Something about my day has had me thinking of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books growing up (behind Hop on Pop, of course) because it was about the imagination. The thing is, my morning was a lot like it. It started with a call to the boyfriend, “you’re probably not going to believe what I just saw on the Boulevard.”
“The Boulevard” is Southwest Boulevard- a strip of road in Downtown Kansas City that hops both sides of the state line. It starts as 19th street off Baltimore Avenue on the Missouri side and continues southwest to 39th street in Kansas, where it becomes Merriam Lane. It passes through the Crossroads (noted as our arts district), the West Side neighborhood, and Rosedale. It has origins that date back to 1872 and has been in its current incarnation since two property owners provided a link between Kansas City Avenue and Kansas City Boulevard back in 1887.
The Boulevard is home to Boulevard Beer (a Kansas City staple since 1989), The Roasterie (delicious coffee), and some of the most amazing Mexican restaurants and grocery stores (Rosedale and Westside are heavily Hispanic communities) as well as a barbeque joint or two (it is Kansas City, after all). I’ve always had a fondness for this part of town (especially being one with a love for authentic Mexican food and an unnatural love affair with horchata), but this day has been something else.
First thing this morning, I was thinking ahead to the wedding of one of my best friends and I manage to miss my exit. Yeah, I’m glad I figured it out only one exit down. But it’s okay because I had planned for it to take about 45 minutes to get to work…it only really takes me about 20-30 minutes to get here. (What a change from the rest of the week…one day I left an hour early to arrive 10 minutes late.)
Today I’m working off of Rainbow Boulevard, one of the streets that intersects with Southwest and I decided to start my day with a quick run to QuikTrip (yeah, I know, that one was a gimme). As soon as I was parked, I placed that call to the boyfriend. “You’re probably not going to believe what I just saw on the Boulevard.”
His reaction was as simple as mine, “really?!”
Lunch is always a cause for celebration. Whenever I’m around someplace with so many places to discover, I’m usually thrilled. Now, today, I had brought my lunch (a buffalo chicken wrap that was delicious from earlier in the week) and it turned out to have not kept well in the refrigerator. I had to find an alternative. Cue the questing music!
Probably the best thing about the Boulevard is the surreal world you enter. The streets are lined with colorful murals, unique buildings, and odd…decorations. For instance, I learned something new about one of my favorite producers of coffee today: The Roasterie has a plane on top of it. I promise, I’m not smoking something wacky, there’s video evidence of it!
Let me tell you, this was a more eye-boggling experience than the Weinermobile…and THAT one was crazy. Between the plane and the colors, it was as if the artwork of the place was coming alive. I felt transported to a different world altogether and my world shifted into a sense of enlightenment. It was uplifting, joyous, and thrilling.
Finally I settled on a place called “Taqueria Mexico” and popped in. It had a bit of a feel like other Mexican places closer to home…a little too laminated. Things were a little too official, not very home-y or hole-in-the-wall feeling. You know what, though? The food was good. And they had horchata. And it was the size of my head.
And, you know, driving back had a palpable sense of wonder to it, I felt as though I was traveling through a tunnel. Perhaps it was a tunnel of time or a tunnel of existence, but it felt as thought something changed in me. Perhaps something greater was speaking to me in this feeling of words and images, but I know today was an amazing day- even despite the little wrongs. After all, had I not missed my exit or had I packed a lunch worth eating I would have missed half of my day.
And to think that I saw it on Southwest Boulevard…