What skill or area of expertise do you have that most people would find unusual?
I decorate birthday cakes. I started when my kids were little. The first one I remember doing was for Lance in 1971. I come by this ability honestly. For a time my mother worked at our neighbor’s bakery. When they found out she could decorate cakes, that became one of her jobs. It was Grandma Paddy that did Lance’s first birthday cake and Wendy’s first birthday cake too. Joyce Carpenter, Rachel’s other grandma did her first birthday cake. I think I did all the rest of them. A few of the cakes deserve special attention. Ben’s 9th and 10th birthday cakes were made from rice crispy treats and were very 3-dimensional. His 9th was a chunk of TNT from the game Minecraft. His 10th was a cake of their camper. For his 12th birthday I did a string of lights from the TV show “Stranger Things.” Various lights were marked out with red dots to spell out a secret message. I asked him if he could figure out what it said. He said, “well, B. Then E, then N. Hey, that spells Ben.” I asked him about the numbers. He said, “1 and 2, that’s 12, That’s how old I am.” It was just my good luck that all the letters happened to fall in the right order. Around the time I was doing Rachel’s 13th birthday cake, Lance said he would still like to have one, even at 44. Bazinga refers to what Sheldon, one of the characters on the “Big Bang Theory” TV show says frequently.
Assorted birthday cakes
I can’t claim I have anything close to expertise in this area but over the years I have developed an interest in the historical period of World War I. I am an avid reader and particularly like mysteries that are set in unique locations or historical times of the past. I have read several historical series that are set during the years leading up to WWI and the years following leading up to WWII.
I don’t claim that this has led to deep understanding of all of the politics related to the causes of the war, or an encyclopedic memory of the important battles, weapons, or strategies of warfare in the period. However, because I read ePub books almost exclusively, I have internet access at my fingertips as I read. If I don’t quite understand the terrain of a particular location, the details of historical figures, or the timeline of specific events… I look them up as I read. With this strategy I have studied battle maps, news accounts written during the period, and even tried to understand the complex treaties and alliances that caused seemingly isolated events to escalate into world-wide war.
Battle of Verdun
Also, because I am reading novels, there is an added sense of the personal costs of the war to both soldiers and those at home. Since I read authors who are good at what they do, I feel that what I read is as accurate and authentic as they can make it.
The horrors of WWI were probably not the worst in all of history but new weapons like gas, machine guns, and tanks were introduced and led to much suffering in terms of disfiguring and horrendous wounds. By organizing soldiers into groups from cities, neighborhoods, and villages, sometimes a whole generation of comrades and families were wiped out at once. Those who survived lived to relive the horrors of fighting in trenches and mud on top of the bodies of the fallen. Like most wars, it didn’t seem worth the sorrow and those that survived had to watch their own sons and daughters face another world war in their lifetime.
This post is part of the StoryWorth project that I am participating in.
At the ButchieBoy main page select the Storyworth catagory.