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  • Brian Maxwell

Day 59: The Isle of Pure Imagination


I'm walking into a candy shop, in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. It was a few years ago, and I was home visiting family. It's always been a tradition to head down to that neighborhood, stopping into the old shops. As soon as I walk in the door, I hear a song, even more familiar than the building surrounding me. "Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look, and you'll see into your imagination. We'll begin with a spin, traveling in the world of my creation. What we'll see will defy explanation." I'll bet you sang along while you read that, didn't you? I certainly did.


Welcome back thirsty readers, and thank you again for coming along this far into the journey. It's day 59, and we seem to be moving along at a new pace, almost like this is how we were living all along. I've said this before, but I'm really feeling like a kid again. Even though most of our adult responsibilities still exist, the pandemic has given us some much needed time to ourselves. It's allowed us that time to escape, in a way most of us haven't experienced since long before we had those burdens. It reminds me of another story, and it's one we all enjoyed from a young age.

If you were a child, anytime in the past 50 years, there's a pretty good chance you have some sort of connection to 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Based on the 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the film is undoubtedly iconic. Painting the ultimate "rags to riches" story, yet from a child's perspective, it's been referred to as culturally significant by the Library of Congress.


So it's an important film in our cinematic history as we've already established. The true magic though, is how you can just become lost. I've probably watched Willy Wonka a hundred times over the years, and I've become lost in the story every time. I think one of my fondest memories comes from a particular night in college, when we didn't really have much else going on.


My best friend and I went to the store, and we just went completely nuts in the candy aisle, buying every tasty treat we could carry. It was the way you would imagine an eight year old shopping, if their parents left them at home for the weekend. We weren't eight though. We were both adults, and we were living out that childhood fantasy of having whatever we wanted, with nobody to tell us otherwise.


We came back to our fraternity house, and we watched the only movie that seemed appropriate for that spread of sweets. Over four years, I think that's the only time I got sick, where alcohol wasn't involved, but I didn't regret it one bit. I think about that night every now and then. It was a break from the drunken antics of college. It was a night when we let ourselves be kids again, when everyone around us was trying to prove their "adulthood." Those are times I keep coming back to, during this current period of uncertainty. It was when we had our entire adult lives ahead of us, and the stresses of life, thought close, weren't quite a reality just yet. Those were truly the times of pure imagination.


The Isle of Pure Imagination

1oz Blanc Agricole Rhum (Clément Canne Bleue)

.5oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Appleton 12 Year)

1oz Coconut Liqueur (Mahina Coco)

.75oz Orgeat

.75oz Lime Juice

.75oz Pineapple Juice

5 dashes Chocolate Bitters


Tiki Mug

Whip shake and pour unstrained.

Top with crushed ice.

Top with Peychaud's Bitters.

Garnish with pineapple fronds, and grapefruit rosette.



We might not be able to get those nights of our youth back again, but we do have our memories. Those are like golden tickets. I'll be sitting here, remembering yesterday, thinking about those days gone by, and making a plan for tomorrow. Keep your chins up out there my friends, and keep shaking.

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