Though the expensive downtown high rises of Denver glittered a short distance away, the people who populated Muddy's Coffee House until wee hours of the morning were young and broke and punkers or hippies who thought they would never sell out their souls to corporate America. Right.
I worked in the kite shop next to Muddy's. The kites hung from the ceiling and danced when breezes drifted through the door. I drank a lot of coffee, did my homework, discussed books and love and life with people who drifted in the shop with steaming cups of coffee. I also played Scrabble with my boss, Marv. He beat me every time, but who cared as I was getting paid to play Scrabble. I was on the verge on graduating with my journalism degree, and the sky was the limit.
Now, twenty five years later, I look back at that time and wish I could revisit both Muddys and my younger self again. Don't we all have such a place or time like that where we felt as if anything was possible? I hope you do.
Muddy's is long gone, its building refurbished and now law offices. My former neighborhood in Denver is now high-priced apartments, young people who drive BMW's, and trendy, expensive restaurants, like any big city.
Across the street was a book store, Lawn Gnome Publishing. Not only do they sell lots of paperbacks, but they publish, as well. And yes it has a lot of adorable lawn gnomes on the sheleves beside the books.
We walked around the block and there were vintage clothing stores, inexpensive and run by bright and ambitious young people. Here is a picture of a garden between the sidewalk and the street, just a few blocks from Phoenix's high rise buildings. Gotta give the kids credit. In one of the backyards was a stage where they perform plays.
Sure, this wasn't Muddy's. I was in Phoenix. Not Denver. I'm not 24 anymore. Gasp Fooled ya, didn't I. Or maybe not. Still, on 8th Street I was reminded me of that time in my life when I felt as if all my goals and dreams would come true, when I was less fearful, more adventurous and rebellious. Any time I start worrying too much, forgetting my younger playful and risk-taking self, I just need to take a drive to downtown Phoenix. I age faster when I think too much about retirement plans and health insurance instead of following my heart and writing dreams.
This was in front of one of the houses across from the coffee shop. Don't ask me why. I just love that it was. This street has no Homeowners Association, that is for sure.