Blake’s Story

We spent the weekend in and outside Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement.  It was one big party and we had a wonderful time, but I’m almost glad to be home, especially since I scheduled myself for a day off afterward.  Eleven hours in the car, either as driver or passenger, will make that necessary.  In one day I went from an hour into Ohio, across PA from one side to the other, and into New Jersey and back.  I don’t want to cross another state line again until I absolutely have to.

On Saturday morning we had some extra time so we slept in, goofed off, and then went looking for food.  Unfortunately our hotel–which was WONDERFUL, by the way–was off the beaten path, so the choices were limited to McD’s, Subway, or the gas station/CircleK.  We drove Massillon Ave for a while but didn’t see anything.  (We did find My Sister’s Yarn Shop but didn’t stop.  Idon’tneedmoreyarnIdon’tneedmoreyarnIdon’tneedmoreyarn…)  Since we also hadn’t made any coffee in the hotel room and we missed their breakfast buffet, coffee was a key priority.  Finally we passed a shopping center with a nice little place on the corner called Blake’s Cafe & Cupcakery, so we decided to give it a shot.  After all, a muffin can be quite filling.  😉 

It turns out the place is fantastic.  It’s decorated like a Starbucks with a much more homey feel.  In the middle there’s a fake fireplace, two overstuffed leather couches and a chair around a coffee table; the volume on the TV was tuned down so as not to be obtrusive but enough to keep our fleeting attention.  The cupcakes looked scrumptious.  We placed our order and they said they’d bring it out to us.  I felt comfortable.

While we waited, I read the little brochure on the table and got an instant feeling of home from this place.  I hope they don’t mind that I’m retyping it but I wanted to share:

“Blake’s Story…

In 2000, we gave birth to our beautiful son, Blake.  Almost 3 years later, he was diagnosed with autism.  He was the one in every 150 kids…the one out of every 94 boys…to have the disorder.  And although we never would’ve wished to have a child with a disability, we can truly say that we feel very blessed to have him in our lives exactly the way he is.  He has taught us how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and, most importantly, how to love absolutely unconditionally, no matter what.

If you’re a regular customer, you will undoubtedly see Blake in the cafe from time to time.  Though Blake is highly functioning, please know that he has a difficult time explaining his thoughts and may sometimes act differently or say things that are unexpected.  Please be understanding and compassionate, recognizing that these behaviors are simply a part of autism.

When we decided to open this business in 2009, we named it Blake’s Cafe & Cupcakery in honor of him, not only to draw attention and awareness to this disability which affects so many children and adults, but also with the hopes that someday he will (be) capable of running the business.  He often says that after he finishes elementary school, he’ll go to middle school, then to high school, then college, and finally, to Blake’s to work.  We pray he’s right.

He is the reason we are here for you.  Thank you for your business.”

Chalk up another day of wasted makeup.  🙂 

The food was fantastic and the coffee was heavenly!  I really REALLY wanted a cupcake but alas, by the time I’d eaten my buffalo chicken wrap and drank my coffee, I had no room left for a cupcake.  Same on Sunday when I made John take us back there.  (I was not about to leave the state without a copy of “Blake’s Story”, in a holder by the register.)

If you happen to pass through the Uniontown, Ohio area, please make a point of stopping at Blake’s.  I was disappointed I didn’t get to meet  Blake in person but it was the weekend, and he was probably doing what any 9 year old kid does on summer weekends.  I was also disappointed I didn’t get a cupcake, so get one for me while you’re there, please.  I fell madly in love with the place and I’ve already told a few friends, if I win PowerBall, I’m calling the owners, Derek & Marcie Williams, and asking about franchising opportunities.  I’m sure our Alex would love to work in a Blake’s, too. 

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