What I Want the Most




I am poised to eat rattlesnake.


It is part of my birthday celebration and on the menu at an historic eating and drinking emporium in Denver.  We are sitting at a table where Frankie Avalon ate last night.  On the wall next to us is memorabilia from the legendary Wild West Show, including, to the right of my spoon, what claims to be the last receipt signed by Buffalo Bill. 


I see not a vacant inch on the walls of this nooked and crannied place.  It is  swathed in a great menagerie of antiquated oddities—buffalo, deer, antelope, mountain lions, moose, birds.  And hundreds of photographs and clippings in partial credit to the famous who have dined here since 1893:  Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Sitting Bull’s nephew, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Charlton Heston.  Hung above the wine rack and next to a bear is a whale’s penis, sent to the restaurant’s owner by an appreciative diner from Antiques Roadshow.  An organ out of water, it is the lone depiction of far-away aquatic life in this hall of mountain taxidermy.  


Japanese seeps in from across the room.  The two men speaking it are carving their buffalo steaks with gusto, as do the table of roustabouts to their left.  The table next to us looks to be a first date.  A family of six sits in the large round table and an older couple speaking German are next to them.  We are a cultural smorgasbord in the parlor of a Wild West time capsule.  All dining happily, undeterred by the light rail train that runs a stone’s throw from the front porch or the washed-up housing units that touch the parking lot.


I bolster myself with another sip and ponder this:   Is it coincidence that I am surrounded by relics of vanished time and a changed place as I celebrate yet another birthday?  


I think not. 


Another year as fast as that. 


Oh, the things I still want to do.  Live in Europe for a while, see New Zealand, hike to the top of Mt. Bierstadt, make an excellent Crème Brulee, see Lake Louise, eat at the French Laundry for a second time, swim competitively in my 60s. 


That’s not near the whole list.  There’s things I want to do that I won’t even speak aloud.  Some are a tad intimidating, some seem better suited to the younger, some are downright daunting.  That part of my list usually hides behind the easier and more safe options I like to consider.  But now and again, usually when I am unprepared and least expect it, a scheme uncoils and slithers across my path and hisses and buzzes and snatches my attention. 


But is there still time?


I sip my wine again, look around the cluttered room and take a bite of rattlesnake.  It’s just a small bite, but it’s a full nibble of courage washed down with a sip of bravery gone wild. 


Surprisingly , it is mostly bland.  Tame really, as it should be without rattles and venom.    


What better way to turn another year older than to dig right in?


“How did it get late so soon?”

—–Dr. Seuss



(It has been suggested to me that I often take nice and ordinary subjects and twist them into complicated and convoluted philosophical works of post length, but this is not necessarily true.  I also tend to work every day photographs into convoluted philosophical works in post length.  As you see, this particular post has a bit of both :-))

77 thoughts on “What I Want the Most

  1. A belated happy birthday wish—again this year, Stacia. When did December get here? Seems more like October around here. My seasonal clock is at fault here 🙂

    • I usually don’t solicit birthday wishes but eating the rattlesnake seemed worthy of a post. Cheers to you and yours this holiday season, wannabemeagain. Those little ones are sure cute!

  2. Happy birthday to you, Winsomebella. I know nothing of all of this. It is as strange and alien to me as is imaginable… but if you enjoy it, I’m all for it. And I can assure you, as an outsider looking in… that you have nothing to worry about signs of aging. I see your pleasure as somewhat romantic, and the love of a good story… and history too… and that has nothing to do with aging. If we’re good at something, we can get still better with aging. Here’s to better and better experiences.

    • ShimonZ, I can understand how puzzling this post might be because it was a bit tongue-in-cheek as well as a bit off-the-crowded-wall. Thank you for your kind words. I confess, I am a romantic at heart and that sometimes gets me into trouble. But better and better is what I hope for each day 🙂

  3. One of the best thing about aging…..we act upon our thoughts and desires rather than just dreaming about them…….Happy Birthday!

