The Wedding Gift
I've only ever been to two weddings in my life. One was my own – hardly a wedding at all but a registry office formality about as inspiring as a visit to the bank.
'Sign here, and here – address there – none? OK, put no fixed abode. You can present the ring to your wife now – no ring? – that's fine! – you're now married!' Now someone who had been a close friend on the brink of deportation was suddenly my wife and we could continue our journey together, wherever and however far that might lead.
The second was a more solemn and elaborate affair, I best man to a faraway friend. Indisposed in a remote place, I phoned my mother who lived in the town where the wedding was scheduled and asked her advice and help in regard to a suitable gift. She talked about cutlery sets and pyrex oven dishes, furniture, practical things while my eyes began glazing over with indifference. "Get him a pair of socks or an egg whisk," I joked. She promised to buy a gift and send it along to the wedding on my behalf – and there our conversation ended.
The wedding went smoothly, the usual dreadful mix of suits and bonhomie and that mysterious air of triumphal achievement and afterwards the bride and groom passed along an impressive display of wedding gifts acknowledging and thanking each person. I had no idea what my mother had bought and surveyed the many items with curiosity. Would it be the bedroom linen, the hairdryer, the Waterford crystal set, that casket of champagne, the pearl handled dinner set, furniture, the golf clubs – which was my present? The table groaned under the weight of expensive and elaborate gifts. Then, with horror, there at the end of the long table I saw it, my name embossed beneath on a card. My mother had taken my wry suggestion literally and bought a three dollar hand-held egg beater. I quietly slunk away and drove off into the sanctuary of night...