the back. I envisioned them carrying me on their shoulders, cheering, showing the world what a champ their old man was.  If it wouldn’t have crippled them, they just might have.

Finally, the moment had arrived. Anne pulls into the driveway, looking worn from a very hard week. She mounts the stairs, opens the door, and tiredly enters the house. She puts down her bags, shrugs off her coat and boots, sees us standing there, and says, ‘Did you find some fruitcake for me?’ And, like watching a balloon slowly deflate in defeat, our shoulders sagged, and we knew she’d done it again

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