Last week I visited my parents in Wisconsin, a trip I make every few months. My faithful readers know that, almost always, something occurs on my visits which warrants mention.
This time around, the story is about the surprising ways we can get attention and accolades, whether or not we are actually seeking them. Sometimes, all we have to do is show up.
Let’s start with my chocolate cake. My daughter is gluten sensitive, so for her birthday this past summer, I found a recipe for a gluten-free chocolate birthday cake on the internet. I would have been happy if the cake had been passably edible. I had no expectations for a sensational chocolate cake made with only gluten free ingredients.
To my surprise, to my family’s surprise, it turned out to be freakin’ delicious. So delicious that I’ve been asked to bake it for every family function since then. So, here I was just trying to make a passable cake, and suddenly I am the Cake Boss. The Gluten-Free Cake Boss. It just happened, without me even trying.
As I was packing to go to Appleton, I got a call from my mom. Would I please bring home my famous(!) chocolate cake for her to share with her friends? Obligingly, I schlepped the cocoa and the GF flour and sugar and butter across the state, so that I could bake a cake at their house.
Soon, I found out she wanted to share it with the folks that sit at their dinner table at the senior living complex. The cake was a smash with all the old folks, so now, of course, I am also known in Wisconsin for my gluten-free cake. An honor I did not seek, but which was certainly bestowed on me.
Later that night, my mom, dad, and I went to a concert. The name of the group was the Steep Canyon Rangers, an Emmy award winning bluegrass group that, though I’ve never professed to liking bluegrass music before, made a true believer out of me. They were just incredibly good. As Dad retrieved the car, Mom and I made our way oh-so-slowly to the lobby, me pushing the wheelchair she uses when she goes out on the town. By the time we got there, only a few people remained, mostly the fans who were buying posters or getting autographs from the band members who milled around. Suddenly, the bass player, Charlie, walked up to Mom. “Hi, Grandma! Can I call you Grandma?” The lead singer, Woody, ambled over and complimented her on her scarf, asking her if she enjoyed the concert. Still another asked if she would like a sticker, the kind you put on your car window, another said, “No, give her two!” My mom was stunned. I was star struck. I mean, the whole band is swarming around this mother of mine, who is really not too sure what to say other than, “Thank you, but my husband is waiting in the car for me.” And I was so slack-jawed I didn’t even think to take a picture. After gathering all their autographs, and once again hearing the band tell her how much they loved her, we indeed wheel off to find her husband waiting in the car.
So, all I do is bake a gluten-free cake, and suddenly I’m the go-to dessert gal. My mom wheels into a lobby in wheelchair, and suddenly she is the idol, and the band members are the groupies, fawning over her and asking her if she will come home with them (actually that last part I made up, but the bass player did ask if he could come home with her!)
Yup. Sometimes all we have to do is show up.
We are all that special.