Yes, I know the inauguration was last week, and I'm sure Black wants to tell me, "Get over it!" but I'm still thinking (and reading articles) about Amanda Gorman, the amazing 22-year-old who was not only the youngest inaugural poet ever, but also the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate. Her poem, "The Hill We Climb", was incredible and her delivery mesmerizing as she brought her words to life. But as impressive as that was, what I found most incredible was what I learned later that night when she was interviewed with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


A speech impediment?! That seemed impossible to imagine. But there she was, talking with humor, confidence, and pragmatism about how she had trouble pronouncing the letter "R," not only when she was young but until a few years ago! I was fascinated when she talked about using a song from the Broadway musical "Hamilton" as part of her speech pathology, explaining that since the song "Aaron Burr, Sir" was packed with Rs she felt that if she could train herself to do the song, she could train herself to say the letter.

The next morning, during a conversation with Black about our inauguration Banter Bite, I got side-tracked (that often happens) and started telling her how amazed I was that Amanda had overcome her challenge in such an incredible and creative way. And then Black proceeded to tell me how she took a similar approach. With her Ferrari …

Sometimes you have to find something that you can use as "proof" to convince yourself you can do something. For me, it was when I was trying to decide if I could "step up" to racing the Ferrari Challenge. The car was much more powerful than what I was racing at the time, and the series much more serious (not to mention significantly more expensive). So, I decided the "test" would be Road Atlanta, which was the most intimidating track I had ever raced on – if I could get comfortable (yet alone "fast") there, I could race anywhere.

Of course, after laughing to myself because this was so typical of how my sister would approach a challenge, head on (she'd probably say "throttle on"). I also had to smile at the thought of Amanda Gorman now being able to say the word "Ferrari", with all its Rs, as smoothly as my sister no doubt drove her Ferrari by the end of that day at Road Atlanta.

Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

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

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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