DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our wedding cake has been sitting in our freezer for three years. I don't know what to do. On our first anniversary we took a trip. I totally forgot about it until a couple months later when I was looking for something in my freezer and it dawned on me. I am too superstitious to throw it away. We have a great marriage, but that cake is taking up so much room in our freezer. Please help me.
GENTLE READER: No, thank you, that's very kind, but -- oh, wait. You didn't mean help you eat it. Whew.
Unlike a good marriage, a good cake does not improve with age. Miss Manners has never understood why it is assumed that food can be used as a souvenir.
Yet there it is, and you can't just toss your wedding cake in the garbage disposal, splattering symbolism all over your kitchen. Miss Manners suggests inviting your relatives or members of your wedding party to dinner, and bringing it out with great fanfare. You will need another dessert, as they are not likely to eat it, either, but they will push it around their plates, leaving you with crumbs to throw out and the sense that you did the cake proper honor.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I know a lady who will be turning 75 soon. Her 94-year-old mother offered to have a birthday dinner in her honor at a local restaurant.
The purpose was really twofold. First to commemorate the birthday, and second to get all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together at one time to celebrate the event. Reservations were made and people were called and invited.
Three days later, the lady decided that she didn't want the party, but would rather have the money that would have been spent so that she could travel.
I believe that her elderly mother's intent was to use the opportunity to get the family together for a sit-down dinner, which seems to be harder and harder to do these days. Based on a conversation that I had with her mother when she called canceling the dinner, it was obvious that she didn't originally give the lady a choice of the money or the dinner, the lady just came up with this on her own. What is your opinion of this lady's actions?
GENTLE READER: That this lady certainly keeps up with the times. Looking upon the generosity and kindness of others as convertible into spend-able income -- preferably without the nuisance of having them around -- is, Miss Manners assures you, a relatively modern form of rudeness. In the era in which your acquaintance was growing up, she may have been just as ungrateful and callous toward her mother, but she would not have expected to profit financially from doing so.