  4. I hope you had a wonderful birthday! The setting may have been steeped in history, but it is also part of the now and the to be—just as we all are. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to try rattlesnake—after all, I survived a fried grasshopper. 🙂

  5. Great post. I have had rattleshake before but it wasn’t bland, I guess it depends on the cook. I know that all your hopes and dreams will come true–Happy Birthday. -Max-

  6. I want to spend my birthday underneath a whale penis. But if you want to live in Europe for a while, get going on the language lessons. Unless of course you want more stories!

    Happy Birthday, Bella!

  7. Nooked and crannied indeed Stacia. We all love what you do with your posts – always interesting. Now why has nobody ever offered me grilled rattlesnake? Hurry down to New Zealand we don’t have snakes but we can offer all sorts of other delicacies.

  8. Your birthday was definitely filled with extraordinary moments. Downing rattlesnake was surely a great start to attacking your “bucket list.” Go for it Bella! And Happy Birthday.

  9. Happy Birthday, dear. “it’s a full nibble of courage washed down with a sip of bravery gone wild
    This is brilliant. You’re brave with a dash of crazy for trying a bite!

  10. “Another year as fast as that.”

    You said it. I hope your birthday was wonderful, and that the new year will find you picking still more items off that list — and adding a few, too.

    I wonder if Teddy Roosevelt ate rattlesnake. I bet Frankie Avalon didn’t.

  11. Most excellent celebratory evening! I’m forwarding this to my son who lives in Castle Rock. I’d love to get his take on those “old-timey” surroundings. Salute and happy birthday!

  12. Excellent writing job. You put me there! Also, love the subtle way you inserted “whale penis.” No big deal. Just, here it is. Well done. (I would have made a couple of bad puns and, in fact, I have.) HF

  13. Happy Birthday to you. Rattlesnake eh. I regard myself as a brave and fearlless eater who will sacrifice almost anything on the alter of gluttony but Rattlesnake. Still, if you and Frank can eat it. Who am I to argue

  14. I love that quote – Dr. Seuss is my favorite philosopher. I think that same thing a lot lately, but without your rattlesnake-trying courage, urging you to defy those years. Good for you! And the courage reminder is good for me.

  15. “I sip my wine again, look around the cluttered room and take a bite of rattlesnake. It’s just a small bite, but it’s a full nibble of courage washed down with a sip of bravery gone wild.”
    Your writing is absolutely beautiful. I could envision the restaurant. And swim in your emotions. Lovely! Just lovely. 🙂

  16. I hope you are able to do many if not all of the things on your list, Stacia. And, when you travel overseas, I hope you will take us along with you, or share the stories when you return.
    I am thrilled to have my project done. I’ve missed visiting your place. Happy birthday – and happy new year!

    • Your project was wonderful to view but I can imagine how delighted you must feel to have it completed. My list continues to grow……how does that happen? Always a pleasure to connect with you 🙂

  17. Sorry I missed wishing you a happy birthday sooner. Your wish list is definitely daunting for me, but I know you can handle it. I have such small desires, yet they still evade me. There’s no hope for it but to just push forward.

    • Some things have evaded me for a long time and all I can hope is to, like you, keep pushing forward. That’s all we can do isn’t it, Susan? Hope you had a great birthday today 🙂

  18. What an adventure–the restaurant. So much history. And I can picture rattlesnake being bland–never had it myself. Maybe in the future.

  19. A belated Happy Birthday Stacia! I don’t know how I missed this post, but Dec. kind of got away from me.
    I admire your gastro fortitude. I’m not sure I could even eat in a place with dead animals (not to mention penis’) staring down at me.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and your beautiful photos and words with us.

  20. Pingback: Blog Awards: Sisterhood of the World, Blog of 2012, and Liebster Awards « Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  21. Ah, I thought you were at The Fort. Haven’t been to the Bighorn Exchange. What a strange name. Trading in bighorn sheep is a niche market.

    I agree, rattlesnake is nothing to write home about. But alligator is quite good. I’ll take buffalo chicken nuggets over alligator, though.

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