“God gives us the ingredients for our daily bread, but he expects us to do the baking.” ~ Chip Ingram
Eighty-three-year-old Frank Davis loves to bake. He’s been actively baking for more than a decade, but he started mixing up the ingredients for this passion in life many years ago.
“When my friend and I were teenagers, we were chasing the girls, and they were chasing us,” Frank chuckled. “We decided to get involved with a baking class through the local 4-H program. The girls enjoyed that … and so did we.”
Davis grew up in Plainfield. He moved from northern Indiana during the war when his dad got a job working in a defense plant, and he’s been living in the area ever since. Twice a widower, Davis took an interest in CarDon & Associates’ Cumberland Trace Trace community as it was being built in Plainfield.
“When they started building the community, I was interested to learn more about it,” he said. “There are other assisted living residences in the area, but Cumberland Trace is the only one that has all four care areas included — rehabilitation, skilled nursing, long-term care and memory care.”
Frank made the appointment to visit Cumberland Trace. He knew what he wanted and what he didn’t want.
“I could have moved into an apartment, but I didn’t really take that seriously,” he said. “With apartment living, you just don’t know who your neighbors are going to be and how rowdy or loud they are. At 83, you don’t know what’s coming. I’ve always been one to plan ahead, and they have help for you here. You are close to hospitals if necessary, and you have the skilled care option if necessary.”
With his mom and first wife having been in a nursing home, Frank also knew he didn’t want to live in a place with that “nursing home” atmosphere.
“I was at first concerned that I would lose my independence like many people who move into a senior living community, but it hasn’t been a problem for me at all here. It is one of the things I like most about being here. Plus, I was here early enough that I got to pick which apartment I wanted,” Frank said, smiling.
An assisted living resident, Davis moved into Cumberland Trace on June 16, 2015, shortly after the community opened. He chose his second-floor, four-room apartment in the northwest corner of the building, where he’s “comfortable.”
“The location is great, and I’m able to come and go as I like. I’m active in local civic groups and at church, and I feel I have independence. What more could you want?”
With four children and six grandchildren, Frank is close with his family. Many of them live in the area and come to visit often. And for his family as well as his Cumberland Trace family, he likes to put on his chef’s hat.
“My mother was a baker, and both my wives were bakers,” he said. “My wives used to bake pies for me, and I loved that. When they passed, I didn’t have anyone to bake pies for me … so I started doing it myself.”
Mixing up the batter. Adding the right ingredients. Frank’s passion for baking could be tasted in his treats.
“If you can read and count, you can bake,” he said. So what happens if he makes a mistake? “You learn by making mistakes.”
A life lesson and a baking lesson rolled into one.
His favorite treats to make are apple and pumpkin pie along with carrot cake, his grandson’s choice.
“I go out and do my own grocery shopping. I put the ingredients together up in my apartment, and then I bring it down to bake,” he said. “I bake for special occasions at the church or for dinners I have with friends and family in the private dining room.”
Frank also makes special appearances at the baking club hosted at Cumberland Trace.
“It’s mainly for the ladies, but I do the baking for the club every once in a while. It’s a little bit of pressure working in front of these gals who are all good bakers. I don’t want to mess up or forget an ingredient,” he laughed.
What does he think about being the only guy in the baking club?
“I love it,” he said with a smile.
“Baking is like any craft you do,” he said. “There is satisfaction in taking the raw ingredients and making something out of it.” And of course there’s the satisfaction of eating a delicious dessert when it’s done.
It’s a dessert he can share with others at Cumberland Trace, encouraging other seniors to gather together and take part in social activities.
“I like to try to get people together here,” Davis said. “There is afternoon or evening entertainment at least once a week and all kinds of shopping trips. You have the freedom to take part in the activities or not, to choose how much you want to be involved; but there are always things to do here.”
And as Frank turns to his pie that looks like it came straight out of Bon Appétit Magazine, we know Frank will continue to whip up happiness with his sweet treats.