And now for a confession – this is one of my favorite places to walk to…
Please don’t judge! Let’s just say, we all have those days when it’s hard to get going. When the dreaded barriers to exercise pop up, I have no choice but to bring out the big guns of motivation! I decide to take a three mile walk with a reward at the end! Not something I’m proud of, not something I use often, but when necessary, I find it works like a Harry Potter charm. Out the door, I hustle my bustle through the alleys and backroads of my urban chi-town hood and make a beeline into the downtown of my closest suburban neighbor – Park Ridge. Salivating like one of my saints waiting for dinner, I set my eyes on the big, chubby sun bleached, buddha of a brown bear sitting outside the door of my favorite destination. For a moment, I am in Colorado!
Let me start by saying “I always found it hard to believe there was a chocolate factory within walking distance of my house.” How did I get so lucky to have the one place I always stop at when I am out west, franchised in the next town? It was there one day – just sort of popped up. Magically full of chocolate, and hand made confections. With a great big copper barrel in the window and enormous slabs of marble behind the counter, a person could watch the stuff being made and swirled and cooled.
On most days of the week, Rocky Mountain Chocolate has samples, and you know what I think of samples – travel brochures for my feet with a welcome terminus for my taste buds!
My all time favorite – the broken bits of tiger butter bars heaped upon a little plate, sitting on the counter. These golden fragments taste exactly like my late grandmother’s homemade peanut butter fudge. Free sample? Don’t mind if I do….mmm-mmm-mmm. I am transported away – a little kid, sitting at Mamo’s kitchen table, waiting and watching patiently as she opens up the tin she keeps high on top of her refrigerator. The moment that tin opens… the peanut buttery sweetness wafts out and into my nose for the most delicious scent ever. I am in heaven and I haven’t even tasted the soft little square of blonde, silky fudge yet.
Back to reality and, I definitely need to bring some of this stuff home!
Occasionally, there are times when I want to bring some dessert into the house, a once in awhile treat to share with my better half. My first choice…a couple of super fresh peanut caramel apples. They make these gooey orbs of goodness in the shop while you watch. There’s nothing better at the end of a long, hard day than sitting down after dinner, watching a really good movie with a pseudo healthy treat – apples and peanuts right? Oh yeah, almost forgot the caramel, well something has to glue it all together!
That’s the thing about Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, it always makes me feel like I am on vacation – in my own neighborhood, and in my own house! A little shop of happiness!
Imagine my surprise last week when I drove past the shop and saw this…
What!! No, please say it isn’t so! Liquidation?!! Everything must go?!! Where’s the chubby bear? Oh darn, my neighborhood vacation, my path down memory lane, my little shop of happiness is leaving the neighborhood. Was I not grateful enough? Did I take advantage of the free samples too many times? Emotionally overcome with shock and disappointment, I finally get a grip and realize… if this is my worst problem today, I’m in pretty good shape.
After all, how lucky was I to have a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory practically in my back yard, even for a little while? As magically as it appeared, it is now going away! Isn’t that just the way life always happens?
As I sit here typing I find myself drifting off to gaze at my picture with soft sentiment and delicious memories… Hey! Wait a minute…do you see it? There, in the letters! Let me zoom in….