Last night I gave Chris a few options for dinner: Vietnamese (there’s a pho place downtown ‘Bula), sushi (there’s a new Japanese place on the way to downtown ‘Bula), or pizza. She said her usual, “You decide.” But I pressed the issue and she caved by saying, “chicken tortellini soup,” which meant the pizza place. It also meant I could have craft beer (I went with Smuttynose’s Big A IPA) and delicious pizza with out driving to Vero or Bar Cento.
Purola Bros Pizza, also known as Bridge Street Pizza, was hopping last night. There were only a couple of open tables–great to see so many people out. Courtney, whom we met on our first visit, took care of us, bringing Chris a hot tea immediately and informing me, sadly, that they were out of the Ba Ba Black Lager. It was only our third visit to the place, but she exclaimed that we’d now been there “like 75 times!” Very sweet and kind and happy–she is sunshine embodied.
The food was great, and we have a weekend of lunch leftovers ahead of us. We also learned a lot more about downtown. We learned that the Briquettes barbecue and craft beer haven used to be in a smaller place across the street. We learned that the are plans for an artisanal bakery. We learned that the ‘Bula Farmers Market is held right in the parking lot at Bridge Street Pizza. We learned that a couple who moved from NYC, who are classically trained French chefs, are opening a place right across from the pizza place this summer. We learned about all of the motorcycles that will be cruising around in the summer, going to Geneva on the Lake and all of the wineries (Courtney advised we buy earplugs). We learned about Jake, the young man who founded Harbor Perk, the coffee roaster downtown. Courtney told us he was a true driving force behind the rebirth of downtown Ashtabula, that he motivated others, that he was upbeat and engaging, that he was kind and caring. We also learned that he, at 36, died of brain cancer, a tragic end of a life too short. You can sense the unstated but real commitment of those who knew him to assure his dreams for his chosen region in life are carried on even after his death.
We also learned about the Happiness Store. This is Courtney’s name for Mariann’s Chocolates. She said she keeps a small stash of cash for when she is having a bad day, and she dips into the spare change and dashes across the street for a slice of the homemade fudge with caramel and sea salt on top. As Courtney said to us, “how have we not been there yet?” We will rectify that mistake soon. Like today.
I’ll be heading downtown for a haircut. My hope that haircuts out here would be cheaper than in Cleveland have been dashed–still $20. But hopefully they don’t butcher my crop and have plenty of info to dish on about the area. I mean, there are few better sources of info than a hair stylist, right? Except for Courtney. She’s a gold mine.
The rest of the weekend will be filled with chores and naps and appreciation for the lives we have, the little things and the big things and the people and places and pups. You need to take time, at least I do, every day to appreciate it all. You never know when it will be your last time to do so.
But back to the chores and thoughts of the Happiness Store. We have another workbench to build for Chris, I have an epically shedding sled dog that I have to rake, we might put in a storm door or two while it’s in the 40s, and I have a dratted plumbing problem to figure out that will certainly drive me to, well, drive to get a slab of fudge with caramel and sea salt and embedded smiles. (I installed a Utilatub for Chris to use for her etching, and the water comes out of the faucet just like it should. It’s the draining part that’s not cooperating right now. I must be missing something somewhere…)