• Image1a
  • Image2a
  • Image3a

Week 2: Richmond Fire Station No. 19

Dear Batter Up readers, meet (l to r) Charlie, Jerry, Raymond, and Otis. These guys are Richmond fire fighters at station number 19 on Maple Ave. When I first walked into the station (with my friend Jenny at my side this time) I met Raymond and Otis. I explained who I was and what I was doing and, as expected, they seemed pretty surprised and confused. Each of them jetted off to different rooms within the fire house and came out with two more men—Jerry and Charlie. I explained again what I was doing and, upon asking for a picture, Jenny made all of them put on their “You’ve been Battered” buttons. (Raymond, thanks for being a sport and donning the hot pink one.) All in all we were only there for just a few minutes, but as big as that cake was #ohmygawdthatthingwashuge I hope they, and the other fire fighters at station 19, will spend lots of time together eating cake and sharing stories.

Number 19 is a tough number to swallow right now. It’s was less than two weeks ago that 19 firemen died fighting a forest fire in Arizona. I knew from the very beginning of this project that a fire department would be on my delivery list at some point. So today, this cake delivery is in their honor as a thank you for everything they sacrificed. It was actually my brother, a volunteer fire-fighter himself, who put two and two together for me and made the suggestion that I go to station 19. I have a special place in my heart for firefighters. I don’t know too many that are professional, but I grew up around a small, rural volunteer fire department in White Stone, VA. Everyone in my family has been active with that department in some capacity or another. I grew up going to their events, climbing all over the trucks, and hanging out in the clubroom playing pool and watching TV. To this day I remember that the sink in the girls bathroom next to the kitchen was the best water-balloon-filling-sink I’ve ever come across. One of my favorite events was the country fair. It took over the town with games, food, craft show, baby contests and a parade—followed by a pretty kickin’ dance with live music and, yes, you guessed it—a beer truck. And what country fair would be complete without a bake sale? My mother’s pound cakes were always the first to go. In fact, I’m pretty sure some of them never even made it to the sale at all and were delivered directly to the people who pre-ordered them. Alas, the apple fell pretty far from the tree on that one.

But, I digress. This project is about connecting with people and sharing stories. I connected with these firemen who do an extremely important job that most of us could not do ourselves. Doing so has not only brought back memories that I now share with you, but created a story for them to share with their friends and family. I got an email today from an old friend who loves what I’m doing and is inspired to continue the movement where she lives. I look at the likes I’ve received for photos on my Facebook page and see names for people whom I know I’ve never met. These little homemade cakes are bringing lots of people together—very cool stuff.

As for the cake I delivered today, well, it was yet another lesson in FOLLOW THE DAMN RECIPE! I have my very first table-top garden this year and one of the things I’m growing is fresh mint. I had some people over a few weeks ago and found a recipe for fresh mint chocolate chips cookies so I made them for my little party. They were pretty awesome, so I decided that fresh mint icing must be awesome too. *Pause for laughter.*

After trying to blend the mint into the powdered sugar for way too long to admit, against my better judgement (and to prevent yet another trip to the store for “start-over” ingredients) I used it. The flavor was great. But, when my brother came home tonight and I told him to taste the leftover icing, his perplexed facial expression confirmed what I had feared. I had topped my cake with chocolate salad. Those poor men. Charlie, Jerry, Raymond, and Otis, if you’re reading, just remember that it’s the thought that counts, right?