Who would have thunk it? One of the highlights of Thanksgiving was having breakfast at Joe’s Pancake House. The Greek omelet was exceptionally tasty — stuffed with pieces of gyro meat and kalamata olives — but Joe himself was a revelation.
Joe Abi-Ad has been a Tucson restaurateur for more than 30 years. I knew about his other eatery The Falafel King but we happened into the pancake house because Dan knew it was open on Thanksgiving.
We began chatting with Joe after realizing who he was. “There are more Jewish-Arab business partnerships* in Tucson than Arab-Arab,” he told us, adding that when you think about the hatred in the world, “It’s the politicians who cause all the trouble.” Right on, Joe.
That got me thinking about these scary times when politics is more than personal, it’s everything to an increasing minority. I really liked when Jon Stewart, in his recent illuminating interview with Rachel Maddow, said there are more differences between people who have kids and those who don’t than left and right politics.
Yeah, aren’t we all more complex than sound bytes?
Apparently not in the higher echelons of power. In Paul Krugman’s “There Will be Blood” NYT column on Monday, he plumbs the unfortunate bottom line:
“Right now, in particular, Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits – an action that will both cause immense hardship and drain purchasing power from an already sputtering economy. But there’s no point appealing to the better angels of their nature; America just doesn’t work that way anymore.”
It’s hard for me to pull myself away from politics, but there’s so much more to my life, to all of our lives: On the phone with Ethan yesterday, I could hear Brook cheerily welcoming her friend Allison to her first Thanksgiving dinner in her new home with Gianmarco. I wasn’t with my kids but it does my heart good to hear about them sitting side by side at the table, laughing and making stuffing together. (I’m not getting any younger; next year with bargain flights for seniors I’ve resolved to be with them. If I’m invited.)
Here in Tucson, I had a lovely Thanksgiving with Dan’s family. What a kick for me to be around his wonderful parents — word nerds like us — having lost both of mine more than 25 years ago.
And today is Black Friday, a crazy shopping experience for anybody who has a few dollars and loves bargains. Apollo Ohno, the Olympic speed skater, is signing books at Antigone Books, the one independent bookstore left in Tucson. I’ll avoid the mob scene but intend to hop on my bike, head down to 4th Ave. to partake of their 20 percent-off special, purchasing my favorite gifts for the people I love most.
*Watch for a story in the Arizona Jewish Post after more research and interviews.