My sister and her husband have been married almost 14 years, and have been together about 20 years. I cannot imagine knowing and liking a person for 20 years (sorry, husband of nine years, but thems the truth). 20 years seems excessive. I don’t know how they’ve managed to hang on that long, what with my sister’s propensity for “long car rides” and her husband’s love of “science experiments”.
I can’t be sure, but I think (!) that the thing that has held them together all these years is the wedding present I gave them way back in the summer of ’99.
I remember the day I bought Michelle and Chris’ wedding present. They were registered at all the usual places… Pottery Barn, Sears, and The Sausage Haus. But I didn’t want “the usual”. No one remembers who gave them their down-alternative duvet (Thanks Gramps!) or their knife block (Holla at ya, Auntie Dar and Uncle Al!), unless they are incredibly considerate, attentive, well-bred individuals.
I looked at Pottery Barn (overpriced), Sears (so square!), and The Sausage Haus (awesome, but another guest got to the salami first!), to no avail. I knew that I wanted to give my sister and my brother-in-law a wedding present that they would never forget, and never be able to return.
I thought back to a particularly good episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, where Ray gives his parents an engraved toaster for Christmas. In the episode his parents return it, without even opening it, and the hijinx ensues… the way it always does, because frankly, it’s a quality television program.
I decided that I would take a cue from Ray Romano, and give Chris and Michelle an engraved toaster. But not just any toaster… A retro, robin’s egg blue Morphy-Richards toaster. A toaster that says, “Yeah, I’ll toast your toast or Eggo® waffle, but oh, also, check out my sleek lines!”
I do know that toasters can’t talk (or, perhaps they have been really quiet about it) but they can communicate a message; like, an engraved one.
I wanted the toaster to say something memorable, decision-affirming, weighty. I spent nearly three minutes deciding what to have engraved, finally settling on: “Remember what matters most… toast!”
People can (and will) argue that toast isn’t what matters most (they might say “love”, “money”, or “long car rides”), but Chris and Michelle have been “toasting their Eggo® waffles together” (not an innuendo) for nearly 14 years, and I think that says something!
Now, I don’t think I can take all the credit for them hanging in there that long, but I think I can definitely take some credit (65%). The toaster can take the rest (35%).
Addendum: Looking back, and having gone through the registry process, and still having my invited guests “freelance” with our wedding presents, I understand now how annoying this can be for a bride and groom. If you register for something specific, like a Cuisinart Die-Cast 16-Cup Food Processor from Williams-Sonoma, and instead you get a ceramic statue of a woman. Normally, getting a ceramic statue of a woman would be a real treat, but not if you want to process 16-Cups of food.