Now Playing: Breakdown, by Tom Petty. “It’s all right if you love me. It’s all right if you don’t. I’m not afraid of you running away, honey, I get the feeling you won’t.” My all-time favorite Tom Petty song, and it ain’t even close.
We sometimes get spices from a mail-order company in Wisconsin named Penzeys. We got started with them because they had all kinds of Indian spices, but they also have different cinnamons and blends and other stuff.
Plus they have a wonderful magazine/catalogue. It’s chock full of little mini-stories and recipes and tidbits among all the listings and wonderful descriptions of the products. Check out this description of it’s Ceylon Cinnamon – complex and fragrant, with a citrus overtone and a rich buff color. Hey, I’m in.
But with its most recent catalog, I found another reason to love this company.
It has to do with its latest spice, Arizona Dreaming.
When I first saw the photo on the cover, my immediate thought was, “Who’d be dreaming of Arizona?” The state’s new immigration law suggests all the innate snootiness and meanness of a gated community. “Hey, over there. Get out, you don’t belong here.”
“What were they thinking?” Plenty, as it turns out. Inside the catalog, on the first righthand page, is a most eloquent letter from company owner Bill Penzey. Who, as it turns out, abhors the new law and the bigotry it feeds.
“Are we really going to leave unchecked the companies whose reckless pursuit of billions have so damaged our economy and our environment, and instead let our frustrations be redirected at the people who have spent their lives doing our unwanted jobs for dollars an hour? In our need to restore our sense of self-control, are we actually going to reward politicians who are not working to bring us together, but instead are forsaking American’s beautiful 234-year history of diversity? These are decent people’s lives, real loving families where children will be separated from parents, where grandparents will be separated from grandchildren for what possible gain.”
Prompted by his 6-year-old daughter, he’s seeking to bring people together by spreading happy feelings. Again, I’ll let his eloquence speak: “Each day in the kitchens of he homes across Arizona, we know for a fact there are millions of acts of kindness, and these acts revolve around the flavors of Mexico more than influences from anywhere else.” Arizona Dreaming, he says, is a blend of “flavors that originally came from south of the border, but are now a part of who we all are, combined in a way the people of Arizona love to use them.”
This is a business owner here, folks, who is risking alienating the customers he needs to take a stand for his beliefs and plead for tolerance. I can’t tell you how much I respect the guy.
And I can’t wait to try Arizona Dreaming, while dreaming that we all can look past racial, cultural and other differences to become that “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” that we used to pledge allegiance to in school.
And throw in some of that Ceylon Cinnamon, too. I’m all about being buff.
“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
_ John F. Kennedy