For the last several years I’ve had a dream that someday I would live in a place where I could walk to the grocery store, a restaurant, or out for a coffee. And now I can walk to any of the three, and it lifts my spirits, every time. Most nights, after Damon is done working, some random grouping of us head on up the P-patch hill, in search of Spider the cat, fresh air, and more-often-than-not, ice cream.
One recent Friday night we set out to buy a pint or two of Snoqualmie’s Cascade Mountain Blackberry – the best ice cream in the world – and were surprised by how many other walkers were out, too. As we neared the top of Phinney Ridge we heard music, smelled bb-q, saw kids running past with impish faces painted like lions and tigers and bears, Oh My!
Turns out it was ‘Summer Streets’ night in Phinney, which meant that the main thoroughfare was closed to all road traffic. Only walkers allowed. My dream come true….truly!
We joined the throngs walking up and down the street, checked out artists selling their wares, jugglers breathing fire, local chorale groups singing their hearts out, even a kilt-wearing group of bagpipe players. A truck parked on the side of the road offered free ice cream cones to all the kids while grown ups sat in cafe chairs outside the local restaurants, sipping wine and coffee.
But it wasn’t until we came to a store called ‘Tasty’ that we really discovered a treat. A nude woman lay prone in the store window, while a chef/artist/man placed freshly sliced fruits and vegetables all over her body. Her hand, covered in the thinnest slices of radishes, was transformed into a mermaid’s tail. Her body morphed into something fish-like, with rainbow-colored scales of orange slices, strawberries, cucumbers, and more weaving up her backside. It was an alluring sight, and a heavenly smell greeted us when we stepped inside Tasty to watch the artist close-up.
As we stood there, gawking, in awed silence, a small girl walked right up to the nude woman and said, “Why are you doing that?” Her voice had a tone of childish awe and disgust, and a hint of reprimand, too, at this nude woman sprawled out in the store window, allowing some man to cover her with fruit.
The naked-fruit woman (I really want to call her Eve) turned her head and said to the girl, “Because together we’re making art. We’re taking something ordinary and turning it into something wonderful, and new, and unimagined, until now!”
The little girl said nothing in reply to this, just turned around and ran back to her mother, while the chef stopped, knife aloft, and said with a big smile, “And look how many people are here, watching us now!”
Tasty was a bit overwhelming for my girls, too, and they were tired and wanted to go home. But I could have sat there all night watching ‘Eve Clothed In Fruit’ evolve. I would have volunteered for the next go-around as well, if a pudgy, pasty housewife could be turned into something divine. But I couldn’t think what that would be, and nobody asked me to strip down and give it a go, so we walked back down the hill towards home.
In the twinkling darkness my girls chattered amongst themselves, while I, still thinking of Eve, merely eves-dropped:
Girl 1: “Phinney is a weird name.”
Girl 2: “And a weird place.”
Girl 3: “But Mom likes it. This town has all the things she loves: naked people, expensive ice cream, and everyone walking everywhere.”
Girl 1: “Yeah! It does! We should rename this place ‘Kristine-Town’.”
Girl 2: “Or Weird Town”
Girl 1: “Tasty Town sounds better.”
Girl 3: “Yeah, but that just makes me think of that naked lady covered in fruit, and I don’t like that.”
Girl 2: “Hey, I know why they call this place Phinney. Because they made that lady’s hand look like a fin, remember?”
Girl 3: “Right. And they made her look like she had scales all over her, like a fish.”
Girl 1: “Boy, they sure must like fish here! Hey, Mom, do you like fish?”