Rooster and I went on the love quest one February morning to discover the passion in the creative process. #Noblesville #Indiana #Love #IKEA #Soho Cafe #Choo Choo Magoo’s #Nickle Plate Arts
The Love Quest
Rooster and I have a terrible case of cabin fever. For the past month, it seems like central Indiana has experienced one snowstorm after the other. The temperatures have been below zero on several days. It feels like we’re trapped in the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. The cycle of snow and cold goes on in an endless stream of monotony without any end in sight because you know the rodent is going to see his shadow. We decided to throw caution to the wind and plan an adventure. February is the love month due to Valentine’s Day.
We searched for an activity that held an element of romance. In the city of Noblesville, there is a gallery called Nickle Plate Arts. They advertised an event called ‘In the Name of Love.” It was to be an exhibition exploring the emotional aspects of love from romantic to friendship. We decided this might be the exciting adventure we needed to cure our winter blues.
Breakfast at Choo Choo Magoo’s
Rooster’s stomach was growling. The man needed fuel right away, so we ate breakfast at Choo Choo Magoo ’s. The restaurant is owned by Dave and Melissa Trine. Rooster and I had relished many excellent meals between the walls of this place even before it was Choo Choo Magoo’s. The restaurant specializes in food with a down-home taste. Melissa bakes her cakes and pies with love you can taste in the combination of flour, sugar, and chocolate used to create these delicacies.
The Trine’s bought the eating establishment after Dave retired from the Kokomo Police Department. His grandchild came up with the name, and the family was off and running with the idea for this restaurant. The eatery is indeed a family affair. It’s not uncommon to see the Trine children and grandchildren waiting tables or tending the grill. The décor is a collection of Kokomo memorabilia highlighting the cities industrial heritage. Classic pop and Motown music softly plays in the background. Dave is famous for walking the floor of the restaurant and engaging the customers in conversation.
What we selected to eat.
We both chose the Mexican Omelet for our meal at Magoo’s that morning. The taco meat and jalapeno peppers were the perfect ingredients to complement the eggs they were folded into. Rooster claimed it had the right amount of spice to let him know he had something in his mouth. Dave stopped by our table to ask if we liked the meal. I managed to convince him to pose for a picture. He smiled for the camera even though he didn’t like the idea. If you happen to drive through Kokomo, Indiana make a quick trip off the highway and head for Choo Choo Magoo’s. They are located at 816 E. Markland Avenue. You won’t be disappointed with the meal. A stop at Magoo’s is an excellent way to start any Love Quest. Tell them The Hen House Lady sent you.
Lost on our search for love.
J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” I hate to admit it, but rooster and I got misplaced. We followed the GPS directions past a dead-end sign and drove down a narrow snow-covered country road. Drivind past the collection of pink porta pots and discarded propane tanks as a result determining we were lost near the city of Noblesville’s landfill. Turns out Rooster put the wrong address into the GPS. Our little detour proved to be a simple irritating bump in the road on our way to look at works of art dedicated to love.
The Gallery at Nickle Plate Arts
Nickel Plate Arts is a collection of galleries where the local artists in the Noblesville area have gathered in a sort of collective to support one another. The two houses where the gallery and studios exist were purchased with a grant. They are now attempting to make the project self-supporting. Studios occupy the upper floors of both buildings. A gift shop and gallery can be found on the bottom levels. Rooster and I sauntered into the Stephenson House gallery. We were impressed by the works of art dedicated to love displayed there.
Rooster was inspired by the window metal art he found in the gift shop. Pieces of wire were twisted into various shapes decked out with glass beads sparkling in the early afternoon sun. He was so motivated he plans to try his hand at making similar pieces himself. I was attracted to the jewelry. There was a necklace I would have liked to add to my collection, but I resisted the urge. The gallery had live music and a wine tasting on Friday night. We missed out on the good stuff by coming a day late.
Who is J. Rodney Revel?
