Coffee and Contemplation: National Black Business Month

August is National Black Business Month. The purpose is to support and encourage African American-owned businesses in your community. There are many businesses in Tucson owned by people of color, but I want to focus on two of my favorites. The first is Café Desta. A small café that has served Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine since 2010. They are located South of downtown on Stone Avenue. I have always enjoyed the flavors and aromas of coffee beans from Ethiopia and Café Desta serves Ethiopian coffee along with many delicious dishes. They are accepting orders for Take-Out and Delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next business is The Downtown Clifton. It opened last year in 2019 with an additional 22 rooms and The Red Light Lounge. The hotel was first built in 1948 and was purchased by the current owners in 2014 and they began restoring the property. Also located a couple blocks North of Café Desta on Stone Avenue, you can enjoy a nice stay in downtown Tucson and partake in some delicious cuisine and coffee. I only care if you try the coffee. If you’re visiting Tucson, these are two great places to check out. 

If you live in Tucson and you haven’t visited these places, what are you doing with your life? You don’t have to stay in hotel, but you can enjoy the food and spirits in The Red Light Lounge. Now go support people of color in your community.

Coffee and Contemplation: Father’s Day and National Arizona Day

I’m a cat dad. I’ve been taking care of my cat Callie for over two years. I rescued her from the shelter, and we had an immediate bond. She yells at me if I’ve been away from home too long. And she yells if she feels there isn’t enough food in her dish or if her water dish looks contaminated. I have to refill it three times a day or she won’t drink it. She likes to rest her front paws on my shoulder as I hold her rear paws in my arms. She purrs and rubs her face on mine.

I’ve never observed Father’s Day on the receiving end. I don’t expect to get any cards or gifts. I’m sure some would say it doesn’t count unless you have a human child. Humans are overrated. Regardless, I’m proud to call myself a cat dad. I love my little fur baby. Sometimes I feel she’s my only friend. Lockdown and quarantine would have been lonely without her. I find myself gravitating towards this as I don’t have a good relationship with my own father. Many people have lost their father and this day is difficult for them.

She’s not angry. That’s just her face.

With the world diving headfirst into chaos, the issues I have with my father seem trivial. I feel ready to let go of the past and move on. But I’m not ready to discuss this with my father. Maybe I will one day. It doesn’t feel necessary. For now, I’ll enjoy being a cat dad. And anyone who has a strained relationship with their father, or if you’ve lost your father, I hope this day isn’t too difficult for you. To all the cat dads, people dads, dog dads, lizard dads, dads of any creatures, and moms who are both the mom and dad, Happy Father’s Day.

Today is also National Arizona Day. I live in Tucson, AZ that’s why I’m mentioning it. In 2017, National Day Calendar began celebrating each state in the order they entered the Union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. Arizona became a state on Valentine’s Day in 1912. With the addition of Arizona, the 48 states in the continental US were officially joined together. We’ve got wildfires, a pandemic, and riots/protests. Also, it’s over one hundred degrees and it’ll only get hotter through August. And I don’t plan on moving.

Coffee and Contemplation: Flag Day

June 14 is Flag Day. In the United States, we celebrate June 14 as the day the flag was adopted as the symbol of our country on June 14, 1777. The Flag Resolution by the Second Continental Congress stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Given the recent turmoil in the United States, I think it’s more important than ever to consider the idea of a ‘new constellation.’

The future of the United States is in flux as it was in the 1960s and even in the 1860s. Our country has been through this kind of change before and I know we’ll come out on top. When I say our country, I don’t mean the government. I mean the people; the citizens. The government can change while the country always has and always will belong to the people who call it home. That’s what the flag represents to me at least. I have other reasons for thinking about June 14. And some might feel the same about this as they do about what the flag represents.

June 14, 1775 is the Army Birthday. I imagine many people see the military as an extension of the government. But I know there are good people in the military trying to change things for the better. I served in the Arizona Army National Guard some years back. This was the one weekend a month, two weeks a year. I never deployed and I never served long enough to gain veterans status and do not claim to be a veteran. My job was in the Finance Corps. The Finance Corps Birthday is June 16, 1775. 

If you never served, maybe you don’t care about the Army Birthday and I’m sure you care even less about the Finance Corps Birthday. But for those who have served and are serving, I’m sure you all were happy when Finance made sure your pay was squared away. The two departments no one messes with in the military are Finance and Supply. I hope you all celebrate Flag Day in a way that’s meaningful to you. Peaceful Protesting is always a healthy option for celebration. Our fight for change isn’t over. Never give up. Never surrender.