When something saddens me greatly, I can’t find my own words to express my feelings, so I use someone else’s. Today I quote a modified passage from the classic children’s book about growing up and moving on, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
In 2013, my niece Brittiany White came to work at the Raven as a server. Sadaat and I were nervous about hiring family and told her that because of our relationship she’d always be held to a higher standard. She never let us down. She became an exemplary server and model employee, whose co-workers loved her almost as much as our patrons and her regulars. Brittiany is sweet, kind and loves people for exactly who they are, flaws and all. She finds people’s quirks endearing and has endless patience for those in need of a non-judgmental listening ear.
In a week’s time she heads to Tampa, FL to try something new. Brittiany will be nannying for my eldest niece Andrea’s new baby, Olivia Grace. The position is part-time, so she’s planning to get a second job in the service industry where she hopes to meet some new friends half as awesome as those she found at the Raven.
Brittiany has held a special place in my life from the day she was born. She was a bright light during the dark trials and tribulations that are a girl’s teenage years. While I’m excited for her to venture out into our big wide world, I’m going to miss her, as I imagine many of her friends, co-workers and regulars will too.
If you are as big of a fan of this girl as I am and want to see her once more before she goes, her last shift will be Monday, April 24th from 3:00 p.m. to close.
It’s National Library Week and, coincidentally, I’ve been updating our Kid’s Corner with new things inspired by our local libraries.
Weekly my children and I patronize one of our local libraries (our favorite is the St. Clair County Main Library, but occassionally you’ll find us at Marysville or G. Lynn Campbell). It’s usually for their amazing Storytimes, but even when nothing’s going on we’ll spend a few hours their perusing books, doing activities and playing with their toys.
The first shelves we visit at the library are the new and featured books, so at the Raven we rotate our children’s collections quarterly (ish) – choosing appropriate books for the proximal seasons and holidays.
Always looking for ways for my wee children to work on their fine motor skills, we love the magnetic tabletop games (found at Marysville Library), so I picked up a few of those (no pieces- parents rejoice!).
Finally, new to the kid’s corner, will be a fun lil’ wooden tea set. This one is a no-brainer for the Raven. Little people having pretend tea parties. TRES ADORBS!
When spending quality time with your little people, please consider bringing them to the Raven – it’s magical place for making magical memories.
If you haven’t visited our local libaries lately, you should! They have lots of great stuff going on. http://ebw.tv/more-than-books/
Wanting to put a personal spin on it, I solicited some art from a few talented staff members. The Raven seems to attract the creative sort, and we have artists, musicians and crafty folks coming out of the woodwork (see what I did there?). The only direction I gave them when commissioning the pieces was “women empowerment”, and they did not disappoint! The pieces vary in style, medium and message.
Monday, April 10th was our official kick off and let me just say, wow! The response has been overwhelming (in good ways and bad). The very first day a gentleman came in and donated $40 to the cause while speaking fondly of his daughter. Just this morning I witnessed two gentleman filling out postcards! I’m humbled by the fact that men are involved and passionate about the cause. Being a feminist means “equality for all”, and I imagine these men possibly have mothers, sisters, and/or daughters that have had a positive influence in their lives. Who wouldn’t want get behind the idea of “women’s rights”, right?
Well… there have been some naysaysers online, so I want to be very clear with this campaign’s intention: it is to give a voice to those who have concerns. The postcards are blank and can be personalized in a way that is meaningful to the author. Personally, and ESPECIALLY as a business, we understand that we all walk our own paths, and we would not be so discourteous as to insist that you follow ours. The campaign is to provide a vehicle for folks who choose to voice their opinions, be they on the left, right, in the middle, up, down, sideways, or any other orientation.
If you are not local but interested in purchasing a print or postcards, do have them available on our Cafe Press page.
We are at a time in our history when “the establishment” would like to see us living a cookie-cutter life, in a vanilla relationship with perfectly behaved gingerbread children. However, life doesn’t look like this for most of us and that in itself is cause for celebration. For those who have creativity oozing from every pore, who live an authentic life brave enough to let your freak flag fly, we salute, thank and celebrate you. You are in-the-flesh art. You decorate our world with your uniqueness and make it interesting.
So. We want to know: how do you Christmas? We want see and share all the unique ideas and traditions you bring to the holiday because, at the Raven Cafe in Port Huron, Michigan, we do things a little differently.
Considering that Poe is our inspiration, we try to add some darkness to the red and sparkly mess that is Christmas.
From now until December 17th we’ll be looking for your photo or video submissions with #celebratestrange posted to our Facebook page or #celebratestrange @ravencafeph on Twitter.
The winner will win the featured Raven swag in the video. Submit as many entries of yours as you like. The more you enter, the better chance you have to win!
Please SHARE and help us bring the incredible weirdos out of the Weirwood. We love them and want to celebrate them.
Q: Do I have to be a US resident to play?
Q: Do I have to be a US resident to win?
A: No, you’re already a winner in our book, but to win the prize, yes, you must be a US resident.
Q: Does, the photo or video have to be from this year?
A: Nope, traditions take time to build. If you have a killer photo from your childhood by all means upload and tag it for consideration.
Music by Myuuji
THIS YEAR’S #celebratestrange winner is (drum roll please)… Shelly Seiger David with her gifted DR. WHO tree:
“Here how we #celebratestrange we made this Doctor Who tree for our friends, with a variety of homemade Doctor Who themed ornaments including peg people character ornaments, and a Weeping Angel tree topper!”
About the only thing this judge (me) appreciates more than the macabre is geek culture. Congratulations Shelly! Come see us and collect your prize. Thanks for being strange!
P.S. That ornament on the bottom is asking to be moisturized ;O
There are countless great and worthy causes a charitable spirit can get behind, and as independent business owners Sadaat and I are approached regularly for support. The hard part is choosing where to dedicate our efforts, though. For us, it often comes down to proximity. We like to impact our local community, neighbors, etc. (in effect, “friends of friends”).
Recently, however, we’ve been encouraged by our staff to get behind a cause that has been making ripples nationally. They are called “Water Protectors” and our staff, Sadaat and I stand with them. Living in Michigan surrounded by beautiful blue water, we appreciate their concerns about how the Dakota Access Pipeline could affect their water supply someday. We have not forgotten the people injured by the Flint water contamination.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It doesn’t matter what you call them: balloons, jugs, bombs, melons, hooters, dirty pillows, boulders or a rack, the Raven wants to SAVE THEM ALL! We will be selling t-shirts and taking donations for McLaren Port Huron’s Free Mammogram Fund. The fund helps local uninsured and under-insured women get life-saving mammograms.