It’s never too late to learn a new skill

It’s always nice when you can add something to your resume and gain some knowledge that will make you more valuable.

I learned something new this week. It’s always nice when you can add something to your resume and gain some knowledge that will make you more valuable.

Last Saturday was Community Day in Langley City and I was with the good folks from the Douglas Park Community School Society, running the concession as a fundraiser for school programs. A lot of planning goes into such an undertaking, and the roles are handed out according to skills, knowledge and abilities.

Some people are trusted with the cash, others have the ominous task of cooking the burgers and wieners and frying the onions without burning them. It is a skill in itself.

It was not lost on me and my partner that the two old guys were assigned to the cotton candy machine.

I had never run a candy floss concession before, but I had watched them at many fairs over the years and I was confident that I could do this. Prior to this day, my only true knowledge of food items like cotton candy or candy apples was that you bought them for your kids after the roller coaster ride, not before.

The instructions on the machine are pretty clear so we plug it in, pour the blue sugar crystals into the little hopper, turn on the switches, turn the heat to max and flip the on switch. We wait to see what happens, when suddenly wisps of blue floss start spinning around in the big aluminum bowl and we realize we should have had one of those cardboard cones ready.

By the time we get the package open and get one of the cones ready, the bowl is almost full of floss. I stick the cone in and nothing seems to be sticking to it. Am I not using the right wrist action? Are they faulty cones? We decide to turn it off.

We have bags designed to go over the floss once it is on the cones but, using our hygienic gloves, we pull the strands of sugar out of the bowl and stuff them in the bags. What the heck, the kids aren’t going to care.

We have six bags of blue candy floss ready for sale. Our first customer, a cute little girl, asks for pink. We try to convince her that blue is probably even better than pink, but we are not as convincing at sales as we thought.

We add pink crystals, flip the switches and adjust the nobs and here comes the pink. I still can’t figure how to get it on the cone but my partner is getting pretty good at stuffing it in the bag. We give the little girl her pink treat and as she walks away we hear her tell her mother that ‘this doesn’t look like normal cotton candy.’ Eventually, we mastered getting the floss on the cones and the last three customers got ‘normal cotton candy.’

By the end of the day we have pleased the crowd with good food, A&W root beer floats, popcorn and bags of pink and blue candy floss. My back and legs are sore from standing, my hands and arms are Smurf blue, covered with sticky strands of sugar, but the kids at Douglas Park Community School will benefit from our efforts.

Try new things, be creative, adapt, never give up, and don’t stop laughing. It keeps the mind healthy. At least that’s what McGregor says.