Dean was a church leader, and his congregation needed to raise some money. So he and his two assistants decided to have an auction. The people of the community seemed excited about the idea. They started to gather anything they felt was of value to the designated area behind the church.

On the day of the auction, the women of the community went all out baking their most delicious desserts. Dean’s wife made a beautiful three-layered chocolate cake. She covered it with chocolate frosting and decorated it like a pinwheel using M&M’s. Dean’s mouth watered just looking at it.

Just an hour before the auction, Dean got a call. He was disappointed to learn there were some problems where he worked, and he had to come in. He hoped to go in after the auction, but the problem necessitated immediate attention. He knew it meant he would miss the auction.

Dean’s children were disappointed that their father couldn’t come to the auction with them. Dean felt he was letting them down, but he especially felt he was letting his wife down because she had put a lot of work into helping organize the auction and in making her cake. He decided that he had to do something to show her he desired to be there.

He called his first congregational assistant, but all he got was an answering machine. Dean left a message telling his assistant to bid on the cake his wife had made.

“Bid as high as you need to go to get it for me, and I will pay you back,” Dean said.

As Dean headed to work, he got thinking that his first assistant might not be able to make it to the auction because of the work he did, so Dean pulled out his cell phone and called his second assistant. When Dean’s second assistant answered, Dean explained the situation.

“I want you to buy my wife’s cake for me,” Dean said. “Bid whatever amount needed to get it, and I will pay you back.”

The man agreed to do so, and Dean went to work feeling better. When he finished taking care of problems at work, he returned home. The auction was over, and his family was already there.

“How did the auction go?” Dean asked.

“Really well,” his wife answered. “We took in a lot of money. But the strangest sale item was my cake.”

“How so?” Dean asked.

“Well, most of the food items sold for less than twenty-five dollars. But your two assistants kept bidding on my cake until it sold for five-hundred dollars. Then, strangely, the winner gave it to me to bring home, telling me to give it to you.”

Dean gasped. He hadn’t realized what he was doing in calling both assistants. He found out which one had won the bidding, and then Dean drove to the man’s house and paid the five-hundred dollars for the cake. When Dean returned home, he explained to his wife what he had done.

Dean then ceremoniously called the family together. He placed the beautiful cake in the middle of the kitchen table. “Tonight, after we have finished our family bedtime routine, we are going to each have a piece of your mother’s five-hundred-dollar cake.”

After they finished their evening family activities, everyone trouped into the kitchen to share the cake. But as they came through the door, they were in for a disappointment. Their little dog was on the table, covered in chocolate, standing in the midst of the crumbs of what was left of the cake.

So, Dean never even got to taste the most expensive cake he had ever bought.

Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at daris@darishoward.com; or visit his website at http://www.darishoward.com, to buy his books.

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