why we can't all just get along
In Prescott, I took solace in a place called the Raven. Pro tip if you’re there during cafe hours and you’re into this sort of thing: you will never have a better coconut macaroon. Huge, with perfectly caramelized crispy brown edges and an excellent balance of sweet coconut softness in the middle. That macaroon alone pulled me out of the wariness that came from having to visit the ER for shortness of breath during a pandemic, and finding that the hospital was being picketed and vigorously honked at for “violating everyone’s rights” with vaccine mandates.
Downstairs, The Raven looks nice but ordinary to me: a handsome bar with dark wood, serving artfully-crafted food by day, well-chosen beer and cocktails by night; a loft; a performance platform where my mom and her friends have gigged. But then, I was such a late bloomer as a drinker that my alcohol literacy was always poor, and maybe my ability to read the social cues about a bar is, too. It’s possible that other Americans might look at this place, think “gastropub,” and quickly suss out what is not said aloud: the owner is a graduate of a crunchy granola eco-conscious no-tests-no-grades East Coast liberal arts college. The one I went to, in fact.
Upstairs, the place’s design tips his hand: it is roofed with artfully-cut reclaimed metal studded with tiny skylights of multicolored glass that cast magic on the tables below. The walls are uneven smoothed adobe, and they were decorated with tile mosaics by schoolchildren, under the direction of a local artists.
The Raven is, effectively if not intentionally, low-key the political opposite of Founding Fathers. The owner is the son of well-to-do Western cattle ranchers (or was it oil barons?), but he sees the Raven as a development platform for local ecological and community efforts, along with the bookstore he also owns, Peregrine. At one point when I came by, he was in fact upstairs hatching plans with the new president of Prescott’s own crunchy granola eco-conscious no-tests-no-grades liberal arts college.
I took to the Raven when I wanted to get work done; it had good wifi, and that upstairs patio was alluring. The Friday before Halloween, I was there into the beginning of happy hour. Two white men settled at a table nearby, one rough and red with sunburn, the other slender and more gentle. They talked about construction; it sounded as if they might work together, but maybe were new to hanging out together. Like they might not have normally chosen each other as friends. As the conversation went on, a wrinkle emerged: the rough one was about to marry the gentle one’s sister. This was a sort of brotherly bonding night.
I needed to hit the bathroom. Can you watch my stuff? I asked them.
Sure, we’ll just post some messages on your laptop, joked the rough one.