The idea first came to her on a gray, washed-out Friday afternoon while sipping hand-crafted cocktails with her daughter at a new distillery in the city.
The morning had been spent shopping for necessary girl items, followed by an early lunch of shareable delicacies such as: charred eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, and the best shrimp cocktail she has ever sunk her fork into.
After lunch they prowled some nearby antique shops. Neither of them needing a single thing, but always on the lookout for that unique treasure they couldn't live without.
What she had been waiting for all day though, was their visit to the distillery. Her daughter had been there a couple of times for work events, and raved about their unique, hand-crafted cocktails. Being still fairly new to the hand-crafted spirits world, she was eager to continue to expand her horizons.
The distillery is located on the city's west side, a section she had never explored before, at least not yet. She had only, in the last couple of years, mastered the east side of the city. She found there, an endless array of things to photograph and write about, including her favorite coffee shop. She had settled in there quite comfortably. But she had a feeling that was all about to change, as they drove along streets that she had always been curious about, but had only ever viewed from the highway overpass.
She easily found a parking space behind the distillery, it being only mid-afternoon, it was a little early for the after work crowd. Entering through the side glass door, she was greeted by a modern, open space, filled with warm tones in the polished wood floor, and wood tables and chairs. The warm wood contrasted beautifully with the modern black metal trim. There was an overall cozy neighborhood pub feel.
She and her daughter seated themselves at a two seat, high-top table near the large plate-glass picture windows at the front of the restaurant. She loved all the soft, diffused natural light coming in through them, it was her favorite kind of light.
Their server was soon over with the speciality drink menu, and the happy hour appetizer list. With so many choices, she defaulted to her daughter for suggestions. Finally she settled on one that sounded like her, Oliver's Ocean, maybe not the Oliver part, but definitely the Ocean part. The drink consisted of gin, fresh squeezed that morning grapefruit juice, lemon, rosemary, and a salted rim. Oh how she loves a salted rim, her tongue can flick out, capture a few granules of salt, and be back in her mouth before anyone knew it. While her daughter ordered her drink, she pondered the appetizer menu, she was afraid the eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and shrimp they had for lunch might not be enough to stand up to the hand-crafted spirits, and she had to drive home yet. So she added to their order a tempting mushroom spread.
While they waited for their drinks and appetizer, she turned her attention to the world outside the plate-glass windows. Across the street was a small, square, brick 1960's building housing a BBQ joint. At the large, front window counter sat a man and his son, each simultaneously taking a bite of their bbq sandwich, and then each wiping their mouth with a white paper napkin with their right hand. There was a story there.
Next, she noticed the older teenager sitting on a bench inside the plastic bus stop enclosure in front of the BBQ joint. He held an iPhone in his hand and had ear buds firmly planted in his ears. There was a story there.
Suddenly around the corner of the distillery building comes a hi-lo bearing an enormous plastic bin filled with a sloshing brown liquid. Her daughter spots the hi-lo as well and states that they make all their spirits for the distillery here on site. There was a story there.
The final image before she turned back to the table, and their soon to be arriving drinks, is the image that ignites the idea. A weather-worn man in a tattered, gray tweed overcoat rides past the window on his bicycle, heading the opposite way of the automobile traffic in his lane. Behind his bicycle he pulls a laundromat-style wire basket on wheels, inside the basket is the fine wire frame of a once ornate chandelier. There is a story there.
The idea finds oxygen and bursts into flame. She has grown bored and uninspired within the safe confines of the coffee shops. The experience, with only slight variations, was basically the same no matter where she went. What if instead, she sat at the lunch counter in the big front window of the BBQ joint, wiping her mouth with a white paper napkin after each bite, and recording what she saw from that side of the street. What if she sat on the bench inside the plastic bus stop enclosure and wrote about what she saw, and maybe even be brave enough to take a ride on the bus. What if she sat at this very same table by the large plate-glass window, inside the warm, wood-toned distillery and captured life as it rode by outside. There are stories here.
She makes no promises, there will be no numbered editions, only the stories, as they come to her.