The best cake ever is the Sunshine Cake that my Grandma made for just about every special occasion. (It is actually great-grandma’s recipe.)
That is where John and I went this past weekend. And that would be NORAD as in the North Oaken Regional Academy of Defense, and not the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
John taught a class on the intro to tempo and measure, and I attended a class on the intro to cut-and-thrust that, due to small class size (me), turned into a one-on-one class that was an introduction to movement and balance drills that can lead to some real cool German and longsword grappling, some of which was even legal to use on a rapier list.
I didn’t have most of the gear (closed helm, elbow and knee protection) to be legal on a cut-and-thrust list, and I was mostly interested in using the period longsword styles on the rapier list, so I watched some of the cut-and-thrust practice bouts (yelling “A&S” periodically as they went beyond the bounds of what were considered to be legal moves, even on a cut-and thrust list) and then traded some longsword rapier bouts with some of the other practitioners who were there.
I also attended a couple of Marshal classes, hoping that they would explain the paperwork a little better (I hate paperwork). They did.
Despite the weather the night before, the even was pretty well attended. And the weather Friday night was pretty bad.
Because NORAD was near Canton, OH, John and I drove up to Cleveland after work on Friday, to combine the event with a little bit of a visit with my folks.
The drive, which normally takes us around 4 hours, took over 6 hours. Heavy snow, damp snow, driving snow, mushy and wet roads, and a ton of salt and road crap kicked up by other cars and trucks. Lousy driving conditions that just got worse the further north we got. By the time we were closing in on Cleveland the roads were so covered with snow that the lanes only existed in theory, and we drove where ever the road had the best traction. We saw a lot of cars that had slid off of the road on the way up. Some of them were so very far off of the road and spun around that I honestly wondered how the heck the drivers of those cars had managed to get up enough speed to pull it off.
The one completely bizarre thing at NORAD was the fact that they were giving away several large boxes of avocadoes. They had more then enough of them sitting around that they could have just passed them out at the front door in lieu of site tokens. The details of the whole backstory are a little fuzzy to me, but it seems that one of the event organizers is involved in a church (or something) that will accept donations of food and stuff from truckers in return for tax write offs. So, say a crate of food gets damaged in transit… Maybe the box is all dented and ripped up, but the actual food inside is still fine. It can’t be sold anymore because of the damage to the container, but the trucking company can donate it, get a tax credit for their charity, and not take a total loss on it. That’s how about 6 boxes of avocadoes ended up at NORAD. We were all encouraged to take as much as we wanted.
Even after we gave my parents some of the bounty we took away with us, we still have more then 10 avocadoes ripening in a bowl on the counter. There will be a lot of guacamole and sushi on tap for dinners this week, that’s for sure.