By A.C. Cargill
Our vacation last year was spent driving in a big loop from our home on the East Coast to visit friends in several states and then back here again. Tucson, Arizona, was one of our stops (it was a big loop). We visited friends and dined with them at the Tohono Chul Park Tea Room. The tea room is part of a nature park (a non-profit foundation) focused on preserving local plants and “critters.”
As one who lives the “tea life” (where tea is more than just a beverage), I like to have these pairings of a nice tea room and a park, museum, or other venue. This setup at the Tohono Chul Park is a great example. (It’s even better when there’s a little shop attached to, or included in, the tea room, which there was here.) Where else can you enjoy the gentility of a luncheon tea and then meander through a park, observing the flora and fauna? After filling ourselves with tea and good food, we took in the sights: cacti, lots of birds, and more. One of the best was a lizard who posed on a rock for our cameras (actually, our friend was just very patient).
A very satisfying time was had by all, both in terms of food and entertainment.
The tea room offers a surprising menu that is a far cry from traditional tea time fare. Pasta, chicken dishes, and more were served well-prepared and at the appropriate temperature (hot dishes were hot, cold dishes were cold). It was a bit crowded, but service was still good. The tea was bagged (I have learned to take what I can get in these places), but served in a nice pot, with plenty of sweetener and milk available.
As for the park, there were lots of photo ops, but none so interesting as that lizard. Our friend, Mick, exhibited determination and patience in following the beast around, taking photos whenever he perceived a golden moment (oh, the joys of a digital camera where you don’t have to worry about how many frames of film you have left!), and waiting for that next moment – all while remaining as quiet and still as possible. I guess all that patience and determination comes from years of dealing with people in various walks of life, especially those doing their best to start a business or keep one running after they’ve dug it into a financial hole. (Mick helped many businesses survive their moments of financial crisis.)
The lizard, too, is an example of those qualities. Lizards are cold-blooded – they need the warmth of the sun to crank up their engines in the morning, one reason they are partial to warm climate zones. That means this lizard spent his evening, which had been rather cool, in a sluggish stupor, patiently and determinedly awaiting the sun and its warming rays. The lizard, once warm, was wasting no time actively seeking his next meal.
There is a saying that “Good things come to those who wait.” It’s certainly true for the lizard, and for my friend, Mick, awaiting the perfect photo chance. Of course, once that good thing came, they never hesitated to make the most of it. Mick got his photo, and the lizard got his meal.
Next visit to Tucson, we’ll all go to the Chantilly Tea Room. If their Website is any indication, they are a bit more traditional. In fact, it looks like a good place to go attired in a party dress and hat. All part of the atmosphere and tradition of drinking tea.
Check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, for more great writing!