When my husband and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary at our favorite restaurant, Lenny, the piano player,asked, "How did you do it?"
I knew there was no simple answer, but as the weekend approached, I wondered if one reason might be our ritual of breakfast in bed every Saturday and Sunday.
It all started with the breakfast tray my mother gave us as a wedding gift. It had a glass top and slatted wooden side pockets for the morning paper a kind you used to see in the movies. Mother loved her movies, and although she rarely had breakfast in bed, she held high hopes for her daughter. My adoring bridegroom took the message to heart.
Feeling guilty, I suggested we take turns. Despite grumblings - "hate crumbs in my bed" - Sunday morning found my spouse eagerly awaiting his tray. Soon these weekend breakfasts became such a part of our lives that I never even thought about them. I only knew we treasured this separate, blissful time read, relax, forget the things we should remember.
Sifting through the years, I recalled how our weekends changed, but that we still preserved the ritual. We started our family (as new parents, we slept after breakfast more than we read), but we always found our way back to where we started, just two for breakfast, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
When we had more time, my tray became more festive. First it was fruit slices placed in geometric pattern; then came flowers from our garden sometimes just one blossom sprouting from a grapefruit half. This arranger of mine had developed a flair for decorating, using everything from amaryllis to the buds of a maple tree. My husband said my cooking inspired him. Mother would have approved. Perhaps it was the Saturday when the big strawberry wore a daisy hat that I began to think, how can I top this? One dark winter night I woke with a vision of a snowman on a tray. That Sunday I scooped a handful of snow and in no time had my man made. With a flourish I put a miniature pinecone on his head.
As I delivered the tray, complete with a nicely frozen snowman, I waited for a reaction. There was none but as I headed down the stairs I heard a whoop of laughter and then, "You've won! Yes, sir, you've won the prize!"