My niece got married last Saturday. After the wedding, we were treated to a beautiful wedding reception set against the foothills of the Topanga Canyon in Southern California. I had a tall order–sort of. I’ll explain. In spite of the elegant surroundings that usually come with a classy wedding, she honored me by asking ME to make her wedding cake. I had previously made her sister’s wedding cake, as well as a couple of my own kids’ wedding cakes. It’s tradition.
So, needless to say, I wanted to go the distance to please her and her fiancé . Therefore, the tall order expectation came from me, not from my sweet niece. I asked her for some pictures of what she wanted, and just like her sister, she gave me carte blanche. Very UN-bridezilla-like. Good job, brother and sister-in-law in raising your daughters so well! However, I needed SOMETHING to go with, so she sent me some pictures of cakes she liked and her color scheme. One of the cake samples struck me immediately, and it happened to be her favorite, too. Her wedding theme was Rustic Chic. The cake in the picture was set on a cake stand made from a pine log and it was gorgeous! I decided I had to do everything in my power to recreate that cake stand. I found that buying one large enough for a wedding cake would be quite pricey, so I set Plan 2 into motion.
I enlisted the help of my daughter-in-law and partner in crime (I call her my Padawan) to accompany me on a short trip up the canyon of the nearby mountains we live by. I thought I might find a local artisan who might use tree logs for their craft. As we approached Forrest Falls, we kept our eyes peeled for the local gift shop, hoping to strike “gold”. Success! We parked in an easily accessibly parking spot next door, which happened to be the parking lot to a Mexican Restaurant which had not yet opened for the day. There was a restaurant employee sweeping the parking lot, so I decided to ask my question–if he might know of anyone in town who uses pine logs for their craft? He was quite personable and so much fun to talk to, we visited for a while. Especially after he told me I looked younger than my age…how could I leave??? He eventually told me I should try the next street over and I would know who he meant by all of the logs in the yard. How appropriate that he sent me to Pine Street. This was random act of kindness #1. We thanked him and went on our way, but first, I wanted to cover all of my bases, so I inquired at the gift shop, as well. The kind woman behind the cash register thought for a moment, after she learned what we needed and offered the phone number of the man who cuts the trees on her property. Random act of kindness #2, and we didn’t even buy anything at the gift shop! My Padawan and I returned to the car and headed on to our next adventure. We found the house on Pine Street with all of the logs in the yard. I knocked on the door, but no one was home. Bummer. Okay, I still had a phone number for the tree cutter–or would that be a lumberjack? I called the number and a woman answered. I asked for the gentleman’s name and she said I had the wrong number. Bummer! However, she recognized the name I was asking for and she knew who I was talking about, but did not know how to reach him. Then she asked what it was that I needed? I told her the cake stand story and she immediately got on board with me and sooooo loved the story that the log would be used as a cake stand for a wedding cake. She said she had just had the trees in her yard trimmed and had several pieces leftover that I could choose from! It’s not supposed to be this easy! But, I followed the directions she had given me to her house and she had already rolled out a couple of possible specimens I might be able to use. Random act of kindness #3. I chose one and offered to pay her for it. She would not hear of it. She was so enamored of the way it was going to be used, she was happy to be a part of it. In our conversation, she mentioned that she makes bird houses and sells them on Etsy, and had some lovely ones hanging from the eaves of her house. Although she did not ask, I told her I would mention her E-store to everyone I know, because she was just so kind. Plus, I am sure I was walking away with a log she could probably use for making birdhouses. When I got home, I pulled up her website and was entranced by all of the loveliness she creates. You can see them here at BirdhousesByMichele on Etsy. And here is the pine log in the raw she was so gracious to give to me.
What a transformation, right? My brother and father-of-the-bride was the “transformer”. He is truly talented. It runs in the family. Ha! Okay, so, anyway…after we left Michele, we forgot all about our plans to go hiking for our daily exercise and couldn’t wait to get back to town to show everyone! You know that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi, where everyone is celebrating in the woods and hugging and kissing each other? That’s exactly how I felt! I drove it straight to my brother’s house and left it in his care. He sliced it, sanded it, stained and waxed it and all of the other steps it took to transform this ugly duckling into a thing of beauty. And might I add–the ugly duckling in the story was never ugly. It was only ugly to those who chose to see it as such.
You might think I’m getting carried away over a piece of wood, but it touched me and so impressed me how the help of 3 perfect strangers brought about this final product to add a special touch to a wedding for someone they had never met. And no one had to go out of their way, nor did it cost a cent. The experience has inspired me to be a better person–to take the extra 5 minutes to perform a random act of kindness that might inspire someone else to perform a random act of kindness. It may not have far-reaching effects, but those in your close proximity will be the happy recipients of your kindness. Go ahead–make it a random act of kindness kind of day! YOU will be happier for it.
My Padowan is also a professional photographer. You can check out her work on her Facebook Page: MD Photography in Yucaipa, CA. She took these for me…