He got home pretty late. Everybody was still awake but dinner had already been put away in the refrigerator. “Oh you got a present today,” his wife informed him. One of the perks of being a doc in a rural community was that people gave you things during the holidays every year. It was a nice way for them to show their appreciation for your efforts on behalf of your patients and their families. The best thing was the food. Folks really went all out and you had your pick of the prized creations from some of the best cooks in the area. Sometimes he felt like his patients were trying to fatten him up so he couldn’t give them a hard time later about the weight they had put on over the holidays.
“Who’s it from?” he asked as he slid his plate of leftovers into the microwave. “Sweet Little Old Mrs. Metcalfe.” came the reply from his wife.
He gave her a wry smile and continued eating. Some things never change. Mrs. Metcalfe was one of his most loyal patients. She had been bringing a big German Chocolate cake every year for the past dozen because it was his favorite kind of cake. She just couldn’t think of a better way to make her doctor happy at Christmastime. After all, he saved her life. Or at least she saw it that way.
He finished his supper and strolled over to the window to admire his cake. The icing was thick but you could still see how all the layers stacked up. It was a square cake, so if you wanted to you could cut yourself an end piece and experience the sugar rush that all chocoholics crave. There had to be a lot of love wrapped up in that cake. The cost of the cocoanut alone must have taken a pretty good chunk of the old lady’s social security check.
He picked up the cake and walked over to the counter. He opened the drawer and got out a knife. After opening the cabinet beneath the sink, he used the knife to scrape the cake into the trash, just as he had done every year for the last ten. It dropped with the usual thud. As nice as Mrs. Metcalfe was, she was no cook. He and his family had found that out years ago. Her cakes were like bricks, completely inedible. He washed the plate, put it in the rack and went to bed.
A couple of days later Mrs. Metcalfe happened to drop by on a Saturday. The doctor’s wife had some flower bulbs to give her and she had forgotten them when she had dropped off the cake.
“Thanks for the cake. Oh, I have your plate”, he said without thinking. “I’ll go inside and get it for you.” Mrs. Metcalfe looked surprised. “You finished the whole cake in two DAYS?” Handing her the plate, he recovered just enough to flash his broad grin. “Well, cake like THAT doesn’t last long around here!”