The first one seemed to be a fluke. Less than a year ago, his brother asked if he would make a cake for a surprise birthday party. Not just any cake, a “Cake Boss”-style cake, reflective of all things water polo, a particular passion of the guest of honor!
Before his brother’s request, had he made any cakes? No!
Had he even thought about making cakes? No!
Yet, always one to welcome any challenge, this former college football player, now banker, found a few instructive videos on YouTube and determined that this challenge was eminently do-able. A few days later, he agreed to do it.
An Amazon “prime” member, he began ordering the tools of the cake baking trade. Packages flooded the front porch daily. Spatulas, rolling pins, pans, molds, fondant, letters, numbers, edible food dyes and countless other supplies were soon in abundant supply.
Not more than 24 hours until the big event, not an egg was cracked. It was crunch time. The kitchen turned into a full scale “manufacturing” shop. First the cake—chocolate swirl. Then the design—blueprint. Next the canvas—the fondant. And finally, the masterpiece: a cake featuring a water polo match in progress, with capped players in scoring position of the netted goal and flip-flops, towels, lane lines and life preservers lining the deck, was unveiled at the party.
Not bad for a first try. But, this wasn’t just a one-time flash in the cake pan!
Many more cakes followed. One for Thanksgiving, adorned with a Pilgrim top hat (work-in-progress pictured above and finished product below).
I marveled at his patience. Each railroad tie was molded to perfection, as were the pebbles that dotted the tracks and the red brick tunnel. As for Thomas — his unmistakable blue tank was punctuated with black and red trim, spoked wheels and perfectly chiseled eyes, nose and mouth.
All the pieces of the cake puzzle lay separately on the kitchen table and the clock was ticking until delivery. “How do you know how to do this?” I asked. Without hesitating, he responded, “It’s no different than building model toys I did as a kid. It’s a hobby… it’s fun.”
Fun for him to build. Fun for us to enjoy. And that’s what hobbies are — FUN!
Wouldn’t we all benefit from a little more “hobby” squeezed into our day? What’s yours?