The Quest for the Juicy Chicken

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

At some point in my cross-country trip, somewhere in the prairies, I looked forward to that moment when all of that flatter-than-flat terrain would suddenly just crash into the Rocky Mountains.  The wide-open, golden sprawl would plow into the jagged, snow-capped peaks.  After that, the rugged, tectonic argument that, today, still holds its glacial grudge would cascade; slip-sliding into the sea.  As if land and ocean had collided into a cymbal solo of crash and panache.  If the prairies are a country song, then the west coast is classic rock ballad….circa 1989.  Dramatic and loud, with spittle flying and angsty tears flowing.  Made only infinitely better with aerosol hair-spray, feathered bangs and black eyeliner.

Everything is big here.  Like Mother Nature decided to bend over and have a few steroid shots pumped into her plump, rocky bottom.  Nature that can only be described as awe-full.  Grandiose.  Powerful bodies of water, nestled, funneled, and chiseling their own paths through the bosom of stoic, patient mountains; all somehow flowing back to its source.

I skipped over observation while driving through the Rocky Mountains, however, because my knuckles where as white as the snow-capped crowns; anticipating a snowstorm around the bend, keeping my eyes faced-forward, and my foot on the gas pedal.

But bald eagles were soaring in anticipation of my arrival to “the other side” and as I started to relax, I found myself suddenly in Vancouver, British Colombia.

Perhaps it was a blessing-in-disguise (as most hiccups are) that my van was in the shop for the weekend, because it gave me the chance to walk, and walk…..and walk the streets of Vancouver. I was flooded with half-remembered memoires.  Overcome with vague sensations of nostalgia.  Like, somehow this is familiar.

What I’d forgotten is that I have history imbedded into this landscape.

And not distinct memories, per se, but vague sensations of recognition.  My family used to come here for weekend getaways.  I fell in love here.  I remember being in a movie when the Canucks played game seven in the Stanley Cup finals in 1994.  The streets were dead when we went in.  People were hanging off the lampposts when we came out.

I wanted to walk past the apartment where I’d stayed with an ex-boyfriend over 12 years ago, just to stroll that Memory Lane.  I remembered the cross streets but the only distinguishing feature I could recall was a take-out place called the Juicy Chicken on the corner.   After many hours of walking, I was at the corner of Main and E 11th Ave, and the Juicy Chicken was nowhere in sight.  The corner was completely unfamiliar, and when I’d looked up, the Juicy Chicken was now some garish place called the Rumpus Room.  Complete with lava lamps and table-top Pac-Man, it seemed an unrepentant shrine to the design excesses of the 1970’s.  DJ killed the radio star.

The thing is, lots of things change.  Fried chicken joints may turn into the Brady Bunch’s rec-room.  But there is something comforting about having that sense of familiar which means a lot to me.

I’ve been a person who has spent a considerable amount of time trying to define the meaning of home, seeking her roots and trying to discover how and where she fits into this whole crazy clockwork called life.  But all of that grandiose nature, that gulpable, gorgeous fresh air jolted my half-infused memories and reminded me that this is where I come from; I’ve flowed back to the source.  And perhaps my roots have been growing all along.

Besides, have you seen the size of the trees here??

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog


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