Unexpected Design

Marion, Alabama
05.04.2011 | by: Meghan

One of the best parts of traveling is uncovering inspiration in unexpected places. A lot of what we saw and experienced during our big road trip from Detroit to New Orleans came from dogged research and impassioned, word-of-mouth recommendations, but on a balmy night in the small, historic town of Marion (after we spent an hour or so driving around and gawking at the old antebellum houses surrounded by magnolia trees), we walked into an ice cream parlor and felt like we had accidentally stumbled into a European cafe, all bentwood chairs huddled around iron-based tables and a glowing chandelier.

The scoop shop section is the standard, cheery variety with candy-colored balloons and posters that perfectly inhabit the Frosty Cow name. But Ms. Jo, who moved to Marion when her son decided to go to college there, wanted to “create a place where people go on date night.” You see, the first week she lived in Marion she realized she had to travel several towns away to get a scoop of ice cream–and that just wouldn’t do. So she opened Frosty Cow in an old brick house downtown and painted the walls over-saturated shades of cobalt and kelly green. She only charges $1.25 for a cone and insists on giving kiddie cones for free. I asked Ms. Jo how she makes any money and she said, “Oh honey, I worked my entire life. This is about giving back to my community.”

A couple pre-teen girls wandered in with pictures they drew for the wall. She paid them with praise and free ice cream.

I’m still thinking about a lot of the architecture, design and people we encountered in and on the way to New Orleans, figuring out how it affected me and what I’ll do with all the inspiration. One thing I already know for certain: I’ll remember Ms. Jo for a long, long time. And it was a great reminder that sometimes the very best design comes from human kindness.

Share/Bookmark

14 Comments on “Unexpected Design”

  1. this makes me so happy : )

     

  2. What a sweetie! Thanks for this little afternoon burst of inspiration.

     

  3. Hi Meghan, I don’t know if you will ever read this considering it was about 6 years ago that you published this, but I am Ms. Jo’s daughter and I just want to share how much I appreciate this post about her. She passed away about 5 years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the kind words you had to say about my mother. The Frosty Cow is no longer there, but her memory lasts forever. Thank you.

     

  4. I have to point out my passion for your generosity giving support to people who need assistance with in this content. Your special commitment to getting the message all over has been incredibly insightful and has continuously made ladies like me to arrive at their dreams. Your entire invaluable tutorial denotes a lot to me and much more to my office workers. Thank you; from all of us.

     

  5. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

     

  6. You can certainly see your expertise in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart. “We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” by Bern Williams.

     

  7. Some genuinely good information, Sword lily I found this. “I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.” by Plato.

     

  8. I’ve recently started a website, the information you offer on this web site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

     

  9. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

     

  10. Some truly choice blog posts on this website , saved to favorites .

     

  11. Its good as your other blog posts : D, appreciate it for posting . “Even Albert Einstein reportedly needed help on his 1040 form.” by Ronald Reagan.

     

  12. Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, thankyou . “It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.” by Aristotle.

     

  13. I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

     

  14. Some truly wonderful articles on this internet site, thanks for contribution. “A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.” by Jessamyn West.

     

Leave a Comment