Words & Banter

Amanda Gorman, “Hamilton”, and Ferraris?

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.

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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