I crave a sweet cake of any flavor, as long as it has icing covering its taste. At times I just need icing on the cake. It's 84 degrees and humid. As I head toward Karen's Sweets, I say hello to a stranger. She stops me and asks if I'm the Saucon News history writer.I take off my hat to reveal my smooth head and say yes.

She is Maryanne and she thanks me for writing about local history, looking back. She wants my books and asks, "Will it be available locally?"

"Yes, I hope to have local book signings in October," I reply. Strangely, she is thrilled.

Karen works 16 hour days to bake her goodies in order to survive. She struggles without complaint in this econo my. Corina, my Army friend's mom, is working part-time today. We talk about Ed, who's in Germany now, on the way home from a 14 month hitch in Iraq.

Ed Blanchard is a good pal with whom I discussed the Civil War before he left Hellertown on March 14, 2007. We'd sit and talk for hours about the war and local history. I stopped one of my calendars at March 14 last year when he left. I have prayed for his safety.

When home on leave, Ed gave me a medal from U.S. Army Ft. Knox Cavalry and Armor, Kentucky. He has experienced all horrors of combat, including the death of his best Army buddy. I admire his courage. He has grown up into manhood, as did my dad during World War II. They are ultimate patriots, in my book.

Ed recently re-up'd for a longer term in the military and looks forward to marrying his Georgia sweetheart this summer. Ed still needs Hellertown's prayers. I hope there are prayer warriors who remember this.

As I devour my banana cake with thick icing, I think of Ed.

He's defending my freedom to frequent Karen's.

Lee A. Weidner is a resident of Hellertown. A former teacher, he is the author of Images of America: Hellertown and the co-author of Images of America: Lower Saucon Township. He is a lifetime member of the Hellertown Historical Society, the Lower Saucon Township Historical Society and the Saucon Valley Conservancy.

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