When we were ready to move to the second building, one of the artists in residence stopped his work and offered to show us around. His studio was on the first floor of the second house. I found myself standing in a room surrounded by fabulous paintings done by his talented hands. With every brushstroke, you can see the love this artist transferred to the canvas.
J. Rodney Revel told us his story. He studied art in Oakland California back in his hippie days. Rodney came home to work as a Noblesville firefighter until retirement. He’s now pursuing his passion for painting.
There is a segment of the aging baby boomer generation who are not going to be content to go peacefully into the good night. They are going to go out like fireworks on the fourth of July. Sitting on the couch in front of the TV isn’t an option for them. They are going to make art, write stories, go on adventures, and dream dreams until they close their eyes for the last time. The love quest we discovered in Noblesville. centered around the dance these artists performed with the creative process.
If you want to have a look at what Rodney and the other artists at Nickle Plate Arts are creating swing by 107 S 8th Street Noblesville, Indiana.
What we found at Soho Cafe & Gallery.
Our next stop was Soho Café & Gallery in Carmel. The coffee shop seems out of place situated at the back of a strip mall where you have to navigate a parking lot littered with potholes to reach.
A visit to the café is worth taking the trouble to find. I suggest you plug the address into your GPS to avoid confusion. The location is 620 S. Range Line Road Carmel, Indiana. After you walk through the door, you need to follow a narrow hallway to where the coffee is located.
They have all the drinks you’d find in a typical coffee shop, plus something they called a snowball. I found it to be a very nice blend of coffee and white chocolate. Rooster had a cinnamon chai tea. He thought it was a little heavy on the cinnamon, but he enjoyed it anyway. I was sufficiently caffeinated during this portion of the Love Quest. My fingers moved over the keyboard that wet February afternoon at a quick pace.
The best feature at Soho is the large community room. It is a space where people congregate to engage in softly whispered conversation, school studies, game playing, and creating the written word.
Rooster and I set up laptop computers next to one another on a small table in the middle of the room. We enjoyed the couple hours we spent close to one another working on our separate projects. I enjoyed our time together at Soho. It occurred to me I didn’t have to look any further for romance. The love of my life was sitting right beside me typing away on his laptop. We’ve been sharing our adventures with one another for 45 years, and he still looks at me with lust in his eye on occasion.
Quest for Swedish meatballs at IKEA.
The last stop on our adventure was a trip to IKEA for a plate of their Swedish meatballs. It was an afterthought to our love-themed adventure. Rooster suggested we could turn the journey through the store into a game. A scavenger hunt through the maze of merchandise which consists of all things IKEA can be a rugged expedition. Big game hunting or an excursion to the South Pole pale in comparison.
I threw caution to the wind and followed Rooster through two large metal doors. We encountered a mind-blowing merchandise experience during this portion of the Love Quest. Anyhow, the IKEA building contained so many products it’s hard for the eye to deliver the image to the brain. We glided past rugs, plants, bedding, towels, furniture, and dishes in every shape, color, and style. I found myself hopelessly lost in a world of household goods despite following the signs hanging from the ceiling, but Rooster had confidence we’d reach our goal.
My fearless leader ushered me into the midst of the chaos like he knew where he was going. He was successful in steering us past the temptation to pick up something to purchase on our way out of the maze. I believe he managed this by moving fast. The end of the journey was worth enduring the challenge. You would understand what I’m talking about if you ever had a plate of IKEA’s meatballs.
Overall. We had an excellent adventure. As a matter of fact, we met some fantastic people, enjoyed some good food, and eliminated our cabin fever. We plan to keep up with the events at Nickle Plate Arts. Who knows, we might go back again in the spring when they have their Fairyville event. The temperatures outside are starting to climb. The mountain of snow is melting. We heard rumors the groundhog didn’t see his shadow. And spring is around the corner with the possibility of romance. The Love Quest never ends, making life an excellent adventure.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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