It was going to be a glorious finale to what had been a perfectly lovely birthday cookout with Kathy’s family. For dessert, rather than a standard birthday cake, I made the executive decision to purchase two half cheesecakes from my new favorite bakery in the area, Oliver’s, on the south side of Kenosha. One would be raspberry (my wife’s favorite flavor) and the other would be blueberry (my favorite.) I envisioned the two halves lining up right next to each other on the platter like the Chinese symbol of yin/yang – with that combination of deep blue, bright red, and gleaming white lending a patriotic air to the proceedings. And that’s even before we would actually dig in and taste just about the best cheesecake on the planet.
But alas, when I opened the box, I was greeted with the sight you see before you – with the blueberry half having migrated from its appointed place and rudely violating the personal space of its raspberry counterpart in a move that seemed to vaguely resemble a microbe attacking another cell- or maybe two oddly-colored mollusks flirting with one another. All I really know is that it wasn’t supposed to look like this. Not even close. But fortunately, 17 years of marriage to Greg Berg have made my wife pretty resilient in the face of mishaps, and her ability to laugh about this helped keep me from crying.
Aside from the migrating cheesecakes, it was a great day, although Mother Nature was not exactly cooperative. She gave us lovely sunshine but also a very brisk wind which was strong enough not only to blow out the coals in the grill, but also strong enough to blow out our Bic butane lighter with which we were trying to re-ignite the grill.
Actually, I use the term “we” rather loosely here, because while Kathy and her dad were trying to get the grill going, I was busy running around town trying to buy one more thing for my wife: wind chimes. (ironically enough.) Milaeger’s is usually a fantastic place for such things, but for some reason all they had were teeny-weeny wind chimes that would have perhaps looked good in Lorelai’s bedroom (spindly little tubes the size of drinking straws, with a pastel-colored butterfly at the top) OR enormous chimes with tubes that looked more like something ripped from a plumbing fixture – a couple of inches in diameter and four feet long. (It looked like something Babe the Blue Ox might use to spruce up Paul Bunyan’s patio.) And when I asked the clerk if they carried anything of moderate size, she looked at me like I had just landed in a Martian war machine. Posthaste, I left and went to Stein’s Garden Center, and they had exactly what I wanted- and praise be, it was even on sale!
And from there, it was a truly lovely meal with delicious hamburgers and very fresh buns, wonderful fruit (Kathy chose to keep the fruit in separate bowls rather than throwing it all together in a bowl, which was actually SO much nicer), Bob’s famous on-the-grill potatoes, and most important of all, the pleasure of each other’s company. And when you add all of that up, what’s one little cheesecake collision?