Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

When you say “Kentucky,” we think of the Kentucky Derby, not a 1,000-year flood that took dozens of lives, destroyed homes, and left the region devastated. And California? Our memories are of Disney Land in the south and the beauty of San Francisco in the north, not fires raging out of control. And the Hoover Dam’s supposed to conjure up images of water and waterpower, not drought and “bathtub rings”.

But climate change has changed all that. And, yes, there’s now climate change legislation that will (hopefully) begin to make a difference, but we still find ourselves, with each passing climate disaster, asking why everyone seems to be more focused on blaming others … for what’s been done – and what hasn’t been done.

A few months ago, when Red made an innocent (or so she thought) comment about summer, Black turned it into a discussion about climate change. And the blame game. (Anyone who knows Black knows there’s no telling what “dots” she’ll connect.) And in “RED & BLACK ... A Climate Of Blame,” we question whether we’re (well, technically, our generation since we’re baby boomers) to blame. But the answer may not be what you expected …

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.

Rather than trying to sweeten things up, they are "real talk." Keep it up Red and Black, thanks for the knowledge, it has been helping me in college, and I even took my folder, keep on spreading the word. – High School Senior

Black of Red & Black

Although I am known for speaking my mind, I have never been one to publicize my passion projects. I get involved because I believe in what I am doing – not because I want others to know of my involvement. Decades ago, it was Make-A-Wish, but once we started Red & Black and detoured into the worlds of education and criminal justice, I added new projects. And “soapboxes”.

And, I saw how education and criminal justice were intertwined. Which is what compelled me to write a letter when the Texas Legislature held a hearing about a house bill related to programming within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and invitedpublic comment. It was the first time I ever went “on the record” (comments are in the public domain), but I feel very strongly about the topic, and specifically the lack of women’s educational programming.

When I sent a copy of my letter to Red, the self-proclaimed mere mortal, she was adamant (not a typical trait for her) that my words needed a wider audience than the legislators and people who follow legislative bills …

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Funny you should ask, as I was recently getting ready for a garage sale of our mom’s things and came across an old metal carrying basket that I think is for milk bottles. Although my memory of our milkman is that he left the milk bottles in a small rectangular metal box outside our front door.

Anyway, my best memory of fresh milk, especially chocolate milk, was going to Dairy Barn with our dad. It was a drive-through; we’d return the old bottles, get our deposit back, and pick up new ones. I have to admit that when my mom started to get milk at our local Waldbaum’s (anyone growing up on Long Island will remember them) in paper cartons, I thought it was a little sad. Plus, I didn’t think the milk tasted as good.

Recently, when I saw some old-fashioned milk bottles from 1836 Farms at my local Kroger, although it was more expensive, I bought one just because it reminded me of my youth. In fact, when I initially told Black I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that much on milk, she suggested I could reuse the bottle as a vase. And it always makes me smile!


Since you mentioned your grandmother, which makes me feel old, you may have to ask her to explain what we meant when we teased Red, a redhead in a family of brunettes, of being the “milkman’s daughter”.

Looking back, “milkmen” and dairy delivery services were ahead of their time. They delivered milk as well as other dairy products, and seem to be a precursor to Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and all the food delivery services. Not to mention, it was a way to reuse the glass milk bottles (remember, this was decades before recycling was a “thing”).

Regardless, when we taught at KIPP Houston High School, I asked our students if they had ever heard of a milkman. (Most had not.) And then (of course), I followed up with an assortment of other questions … Can jobs become obsolete? What creates new opportunities? Do you think there may be jobs in the future that no one has ever heard of yet? What can you do to be prepared? So, if nothing else, I hope the milkman makes you stop and think …