The June weddings are upon us, and once again everyone is trying to figure out what kind of present to buy newlyweds. Many friends call up parents and ask, "What do Phillippe and Jacqueline need?"
The Whelans have decided to deal with their son's wedding in a very practical way.
I was over at their house while the calls were coming in.
Phil, the father, said to the first caller, "They would like a window. Yes, that's right, a window. No, it doesn't have to have shutters. Any window will do."
He told the next caller, "The kids would love a chimney attached to a fireplace."
The third caller was told, "They're dying for a linoleum floor. I don't have the measurements, but I'll let you know in a few days."
Phil marked everything down in a book.
I asked him what he was doing.
"Well, people want to buy the kids something they need. What they need is a house. So every time someone calls, Sherry or I ask the person for a piece of it. We've got 12 windows promised, a ceiling for the living room, two walls for the bedroom and light fixtures for the bathroom. If the Holbrookes come through with a front door, and the Evanses with a kitchen door, we can start telling people they want a roof."
"A roof is an awfully expensive wedding present," I said.
"We don't expect one person to give them a roof. But if we can talk 10 of our friends into going in on it, we can get Phillippe's aunt to give them the shingles."
"That's a great idea. What happens if a wedding present arrives without consultation with you?"
"We take it back to the store and exchange it for a bag of cement."
The phone rang again. Phil said, "Yeah, it was a lovely wedding, wasn't it? What do they want? I heard Jacqueline say she'd love a kitchen sink. What pattern? It really doesn't matter as long as it goes with her cabinets. wNo, she doesn't have cabinets yet, but we're still hoping. That's very nice of you."
Phil made a notation in the book. "We're moving right along."
"Once you get all the stuff together, who is going to build the house?"
"Phillippe's best man and ushers said they would work on it. My present to the kids is to pay someone to supervise the construction. It will be a rather tricky job, since most of the presents won't match."
"Anyone come through with lumber yet?"
"People have offered, but we're holding out for redwood. I think Jacqueline's uncle might come across because she's his favorite niece. The Dumbartons sent us a stack of plywood, and Sherry was outraged because we gave them a Cuisinart when their son got married."
The phone rang again. "Teresa," said Phil, "how nice of you to call. No, the kids have linens and towels. Someone beat you to a coffee maker. They also have an electric can opener. Let me think, what do they really want? I've got it! A gas furnace. They told me that if anyone asks just to say the thing that would make them the happiest would be a nice furnace to keep their love warm. Thanks for calling, Teresa, and best to Joe."
"I didn't think she'd go for it," Phil said, writing it in his book. "Particularly since when their kids got married we only gave them bookends. By the way, what brings you over?"
"Ann asked me to drop by and find out what Phillippe and Jacqueline needed, but I see they have everything, so we'll just get them a nice pair of candlesticks."
"They don't want candlesticks," Phil said. "They want a lot."
"A lot of what?"
"A lot to build their house on. It doesn't have to be a large one. Phillippe hates to mow the lawn."
"Can I think about it?"
"Sure. Talk it over with Ann. Women know more than men do about what kind of lots newlyweds want."