Friday, June 11, 2010

Feelin' Blue

Some time ago (can it be fifteen years already?!) I opened a little place in this Burg of ours called The Blue Rose Cafe. It was in a converted CA bungalow, one of the first coffee houses here in town and designed to be comfortable for all ages. We served coffee, really good black and herbal teas with herbs picked from our garden, italian sodas, grilled focaccia sandwiches, salads with my coveted herbal salad dressing, soups, desserts and beer and wine.

It had a "living room" area off the main room, board games to play, books and magazines to read and a back yard with tables where you could eat outside in good weather. We featured local bands on Friday and Saturday nights, mostly jazz and blues, and special events from time to time like Flamenco Sunday, a Belly Dancing night and a Mardi Gras party. My "kids" both worked there, as well as many of their friends.

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Well, it certainly had many of those moments. We opened it with such joy and hope. But it was ahead of its time for this town and two other similar businesses opened in that same year. The town just wasn't ready to support all of them. And that winter, three months after we opened, was very stormy and there was flooding in the center of town for the first time in some 20 years which filled the cafe's back yard and under the house with water.

I was capitalizing the business and supporting my family by myself and, after a year and a half, I had to go back to my regular day job to make more money. It just got too hard to work in the city and then come back and fill in and/or do clean up at the cafe week in and week out.

Some people came along who wanted to put a full blown restaurant in the place, so I leased it out to them. They lasted a couple of years, then passed their lease on to another home grown restaurant here in town that needed a bigger space, the Ravenous Cafe. They are still there, after 10+ years, and doing just fine.

The Blue Rose sign was made by a local craftsman, Neon Bob. I did the lettering in my handwriting and Bob copied it in fluorescent light. We hung it on the front of the building and used to turn it on at night before we even opened for business. People would walk down to that end of town just to look at its glorious blue glow.

When we closed the cafe, I had Bob build a box to hold the sign in which to mount it on the back of my house. We turn it on for special gatherings and we had one such get together this last weekend when my Son and Dear Daughter in Law got back from their two months of sabbatical wanderings on the other side of the world.

It made us feel kinda blue, in a good way.

Chloe and Lulu
Dancing in the Dark

Big Blue Kisses!


Anonymous said...

Loved visiting the resturant with Mom. The sign I remember. I see it when I am at your house. I love the color blue! Hope to be there some time this year. Will you turn the sign on for me. We can dance in the blue light.

Kathleen Scott said...

How cool! You've had many lives and I love when your past creeps into the present.

Looks like you had a great blue time. And are you going to share the 'coveted herbal salad dressing' recipe?

swallowtail said...

And I remember that Charlie Musslewhite played at your grand opening! Yeeee-ah!

It has been occurring to me of late, that we have been working really long hours over the course of our lives! And, this is not a negative, for sure. Just occurred to me.

I L-O-V-E the blue dancers in the blue!

N2 said...

Sue - You are coming down? Great news!! Let's co-ordinate before summer runs away with us, as per usual. Thanks for putting Mom in these memories.

Kathleen - Yes, we are women of many layers, are we not? Afraid my kids haven't even been able to pry that recipe out of me yet. If I give it to them, what will they depend on me for now that they are grown?

LC - Thanks for yet another Blue Rose peak memory. Me too, love what the blue light did to those dancing girls.

Love to you Ladies. x0 N2

Elizabeth said...

Great post -- and I love the blue, blue light.

Ms. Moon said...

What a wonderful story! I think every story of every person who ever opened a cafe or restaurant ended not unlike yours- too much work, not enough return.
My dear friend Liz had a cafe and she has the sign in her kitchen now- a reminder of days past and she is relieved they are past but there are good memories, too.
How nice that YOUR sign can still make good memories. And pictures.

N2 said...

Elizabeth - Good to see you here, Dear, and thanks for your compliments on the Blue.

Ms Moon - Nice to see you back in the 'hood, Dear.
Well, The Ravenous folks, now in my cafe spot, have been running their business for more than 15 years. They must have a grip on parts of it that I just didn't get or see. I wish them the best.

Hugs to you Both! x0 N2

Bethany said...

Neon Bob!
How fun to have a neon sign in your own handwriting/design. I love that you have it still, to dance by. How joyful. LOVE the name too.

The place you opened sounds incredible. I'm sorry you wern't able to keep it. Life gets in the way sometimes. Though I suppose you still running it, in/by your LIFE, with your fresh herbs and hospitality.

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