This is the seventh installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a Sunday thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a sometimes cranky and often times humorous grandfather actually born in Tucson.
“You have a choice where to stand so remember, you stand closest to where you sit.”
I was born here. It was a Sunday – April 26, 1964. I was in the womb when JFK was killed and the Beatles were on the charts with “Can’t Buy Me Love” when I was born.
On that day, a new Mustang from Holmes Tuttle Ford was $2500, there were eight drive-ins (Apache, Cactus, Fiesta, Midway, Miracle, Prince, Rodeo and 22nd St.), Fred Busby’s Rolling Hills Country Club Estates were going for $15,000, Hidden Valley Estates were selling for $30,000, Ronstadt’s was located at 70 N. 6th Avenue, Earl Scheib would paint your car for $29.95, Tucson High won the state tennis tournament the day before and, nationally, the Boston Celtics won their sixth championship in a row.
It’s different world now but Tucson has remained mostly intact. I lived in the Washington DC area and in the Phoenix area. Those areas are cities but Tucson remains a community surrounded by communities. Everyone is connected by about three degrees of separation which means there’s a strong chance a friend of a friend of a friend just happens to be you.
Most of us, if not all, know a local small business owner. I tried to count the ones I know on my Facebook list but I stopped at 30 with most of those being restaurant or bar related owners. They were all especially hit hard during the pandemic and most continue to struggle as most of us are. I imagine most of them chose Tucson because they had a strong connection and love for our community.
Some of them advertise and most of them support local causes like charities and youth sports. A few of those have and continue to advertise on AllSportsTucson and it’s an honor. We treat our advertisers like Wings over Broadway and Frog and Firkin with respect. We do our best to let people they know that they fully support our youth while providing excellent dining experiences on separate ends of our community.
We have never, and will never, expect free food or drinks from our sponsors – heck, we rarely accept free food from snack bars because we know the schools are trying to raise money to survive – they don’t need to give reporters a free hotdog or soda.
I love our local community and the small business owners who also love Tucson.
I carry tree and branch clippers in my truck because there are trees and shrubs in the neighborhood that surrounds the school where I teach and they seem to grow like weeds. It costs me nothing to pull over to trim tree that blocks a bike path or a walkway. I also carry huge trash bags to hand out to other neighbors in Tucson who I see picking up trash along our roadways and you’d be surprised how many people are out there doing that. Just take a look. I pulled over in Oro Valley last week because an elderly gentleman was trying to pick up trash in front of Ironwood Ridge with a little grocery bag and he was grateful for the bigger bag. I also pick up trash when I can and clean out the wash by my school.
I clean up graffiti by my school and near my home when I see it. It’s not that difficult. I don’t even know if I need a permit to do this but I do it.
I’ve provided an avenue for people to give new tennis shoes to kids in our community through my charity, Kicks4Kids, to the tune of over $400.000 worth of shoes provided which comes out to over 16,000 pairs of sneakers. I plan on stopping when I reach a million worth.
I paint murals and have paid others to paint murals in our community. Most importantly, I’ve taught over 5,000 students in my 33 years as a teacher in our community. That includes about 30 or so second generation students including my youngest daughter who now teaches at my school.
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) January 26, 2018
I’m not telling you all this to brag, I want you to do what you can. These are just examples. We all do something to help because we love our community and we scratch our heads when some try to tear it down while mooching off of the people and businesses that are trying to survive here while never giving back.
My late father told me, “It’s better to do good than well” and that’s how my family moves forward. We love our community and, if you don’t, there’s nothing stopping you from moving to Phoenix. Just an FYI, I also love a few people living in Phoenix so move somewhere else.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com