Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Squirrel Cafe and Walter Mitty

This whole Sprout is allergic to peanuts thing has me bummed. I don't mean to be heartless - I love my child and will do whatever I need to do to keep him safe. At the same time, it's going to take some adjustments in lifestyle. And maybe in daydreams.

We all have a secret life, I suspect. We all have moments when we imagine our lives to be completely different, or moments when we plan for the future, no matter how unlikely the plan. My Walter Mitty moments come when I think about the Squirrel Cafe.

I have this daydream that someday I'm going to open a coffee shop in Saskatoon called The Squirrel Cafe. Like 'Library Squirrel' itself, there will be an amalgum of squirrel and library elements. This is all not likely to happen any time soon, since we have no venture capital just lying around our little hyper-renovated house. But it makes me happy to think about.

At the Squirrel Cafe, only the best cookies and cakes will be served (hence the 9 years of cookie recipe research). Every coffee or tea will come with a free cookie of your choice. Cookies may contain nuts, of course, since it IS the Squirrel Cafe. Select newspapers from around the world will be on wooden library rods, with which patrons might while away the afternoon. A selection of reference books will be on hand, to settle the occasional literary or political argument. Salons will be held regularly at the Squirrel Cafe, where the rodentia intelligentsia might gather to discuss events of the day. Sun will flood in through the windows in the mornings, and low romantic lighting will make the place cozy at night during the long, cold winters. The music (Squirrel Nut Zippers, perhaps?) will never be so loud that people can't chat.

Sometimes the menu gets broader, depending on how fabulous Jim's latest culinary accomplishment gets. When we have an incredible breakfast, or he cooks something wonderful from the Moosewood cookbook, I dream about dineresque elements at the Squirrel. Jim in a white apron at the back, flipping pancakes and mixing up a mess of /slumgolly/ (I have no idea how to spell this Jim-word for scrambled eggs mixed with cheddar, tomatoes, and basil). A vat of homemade Cauliflower Mac and Cheese bubbling under the hotlamp. Linguine with Zucchini and Lemon, dusted with fresh ground pepper. Followed by a dark, hot, little cup of coffee and some good conversation.

When I take a mental vacation, I put on my imaginary waitressing apron and this is where I go, to The Squirrel Cafe.


Blogger liz said...

I'm beginning to think there must be some kind of "gather my tribe" instinct. (Haven't really done a lit search about it though.) I know so many people who want to have a restaurant-inn-compound kind of thing to where people can retreat.

A: Frinkenstein has some kind of inn--I think he was calling it the Ploughman's Inn--though I can't remember the details
B: I wanted to create a psychological retreat/resort ("Club Head"--but with no pervy implications please!) with therapy, yoga, massage, activities, etc.
C: ArgotNaut wanted to have a place to have kids' activities for grown-ups (I can't remember exactly what they were, but I'm picturing playing with clay or running around in the lawn in a therapeutic manner)
D: TheLimey wants to run a bookstore that is also a wine bar (although since I managed a bookstore, this sounds a quite impractical combination to me!)
E: Long-time friend wants to have some kind of settlement for friends and family that would include a place to do pottery and horses to ride, among other things...

2:31 pm  
Blogger liz said...

(Can we just put them all together and call it "Smartyville"?)

2:32 pm  
Blogger Alicia said...

my dream is to open up a coffee shop/ book shop! i guess all us literary gals have the same kinds of dreams.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Gwen said...

I've always thought that I'd be a very happy squirrel in a commune. Perhaps Smartyville is that place, chock full of cafes, bookstores, spas, etc.

3:21 pm  
Blogger argotnaut said...

Uhh . . . that would be Portland.

My idea was to have summer camp for grownups, but with all the kid activities: basteln mit popsicle sticks, canoeing, sing-alongs . . .

12:59 am  
Blogger Just Me said...

I found this post while searching for "Walter Mitty" that reference. I often imagine myself as another Walter Mitty.

10:13 am  
Blogger Just Me said...

oops...hit post too fast. I like the idea of the Squirrel Cafe. I always like little cozy places to hide away in, but unfortunately I do not think they are money makers for the owners. I have a Squirrel Cafe in my Walter Mitty life, too. The problem with combining it with the bookshop: no one buys the books...just like in Chapters...people use it like a library.

10:15 am  

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