Do you have imagination?

Veggies: Such deliciousness lately ... from a bean, tofu and veggie burrito at Allyn's to a homemade Jamaican meal.
Wine: Not so much -- my drink of choice lately has been Christian Moerlein OTR

Last year as I was pulling weeds from my front yard flower bed, one of the girls in my neighborhood came over to ask if I had imagination. I was caught off-guard--usually the kids ask me if I have candy, or a daughter, or an extra pair of gloves so they can help me weed--and my auto-response was to scrunch up my face and ask her "Do I have WHAT?"

"Do you have imagination?" she asked a little impatiently, as if this were a common inquiry. Well, of course, I said with a smile, now that I fully appreciated her unexpected question. She went on to talk about what she imagined was happening in the sky when she heard thunder. As she walked off to play with the other neighborhood kids, I admired her fearlessness to imagine out loud and wished I did the same more often.

I like to think of myself as a daydreamer, but I probably need to cultivate that skill a little more ... sometimes I hang out in reality a little too often. Regardless, when I'm relaxing in my favorite chair at home or talking a walk or run in the neighborhood, I enjoy indulging in my dreams du jour. They run from the somewhat practical, such as building an outdoor meditation/yoga/ lounge space in my backyard, to the completely outlandish, such as giving up all of my possessions, moving DP and Rusty to the beach, and becoming a surfer girl.

My latest daydream is probably more on the outlandish end of the continuum. As DP and I were driving past Will's Pony Keg on Plainville Ave., about half a mile from our house, I noticed a for sale sign hanging on its white siding. Maybe it was because I'd spent the afternoon experimenting with Jamaican recipes and admiring the cookbook's pictures of roadside restaurant shacks, or maybe because I was fried after four orientation sessions last week, but what I said next made perfect sense: "THAT'S what we should do -- buy the stand and turn it into a street restaurant!" I immediately began imagining myself going to a farmer's market every morning, buying whatever's fresh, effortlessly but thoughtfully whipping up some simple dishes, and chatting with the chowhounds as they enjoyed my latest creations. No set menu, no pretense -- just simple, delicious food.

Owning a small restaurant or B&B has been a dream of mine for the past few years. (In fact, when DP and I returned from our European adventure 11 years ago, I seriously contemplated going to culinary school rather than getting my master's degree in college student personnel.) Despite this strong interest, I've never worked one minute in a restaurant kitchen. I've not even spent a summer waiting tables. So the restaurant/food business remains entirely romanticized in my mind. And, for now, I'm happy to keep that illusion.

I stopped by Will's tonight to snap a few shots, and as I continued my walk through Madisonville and Mariemont, I thought about what kind of bar stools I'd buy for the sidewalk counter, what kind of people might stop by to eat, and what I might make each day. I was entertained with thoughts of summer evenings at the to-be-named stand, serving curried sweet potato stew with mustard greens and tomato sandwiches with quick-fried cabbage.

Yep, I've got imagination. Do you?


  1. Jen, I love this post! What a great question - kids really say the darndest things! Hey if you do buy that shack and start a sidewalk restaurant I'd definitely go there!

  2. OMG I love this fearless little gal for asking such a delight-full question and I love you for sharing your dreams!

    Inspiring me to sit, ponder, and dream up a few new dreams. :)

    PS - I'm in with Mia....I'd be there in a heartbeat.


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